Are there rock and roll vintage vibrators?

An invention of the Vintage vibrators

Suddenly, the inventive doctor was afraid of the unexpected success of his imagination: No, he had never tried the device in women and will not do so in the future, wrote Joseph Mortimer Granville 1883 in his booklet on “nerve vibration”. The invention is meant to relax the tense muscles of male patients, he added.

Alone, his colleagues whistled on the concerns of the British. The physicians hurried in droves and tore the miracle weapon they had just created out of their hands: a kind of drill with a small ball at the tip. At the touch of a button, it began to jerk gently. The power for this came from a suitcase-sized battery, which was connected by cable to the device.

Ironically, in Victorian-prudish England, Mortimer Granville developed the world’s first electric Vintage vibrators. And thus made it all the better – the male medical profession.

Medically prescribed fumbling

For “Granville’s Hammer”, as the invention was baptised, made an extraordinary form of medical therapy that had been practised for centuries unnecessary: the manual massage of the clitoris in patients with “hysteria”. Finally – as the tenor of the entertaining feature film “In Good Hands” by US director Tanya Wexler – this had for the treating physicians anything, but pleasurable, time-consuming and sometimes evens a sore tennis arm triggering task an end.
Even in ancient times, the doctors toiled around with the delicate handwork. Since hypocrites, so-called hysteria has been considered a gynaecological condition that originated in the uterus and resulted in congestion of female senses of humour. To relieve this congestion, it was up to the physicians to induce a “hysterical crisis” through genital massage – which was, in fact, equivalent to a female orgasm. 

As such, however, hardly anyone perceived him: After all, a proper sexual act, so the prevailing opinion to the 21st century requires male penetration and climax. Therefore, neither doctors nor husbands had a moral problem with this medically prescribed fiddling.

By train to orgasm

The ladies themselves, in turn, seemed to enjoy the therapy very much. The upper-class women made regular pilgrimages to the doctor, who usually massaged them once a week – or else brought alternative treatments for stimulation into play: since the Middle Ages, medics have recommended extensive horseback riding, especially in the case of widows and nuns Doctors of the famous Parisian hospital their “hysterical” patients in the monotonously over the track bed jerking railway.

But also since the 18th Century, flourishing spas and spas with their pools, waterfalls and stimulating shower chairs enjoyed the ladies of the upper layers of great popularity. An observer at the British resort Malvern wrote in 1851 that the women after the “hydrotherapy” were so liberated and happy, “as if they had drunk champagne”.


At about the same time, female “hysteria” became a fashion diagnosis, under which the puzzled physicians subsumed all sorts of symptoms, including a headache, insomnia, and moodiness. In the US alone, contemporary estimates suggest, nearly three-quarters of all women in the second half of the 19th century suffered from the mysterious disease: a dramatic peak in hysteria was reached, and urgent relief was needed.

Full steam against hysteria

It all started with the American doctor George Taylor. In 1869 he secured the patent for a steam-powered “manipulator”. The bulky and expensive device he mounted under a couch, which was provided with an opening on which the women settled for treatment. Fourteen years later, his British colleague Joseph Mortimer Granville invented his decidedly cheaper and more manageable electric-powered copy: the new Vintage vibrators were born shortly after the first electric iron – and almost two decades before the vacuum cleaner by British inventor Hubert Cecil Booth.

Although Mortimer Granville explicitly advised against the treatment of hysterical patients – far too vague was the clinical picture and too high the risk of a “hypochondria deception”. The medical profession nevertheless celebrated him unimpressed for his invention. “Granville’s Hammer,” rejoiced the American physician Samuel Spencer Wallian, “solve in five to ten minutes” a problem for which the doctor in the past “requires an hour of meticulous manual work”.

In 1900, visitors to the Paris World’s Fair already admired more than a dozen specimens of various types: from a simple hand-cranked Vintage vibrator or foot pedal to a model dangling from the ceiling like the impact wrench in an auto repair shop to the Chattanooga $ 200 luxury version.

Wonder weapon against hair loss and bacon

Touted as a medical massager, the Vintage vibratos first became a must-have for every doctor’s office. Some physicians immediately bought a whole set and opened individual treatment rooms where several patients could be helped at once. But for men, the Vintage vibrators came into fashion. With various essays, he became a panacea, which was used in many different places to alleviate almost any suffering.

Whether osteoarthritis, impotence, hair loss, constipation or bacon on the hips: The belief in the power of electrically generated vibrations was virtually unlimited. “All life is based on vibration,” Spencer Wallian raved in 1905, laying the groundwork for marketing the home Vintage vibrators with his general remarks.

Spanked as a health-promoting therapy device, the whirring, uncomplicated to be connected to the socket helpers held since the turn of the century in the households. Addressees were mainly women, as the flood of ads in US magazines such as “Needlecraft”, “Home Needlework Journal”, “Modern Women” or “Modern Priscilla” testifies.
This also stumbled on the US historian Rachel Maine in her research because actually, she wanted to research about the history of sewing machines and manual work. Fascinated, she set her topic aside and instead delved into the history of the Vintage vibrators.

Shining eyes, rosy cheeks

With slogans like “All the joys of youth will throb in you”, “Help every woman will appreciate” or “Mild, soothing, invigorating, refreshing. Developed by a woman who knows what women need” the florid Vintage vibrators advertised Industry for their pleasure equipment. In 1918, the company Sears, Roebuck and Company even developed Vintage vibrators that could be connected to a universal kitchen appliance, which also had adapters for a mixer and fan.

The US Company Star, in turn, praised his model in 1922 as a “delightful companion”, which is with its approximately two-meter-long cord “perfect for weekend trips”. At about the same time, manufacturers, such as Hearst’s Magazine, also turned to men and praised their Vintage vibratos as an ideal Christmas gift that could give women “shiny eyes and rosy cheeks”.
“Joys of a Widow”
Two things must have scared the advertising campaigns, the scientist speculates: First, the level of knowledge about the female climax improved, for example by the studies of Sigmund Freud. On the other hand, the Vintage vibratos began at that time to appear more in erotic films – now bluntly as a female fortune generator.

Among the best known is the early sex film “The History of a Nun” (not to be confused with the same work of 1959 with Audrey Hepburn). But also “joys of a widow”, the late twenties turned porn strip in which a lady at the door chastely repulses her male companion, and then immediately rush into her bedroom and take with an old Vintage vibrator to be satisfied.

When the women’s movement of the 1970s tried to get the Vintage vibrators out of the mess, the conservative government headed by Ronald Reagan made a decisive contribution to its triumphal procession in American households: America’s top health official, Surgeon General Everett Koop, sent an anti-AIDS campaign, in May 1988 an eight-page educational booklet to all US households and recommended, in addition to the use of condoms, the use of Vintage vibratos.