August 29, 2019
In 1869, Dr. George Taylor introduced the world to the Manipulator. It was steam-powered and so enormous that its engine was kept in a separate room, with the vibrating part poking through the wall, like a particularly glorious glory hole.
While it had a few manually-operated predecessors, the Manipulator was among the very first mechanical vibes. It’s the early ancestor of today’s sleek, handheld toys, which require just a little drawer space for storage, not a home renovation.
Later in the 19th century, electrical vibrators followed the steam-powered original and soon became popular among doctors for their supposed ability to relieve ailments from arthritis to constipation. A widely-accepted story is that early vibrators were used to treat hysteria, a “condition” occurring only in women and supposedly caused by a wandering uterus. Symptoms included tiredness, anxiety, irritability, and wanting sex. The cure? Applying the vibrator to the vulva until “hysterical paroxysm” occurred.
Starting around 1900, vibes began to be advertised to women, with magazine ads touting their health and beauty benefits (often with a nudge and a wink to the reader).
The first cordless vibrator, invented in 1966, introduced a new wave of people to the joys of vibration. Since then, they’ve only gained in popularity, and now they’re a staple of many, many people’s sex lives.
FUN FACTORY is proud to have made the first rechargeable vibrator, the first silicone-coated vibe, and the first battery-rechargeable hybrid toy. We’re delighted to hold a place in the vibrator’s colorful 150 year history.
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