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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • NORTH TUSCANY COAST, 1948

Full Current: 1909

Full Current: 1909

On the left: "Full Current: Young woman using an electric device for massage and stimulation of her face and neck." On the right: "Chest Developer: Woman at dressing table holding electric vibrating machine against her chest." Royal Specialty Company, Cleveland, 1909. Library of Congress copyright deposit, series of five 8x10 photographs: "Chest Developer," "Full Current," "Feels Good," "I Always Use It," "Smoothing the Wrinkles." View full size.

 

Smoothing the Wrinkles

Is that what they call it now?

Modern Priscilla

Just google "hysterical paroxysm" in regard to what people were thinking in those times.

"In the first two decades of this century, the vibrator began to be marketed as a home appliance through advertising in such periodicals as Needlecraft, Home Needlework Journal, Modern Women, Hearst's, McClure's, Woman's Home Companion, and Modern Priscilla. The device was marketed mainly to women as a health and relaxation aid, in ambiguous phrases such as "all the pleasures of youth . . . will throb within you."

Links:

1. Batteries Not Included (NY Times book review)

2. Chapter 1 of the book.

Good Vibrations Museum

There's actually a lot of interesting material on these things at The Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum.

Interesting stuff.

I particularly like that these are two pictures of the same item with two wildly different proposed applications.

Other three photos

And where are they?! Or are they too inappropriate for Shorpy?

Travis

[The Library of Congress has not seen fit to digitize them. Maybe after November ... - Dave]

Delicate Topics

I wonder how many comments prompted by this device won't be suitable for publication? What I am curious about is just how readily those notions came to mind in the 1909 audience.

[Another example of same on the table here. - Dave]

1001 Uses

Now come on, is that what those devices were really used for?

[You haven't seen the other three photos. - Dave]

But she's gorgeous!

Why would she need anything? Of course, that also questions the premise of most advertising ...

The Patent

Some quick googling reveals the patent for this device.

And to Wirelizard -- these devices did find (ahem) other uses.

["Leather washer 7"? "Ball 5"? "Nut N"? Between the Library of Congress and the U.S. Patent Office, you can have a pretty good time in Washington! - Dave]

Self-Improvement

Next, she's going to take a good health-improving swig of radium water! It glows in the dark, that must mean it's good for you!

Of course, to anyone from 2008 too willing to throw stones, I have one word: Botox.

 
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