There's a saying, "Don't ruin a good thing" -- but some sex toy manufacturers just won't quit.
And hey, who's to say they're not on to something? It's pretty hard to see how the "nut crusher" -- whose instructions put the words "Allen wrenches" and "testicles" in the same sentence -- would be a revelation in the bedroom, but go try them out for yourselves. There's no promising you'll enjoy them.
Dr. Macaura's Pulsocon Blood Circulator (1880-1920)
With a strong vibration and a sound like a ratchet, this early model reminds us that what vibrators do best besides provide massage is foster blood circulation -- the key to early vibrators' claims that they could address a wide range of health complaints.
Dr. Johansen's Vibrator (1904-1907)
Homes without electricity could still enjoy the health benefits of vibration with hand-crank mechanical models, which were available in both Europe and the US. At least one model was also made in Japan.
Detwiller Pneumatic Vibrator (1906)
Look closely at the graphic on the inside lid of the Detwiller's case and you'll see the tank of compressed air that made this model vibrate. A very unusual design that did not make the marketplace headway that electricity-powered vibrators did.
Polar Cub (1928)
The rather simple design of the vibrator itself is left in the dust by its opulently-decorated box, covered with iceberg, polar bear cubs, and a lady in her nightgown. Info on the box is provided in English, French, and Spanish!
Half as large as the vibrators of the 'teens and '20s, this well-designed little item was easy to find in the 1930s and '40s, and is commonly found made of brightly-colored aluminum.
By the late '30s to early '40s, vibrators were increasingly marketed to assist in weight loss. This use of vibration may not work particularly well, though vibration plate machines -- an update of this mid-century design -- can be found in some gyms today.
Rolling Pin Heat Massager (1932)
Grandmother used a rolling pin for baking, and perhaps for much more! Deco-designed with Bakelite handles and a heating function in addition to vibration.
Spot Reducer (1950s)
More weight loss claims, featuring a vibrating rubber suction cup and an easy-to-use hand strap.
Stim-u-Lax (early 1960s)
Originally designed in the 1930s and little-changed throughout the middle of the 20th century, this Swedish massager was often encountered at the barbershop, where its specialty was scalp massage after a haircut.
Hitachi (late 1960s-early 1970s)
Currently the most popular electric vibrator, the Hitachi Magic Wand began its life decades ago with a sleek modern look.