A Brief History of Vibrators

Invented in the mid 1800s, the vibrator was meant to relieve doctors of the tough job of stimulating women to orgasm.

Wait, what?


You read that correctly - inducing orgasms was considered treatment for “hysteria-” aka, being emotional, and they also weren’t even called “orgasms;” they were known instead as “paroxysms.” As a result of this, it was not considered a sexual act, and was perfectly acceptable for doctors to perform manual stimulation in order to induce orgasm. Sometimes taking them hours to do, it became too much for their tired arms, and thus the vibrator was invented.  Did you know that the first mechanical vibrator ever invented was actually a table with a giant steam engine attached to it?

  An early vibrating table design

An early vibrating table design

The steam engine was hidden in another room of course, but if you’re wondering how on Earth we got from vibrators that took up two whole rooms to vibrators that you can carry in your pocket, you wouldn’t be alone. Perhaps modern sex machines hark back to this method of straddling a thrusting object - and wouldn’t this classify as more of a sex machine than a vibrator, anyway? Well, yes - and the fact is that inviting women to straddle violently shaking tables attached to steam engines was dangerous, and probably not the most effective, either - and people say the magic wand is too noisy! This is why in the late 1800s, smaller, more ergonomic devices were created.

  Joseph Mortimer Granville's invention

Joseph Mortimer Granville's invention

  the Polar Cub vibrator featured in the Antique Vibrator Museum

the Polar Cub vibrator featured in the Antique Vibrator Museum

These smaller massaging devices were advertised as medical and even beauty products, with the alternative purpose of removing wrinkles. Popular in catalogues, they reduced the amount of visits paid to doctors by achieving the same results faster and at home. Naturally, nobody spoke of the fact that they were using them for masturbation. When vibrators first appeared on screen in 1920s pornography, retailers and doctors were quick to dispose of the sexual devices, with some states even outlawing them entirely. No longer was the “pelvic massage” considered a medical treatment, nor was it considered acceptable at all - the sexual implications were too great.

Fast forward to the late 1960s: the invention of the (Hitachi) Magic Wand, originally designed for athletes to relieve muscle soreness. And then, with the women’s lib movement of the 1970s came a demand for increased acceptance of women’s sexuality, and especially for women’s orgasm. At the helm of the movement was sex-educator Betty Dodson, and the magic wand was her own excalibur as she used it to educate countless groups of women on masturbation.

  Todays "Magic Wand Original," and the 70s version by Hitachi, the "Workout"

Todays "Magic Wand Original," and the 70s version by Hitachi, the "Workout"


The legendary wand was reborn as a masturbatory phenomenon, and paved the way for vibrators to march back into the mainstream.

 Close-up of the original jack rabbit with massaging pearl beads (modern versions have been replaced with more reliable rotating mechanisms of small metal beads)

Close-up of the original jack rabbit with massaging pearl beads (modern versions have been replaced with more reliable rotating mechanisms of small metal beads)

Nearly 40 years after Dodson's masturbatory movement, Hitachi decided to remove their name from the product and sold it to Vibratex to continue manufacturing as the renamed "Magic Wand Original." Once again the sexual implications were too much for them and they did not want their name attached to a sex toy, no matter how iconic it had become.  In the 1990s the Jackrabbit had it’s moment in the sun when it was featured on cult classic Sex in the City, and like the Magic Wand, has been an uncontrollable sensation ever since. 

With mainstream, sex-positive exposure, the vibrator has grown from a “medical treatment” to a staple of many’s personal self-care routine. The vibrator speaks a lot to the sexual freedom of women - as more and more people embrace the idea that masturbation is something to be celebrated,  what was once considered by the majority to be taboo, is now making it’s way into the sex lives of the ever-growing population of sex toy users.

We’d like to think that vibrators have taken a turn for the better with modernized, sleek designs, fun color options, and newer and better functionality. Libido offers a selection of vibrators that are g-spotting, USB rechargeable, couples, dual stimulating, and more! Whether you’re new to vibrators, building your collection, or looking for the latest in luxury, we’re sure to have something for everyone. And yes, we’ve got the Original Magic Wand in stock, too.

  Just a few of the vibrators available at Libido Adult Store. 

Just a few of the vibrators available at Libido Adult Store. 



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