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A Brief History Of Vibrators

December 2nd, 2011 No comments

Have you ever stared at something and wondered…”Who thought of that? …and why?”

Well, I had one such moment just last week. At a Hen Party a bright pink vibrator was being thrown around in a ‘pass the parcel’ type of game and when it landed in my lap among squeals and giggles – I squinted my eyes a little and thought, “Hummm, I wonder who invented vibrators….and why!”

I have since discovered that the answer to ‘why’ is not as obvious as you might think and it is far more interesting than the ‘who’!

Once upon a time, in 1883 to be precise, the vibrator was first patented as a medical device by a doctor in the UK by the name of Joseph Mortimer Granville. Dr Granville invented this electromechanical contraption to relieve hysteria in women and by all accounts the device was bulky and not easily portable. Hysteria in women was thought to be due to a lack of sexual intercourse and at the time, medical professionals believed that hysteria lead to the inflammation of the uterus, which then “necessitated the expulsion of fluids to prevent it from wandering” from its proper anatomical ‘home’ and possibly suffocating the woman who ‘housed’ it.

Medical professionals believed that it was best to coax the ‘nomadic’ womb back into place with ‘massage treatments’ and records of hysteria and its ‘manipulation treatments’ date back as far as 2000 BC in Egypt…. so it appears that this mistreatment of women had been going on for quite some centuries.

It appears also that this (mis)treatment was not commonly regarded as sexual and that doing it by hand was a ‘chore’ and tiring work for the medical professional. Not surprisingly therefore, Dr Granville’s contraption was welcomed by many of his colleagues.

The huge potential market for hand-held vibrators as we know them today was first recognised by entrepreneurs with Hamilton Beach of Racine,USA who patented the first hand held vibrator in 1902. The vibrator was the fifth ‘electrical home appliance’ available, after the sewing machine but it came along (excuse the pun) well before the electric iron and the vacuum cleaner.

In the early 1900s women could use mail order to buy vibrating massagers from advertisements in publications such as Needlecraft and Womens Home Companion. Interestingly, one vibrator advertisement dated 1910 reads – “The secret of the ages has been discovered in vibration. Great scientists tell us that we owe not only our health but even our life strength to this wonderful force. Vibration promotes your life and vigour, your strength and beauty. … vibrate your body and make it well. You have no right to fel or be sick…”

Nowadays vibrators that were once dubbed “masturbatory machines” for “sexually dysfunctional females”- are being stocked in stores around the world and of course online too. For example, at sites like LoveTheMagicWand.com you’ll find many articles, information, raves and reviews and links to the many stores that stock these best-selling vibrators.

Even through the recent recession, sales of vibrator are up 20 percent in the last year. Their use is extremely widespread too, fifty-three percent of U.S. women and nearly half of all men report having used a vibrator, according to two recent national surveys from Indiana University. Well, it would seem therefore that there a lot of people who still fear their womb might ‘emigrate’ at any moment – so just to be sure…perhaps it’s time you got yourself a vibrator or three too! You just never know when your womb might up and leave!