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My struggles to resolve my heart problems


Treating myself for tuberculosis
George Daniels Master watchmaker
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Then I got tuberculosis and that was due to overwork and weakened condition, and that was a long business. It took nearly two years to clear that up and every day I took what I call two buckets of sand and cement, which was a liquid called... a liquid drink called passaia [sic], which was the only - in those days - known cure for TB, which hadn't really had a cure until the 1950s... there was no cure before that. And so I took this every day and it was revolting stuff but I knew enough people in the medical profession to seek advice and I met my friend Joe Briggs, who was a sort of peripatetic physician and he knew all the hospitals and all the people and so forth. And we went to Guy's and we went through the medicine depositories and we picked out various packets of this ghastly stuff and we mixed it with different things and in the end we found that if we mixed it with a certain quantity of orange juice and blackcurrant and so forth, it became easier to drink, so then I was able to take this stuff. The way to take it is you just open the throat and pour it down. It mustn't touch the sides because then you might feel the effects of it. And after two years, it was said I was cured and I went back to see my specialist and he was very pleased. He said, 'A complete cure, marvelous, doesn't always happen like that. How much of the passaia [sic] did you take?' 'Well', I said, 'I took it all'. Every drop of it I took, for two years. 'Really', he said, 'that's very interesting'. He said, 'Most people only take about 50% of it, so we always double the dose'. But it worked anyhow.

George Daniels, CBE, DSc, FBHI, FSA (19 August 1926 - 21 October 2011) was an English watchmaker most famous for creating the co-axial escapement. Daniels was one of the few modern watchmakers who could create a complete watch by hand, including the case and dial. He was a former Master of the Clockmakers' Company of London and had been awarded their Gold Medal, a rare honour, as well as the Gold Medal of the British Horological Institute, the Gold Medal of the City of London and the Kullberg Medal of the Stockholm Watchmakers’ Guild.

Listeners: Roger Smith

Roger Smith was born in 1970 in Bolton, Lancashire. He began training as a watchmaker at the age of 16 at the Manchester School of Horology and in 1989 won the British Horological Institute Bronze Medal. His first hand made watch, made between 1991 and 1998, was inspired by George Daniels' book "Watchmaking" and was created while Smith was working as a self-employed watch repairer and maker. His second was made after he had shown Dr Daniels the first, and in 1998 Daniels invited him to work with him on the creation of the 'Millennium Watches', a series of hand made wrist watches using the Daniels co-axial escapement produced by Omega. Roger Smith now lives and works on the Isle of Man, and is considered the finest watchmaker of his generation.

Tags: Guy's Hospital, tuberculosis, TB

Duration: 2 minutes, 9 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008