Used to have one in the Science Museum - In fact used to be the standard way of getting DC current from an AC supply! Happy days!
I remember that rectifier in the Science Museum from when I was about 8. It was my favourite exhibit, I'd stand there pressing the button over and over. Later I saw a big bank of them in action at one of the substations on the Southern Railway, which ran on 600VDC. Each one must have had 20 pounds of mercury in it - one pound of Hg is a little less volume than a golf ball.
Somehow, solid state rectifiers and thyristor banks don't have the same appeal.