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The Love Tester is a popular carnival game that has been entertaining crowds for over a century. The machine uses a simple mechanism to measure a person’s “love quotient” based on the level of electrical conductivity in their skin. But the history of the Love Tester is far more interesting than its simple mechanics.

The Love Tester was invented in the early 20th century by a man named John F. Sexton. He was a self-taught electrical engineer who had a fascination with measuring the electrical conductivity of the human body. Sexton believed that this could be used to measure a person’s emotional state, including their level of love and attraction.

Sexton’s first Love Tester was a crude device that he built in his garage. It consisted of two metal plates that were wired to a basic electrical circuit. When a person held onto both plates, the electrical current would flow through their body, and the machine would measure the resistance.

Sexton took his Love Tester to local fairs and carnivals, where it quickly became a sensation. People were fascinated by the idea that a machine could measure their emotions and reveal their true feelings. Over time, Sexton refined his design and added more features, including a dial that displayed the “love quotient” in numerical form.

By the 1920s, the Love Tester had become a staple of American carnivals and amusement parks. It was featured in movies, cartoons, and even comic strips. In the 1930s, the Love Tester was redesigned with a more elaborate cabinet and more colorful lights, which added to its appeal.

During World War II, the Love Tester became a symbol of the homefront, as it was featured in posters and advertisements encouraging soldiers to write home and express their feelings. After the war, the Love Tester continued to be a popular attraction at fairs and carnivals, although its popularity began to decline in the 1960s with the advent of more high-tech arcade games.

Today, the Love Tester remains a popular nostalgia item, with vintage machines fetching high prices at auction. The simple mechanism of the Love Tester belies its complex history, which spans over a century of American entertainment culture. It is a testament to the enduring appeal of carnival games and the ingenuity of inventors like John F. Sexton.

Staff Reporter

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