The Bizarre History of the Vibrator: From Cleopatra's Angry Bees to Steam-Powered DildosS

Did you know that the first vibrator in history may have been invented by Egyptian Queen Cleopatra? Apparently, she had the idea of filling a hollow gourd with angry bees. The violent buzzing caused the gourd to vibrate and then... well, then, the rest is history.

And that history gets weirder and weirder from there, from bees to Victorian-era steam-powered dildos and handcracked vibration devices to the famous Hitachi Magic Wand from the 70s and the most modern devices, almost abstract designs with Bluetooth control and throbbing memory. Boys and girls, ladies and gentleman, here is the amazing, bizarre history of the vibrator:


Cleopatra's angry bees (54BC) — Little Gold (2004)

The tale says that it was the sexy Cleopatra who had the original idea that resulted in the first vibrator: a hollow gourd full of angry bees. Whether this was true or not, we will never know.

The Bizarre History of the Vibrator: From Cleopatra's Angry Bees to Steam-Powered DildosS

Whatever the reality was, I'm sure Cleopatra would have loved to own this 24k gold-plated vibrator, machined from a solid rod of surgical steel. Called Little Gold, it's the true MacBook Pro of vibrators, created 2050 years after Cleopatra's DIY device. Too late for both the Queen and Liz Taylor.


Dr. Macaura's Pulsocon Hand Crank (1890) — Hitachi Magic Wand (1970)

The Pulsocon is almost as scary looking as an angry beehive. This Victorian Era device was handcranked. I don't know how it worked or what effect it had. And I don't want to know. OK, I lie, I want to know.

The Bizarre History of the Vibrator: From Cleopatra's Angry Bees to Steam-Powered DildosS

The modern counterpart is the famous Hitachi Magic Wand, which appeared in every single porn movie I can remember in the 1970s. Linda Lovelace's best friend this side of John Holmes is still for sale, passing as a "massaging device" many times. Apparently, experts say that it is still the best plugged vibrator in existence, transforming 110 volts of alternating current into a massive rotating and vibrating power ball of pleasure. Asscary in theory, but infinitely exciting—or so the dames with insensitive clitorises say.


The Manipulator (1891) — Form 6 (2006)

The Manipulator. What a name. Another Victorian Era vibrator, this steam powered beast was as powerful as it was noisy. There was no need to ask "Honey, what are you doing in the bathroom?" It was all well understood. Full steamspunking power from beginning to end, up to eleven.

The Bizarre History of the Vibrator: From Cleopatra's Angry Bees to Steam-Powered DildosS

The Form 6 is its modern steamrolling equivalent, but packed with robust lithium-polymer batteries that charge wirelessly instead of coal. I don't know about you, but it sounds like quite an improvement. It also looks like it can pass as a spaceship model in a sci-fi movie.


Oster Stim-U-Lax (1937) — Form 3 (2010)

The Oster Stim-U-Lax came just before World War II. Capable of transforming anyone's lazy hand into a soft vibrator, it was a great idea for those ladies who liked a more gentle touch and weren't into the whole manual friction thing.

The Bizarre History of the Vibrator: From Cleopatra's Angry Bees to Steam-Powered DildosS

The Form 3, which came to market just two years ago, follows the same principle except it applies it the other way around. Here, an ultrathin silicone touchpad follows your command: whenever you press, the Form 3 will buzz away against your labia. If the Little Gold is the MacBook Pro of vibrators, this is the Magic Trackpad.


Gyro-Lator (1945) — Form 4 (2011)

1945 brought the atomic bomb and the Gyro-Lator, which looks like a pleasant version of the deadly Fat Man. It was made of metal, but it was the first vibrator that actually looked like a vibrator and not like a weird contraption seemingly designed to kill aliens.

The Bizarre History of the Vibrator: From Cleopatra's Angry Bees to Steam-Powered DildosS

The Form 4 looks similar to it, actually, except instead of metal (copper?) it uses medical-grade silicone and resilient polymers. And it can actually kill aliens.


Niagara No. 1 (1954) — Form 2 (2009)

The 1954 Niagara No. 1 was the first vibrator to have force control using a rotary potentiometer than anyone could understand and use without any manual. Apparently, it was a joy to use compared to the previous models (clearly, having to stop your antics to put more coal in your steam powered vibrator was not very joyful).

The Bizarre History of the Vibrator: From Cleopatra's Angry Bees to Steam-Powered DildosS

The 2009 Form 2 has nothing to do with the Niagara, but it is another first in our parallel history of sexual gadgets: the first vibrator to use two motors instead of one. Apparently, it's extremely powerful because of the "the resonant interference" caused by the intersection of their vibrations. I just like it because I think it looks cute, like a little rabbit.

Or the Millennium Falcon.

Oh, and by the way, Happy Mother's Day!