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Therapeutic Vibrator, England, 1920-1940

‘Vibrotherapy’ was considered an effective treatment for ‘hysteria’ during the late 1800s and early 20th century. Hysteria meant anything from stress and anxiety to headaches and anything indicating a nervous disposition. Vibrators were originally hand-cranked mechanical devices. However, a range of vibrators and attachments were available by the time this electromechanical example came on the market. The first reported use of electromechanical vibrators was in Paris in 1878. Doctors prescribed ‘vibrating machines’ for perceived health benefits, not sexual reasons. This vibrating machine was made by Ever Ready in England between 1920 and 1940.

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Glossary: hysteria

A nervous affection, occurring almost exclusively in women, in which the emotional and reflex excitability is exaggerated, and the will power correspondingly diminished, so that the patient loses control over the emotions, becomes the victim of imaginary sensations, and often falls into paroxism or fits.

Glossary: vibrator

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