Scary Historical Vibrators: Steam Powered WHAT?

Yeah, that’s exactly what you think it is. There’s a fantastic article over at Gizmodo about the terrifying historical answer to the Hitachi.

According to the article the very first vibrators were invented before electricity, employing a crank (like a phonograph) to create that oh so wonderful vibrating motion. From the article:

“According to the 2nd century anatomist Galen, hysteria was caused by the retention of “female semen,” which could get into the blood and corrupt it. So clearly, it had to be periodically let loose.

Doctors took to “curing” hysteric single women who didn’t have a husband to cure them of their ailments the normal way. They would stimulate the vagina until “parosysm” (read: orgasm) was achieved. But their hands got tired so quickly, what with all the vigorous rubbing required. And so the vibrator came into existence.

Vibrators have been around longer than electricity has—the first model came out in 1734 and used a crank like some sort of hedonistic egg beater—but it took electricity to really bring them to the mainstream.

According to Dr. Maines, all vibrators are just inefficient motors. “All motors vibrate. If you make a motor that’s especially sloppy, it’ll vibrate more. That’s the principle behind the vibrator: a very sloppy motor that’s designed to vibrate.” An efficient motor, such as the one that runs your fridge, would make for a seriously crappy vibrator. But the Manipulator, which was essentially an inefficient steam engine with a dildo attached to it, did the job swimmingly.”

Check out the full article (plus more nightmare inducing photos) here.

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~ by K. Ritcheson on February 15, 2010.

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