More than a dozen companies began producing electric vibrators by 1900. In 1904, the Chattanooga vibrator cost $200, not including shipping charges (Maines 1999, 15). If you adjust for inflation, it would cost approximately $4,800 today.
During this period, the vibrator was marketed as a home appliance as a relaxation device. Such advertisements appeared in Needlecraft, Home Needlework Journal, Modern Women, Hearst’s, McClure’s (the earliest advertisement appeared in 1899), Women’s Home Companion, and Modern Pricilla. If the vibrators were marketed at men, they were recommended as gifts. In 1918, a line of vibrators appeared in the Sears, Roebuck, and Company catalog (Maines 1999, 19). The standard delivery method was mail order. (Maines 1999, 104).
By the mid-1920s, vibrators began to appear in erotic films. Advertisements in home magazines began to disappear until the 1960s (Maine 1999, 108).
Created in Germany through a project initiated by Heinrich Himmler to relieve soliders and to keep them from picking up women, the first sex doll was born – so to speak. Standard characteristics of the doll included synthetic skin, moveable body, and a realistic female organ.
Hysteria becomes unrecognized (Maines 1999, 3). The American Medical Association no longer acknowledges it as an ailment. Therefore, the vibrator was no longer accepted as a medical device.
The first sex doll is marketed, which was 11.5 inches of plastic and was named Bild Lilli (Ferguson 2010, 27).
The modern vibrator reemerges as a sex toy (Maines 1999, 108).
Ted Marche, a ventriloquist, manufactured rubber dildos and other toys. In 1976, he had sold nearly 5 million sex toys.
Created by Hitachi, the Japanese manufacturing firm, the Hitachi Magic Wand appeared on the market in America. Although its purpose was to massage muscles, it became known as a sex toy.
The Rabbit became extremely popular in 1998 on HBO’s Sex and the City in the episode “The Turtle and the Hare.” Vibratex invented the Rabbit Pearl in 1983, the product that was shown on the TV show. However, the “Original Jack Rabbit” was created decades before that by California Exotics.
I Rub My Duckie debuted in 1997 as one of the earliest discreet sex toys. It is a vibrating rubber duck that can sit in bathtub without anyone knowing it has a range of vibrations.
The Fleshlight is patented by former police officer Steve Shubin, who came up with the idea in 1995. The Fleshlight is men’s sex toy that is molded from a woman’s anatomy. To watch the story of how Fleshlight was created, click here.
Nigel R. launches Divine Interventions, which is a company that created sex toys to look like religious icons. For example, the Jackhammer Jesus is a silicone dildo that is shaped like Jesus on the cross.
Maines, Rachel P. 1999. The Technology of an Orgasm: “Hysteria,” the Vibrator, and Women’s Sexual Satisfaction. Baltimore, MD: The John Hopkins University Press.