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

By Jesus Diaz on at

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

The history of the vibrator 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 pattern memory. Jump in!


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

Cleopatra's bees in a cylinder (54BC) — Little Gold

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

But 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, the MacBook Pro of vibrators was created 2050 years after Cleopatra's DIY device. Too late for both the Queen and Liz Taylor.

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

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 and I don't even know how it worked or what effect it had.

The modern counterpart was the famous Hitachi Magic Wand, which appeared in every single porn movie I can remember from the 70s. It still being sold, passing as a "massaging device" and it's still the best plugged vibrator in existence, transforming 110 volts of alternating current into massive rotating and vibrating power. Asscary in theory, but infinitely exciting—or so the dames say.

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

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. No need to ask "Honey, what are you doing in the bathroom?" It was full steamspunking power from beginning to end, up to eleven.

The Form 6 is the modern steamrolling equivalent, but packed with robust lithium-polymer batteries that charge wirelessly instead of coal.

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

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

The Oster Stim-U-Lax came just before World War II, transforming anyone's hand into a soft vibrator. It was a great idea for those ladies who like a more gentle touch. 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. If the Little Gold is the MacBook Pro of vibrators, this is the Magic Trackpad.

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

 

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

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

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 2009 Form 2 has nothing to do with the Niagara, but is another first: 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.