(Click on images to enlarge)
I was looking up some vintage advertising for today’s post and came across the above advertisement for the Vibra-Finger. It is readily apparent to us today that the device is a vibrator, but the advertising of that period wasn’t so forthcoming (no pun intended), such devices then being commonly disguised as therapeutic massagers. This has resulted in some interesting ads, a selection of which appear at the end of this post. They date from the 1890’s through to the 1950’s.
The following brief history of vibators is from Wikipedia:
For centuries, doctors had been treating women for a wide variety of illnesses by performing what is now recognized as masturbation. The "pelvic massage" was especially common in the treatment of fem ale hysteria during the Victorian Era, as the point of such manipulation was to cause "hysterical paroxysm" (orgasm) in the patient. However, not only did they regard the "vulvular stimulation" required as having nothing to do with sex, but reportedly found it time-consuming and hard work.
One of the first vibrators was a steam-powered device called the "Manipulator", which was created by American physician George Taylor, M.D. This machine was a rather awkward device, but was still heralded as some relief for the doctors who found themselves suffering from fatigued wrists and hands. Circa 1880, Dr. Joseph Mortimer Granville patented the first electromechanical vibrator, then, in 1902, the American company Hamilton Beach patented the first electric vibrator available for retail sale, making the vibrator the fifth domestic appliance to be electrified, after the sewing machine, fan, tea kettle and toaster, and about a decade before the vacuun cleaner and electric iron.
The home versions soon became extremely popular, with advertisements in periodicals such as Needlecraft, Woman’s Home Companion, Modern Priscilla, and the Sears, Roebuck catalogue.. These disappeared in the 1920s, apparently because their appearance in pornography made it no longer tenable for polite society to avoid the sexual connotations of the devices.
The vibrator re-emerged due to the sexual revolution of the 1960s. On June 30, 1966, Jon H. Tavel applied for a patent for the "Cordless Electric Vibrator for Use on the Human Body", ushering in the modern personal vibrator. The patent application referenced an earlier patent dating back to 1938, for a flashlight with a shape that left little doubt as to a possible alternate use. The cordless vibrator was patented on March 28, 1968, and was soon followed by such improvements as multi-speed and one-piece construction, which made it cheaper to manufacture and easier to clean.
Some ads. . .