WE might think of sex toys as a modern phenomenon – but the filthy gizmos have been around for over a century.
From a heated rolling pin to a “Handy Hannah”, today the gruesome gadgets look more like torture tools than pleasure machines.
Vintage Vibrator Museum The Rolling Pin Heat Massager (1932)
One collector in the United States has taken it upon herself to keep a record of the strange sex tech of the 20th Century.
Joani Blank collected antique vibrators for over 20 years, and they’re now on display at the Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum in San Francisco.
Vibrators were used exclusively by doctors up until around 1900 as a tool to treat “hysteria”, a phoney condition that doctors used to diagnose women with.
Experts thought that women showed a variety of physical and mental symptoms when they were deprived of sexual relief.
Vintage Vibrator Museum The Oster Stim-U-Lax for Barbers (1948)
Antique Vibrator Museum Dr. Macaura’s Pulsocon Blood Circulator (circa 1880–1920)
Vintage Vibrator Museum The Detwiller Pneumatic Vibrator (1906)
According to the museums’s website: “During the turn of the century, vibrators began to be marketed as home appliances.
“They were widely advertised in household publications such as Modern Woman and Woman’s Home Companion.
“Their ads were legendary, promoting such claims as ‘Relieves All Suffering. Cures Disease’, and ‘Invented by a woman who knows a woman’s needs’.”
“In the mid-1920s vibrators began to appear in erotic films and photography, effectively driving them from ‘respectable’ publications. Vibrator ads virtually disappeared until the modern vibrator resurfaced in the 1960’s as a frankly sexual device.”
Vintage Vibrator Museum The Niagra Hand Unit (1965–1976)
Vintage Vibrator Museum The Eskimo 750 (1949)
Vintage Vibrator Museum The Prelude 3 (1976)
The Antique Vibrator Museum has been running since the 1970s, and is attached to the sex toy store Good Vibrations.
After Joani opened its doors, women from across San Francisco began sending her sex tech they came across in flea markets and their relatives’ estates.
The toys on show date from the late 1800s up through the 1970s. Many disguised themselves as household appliances to hide the fact they were vibrators.
Highlights include a weight reduction tool with a vibrating rubber suction cup, and an electric hairbrush that inexplicably pulsated.
A “Pulsocon Blood Ciruclator” had a strong vibration and a sound like a ratchet, according to the museum.
The Antique Vibrator Museum is open daily from 12:30pm until 6:30pm, and until 8:30pm on Thursdays.
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Vintage Vibrator Museum The Massage Master VII (1928)
Vintage Vibrator Museum The Hollywood Vibra-Tone (1940s)
Vintage Vibrator Museum The Spot Reducer (1950s)
Vintage Vibrator Museum The Vibra-King Activator (1922)
Vintage Vibrator Museum The Wahl Hand-E Vibrator (1957)
Vintage Vibrator Museum The Vibrosage (1933)
Vintage Vibrator Museum The Stim-U-Lax Junior
Vintage Vibrator Museum The Polar Club Electric Vibrator (1928)
Vintage Vibrator Museum The Infra-Red Heat Massager
Vintage Vibrator Museum The Arnold Massage Vibrator (1909)
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