Stuffy noses have plagued humans since the dawn of time and people have resorted to some weird ways to unclog them.
Take, for instance, the "electric volatilizer," a device the size of a mackerel used in the 1940s to sniff out nasal problems, according to Mike Zohn, the co-owner of Obscura Antiques & Oddities, a New York City store that specializes in one-of-a-kind, bizarre and often shocking artifacts.
Zohn, who also co-stars in the Science Channel reality show "Oddities," recently came in possession of a volatilizer, which he features on the Jan. 21 episode.
"It's a quack medical device used to relieve sinus problem," Zohn tells his friend, Ann, who is looking for relief from nasal congestion. "It reminds me of a cattle prod. It's some evil medicinal item -- which we love, of course."
According to the directions, the volatilizer can be used for colds, hay fever and sinusitis. The strange device uses medicinal rings that, to Ann, look like "a Life-Saver mixed with a Cheerio." The ingredients in the rings include camphor, iodine and boric acid.
It works like this: Unscrew the top part of the volatilizer and put a tablet inside. Then the device is plugged in and when it's heated, it pumps it out the medicine.
Not everyone would want to put a mackerel-sized cattle prod in their nose, but, apparently, Zohn's friend Ann had no qualms.
"I want to try it," she said.