Did you know that the electric vibrator was invented within the late 19th century as a pain relief treatment?

Joseph Mortimer Granville – an inventor who developed an early model, was an English physician, and he also has been described as the “father of the modern electromechanical vibrator.”

Mortimer Granville’s 1883 book Nerve-vibration and excitation as agents in the treatment of functional disorder and organic disease describes using his vibrators on various ailments such as pain relief, morbid irritability, treatment of neuralgia, neurasthenia, constipation and indigestion.

These early vibrators became popular in medical use for a wide variety of ailments in men and women, including amenorrhea, inflammations, arthritis, hysteria, constipation, or tumours. During World War I, some wounded soldiers received vibrotherapy as treatment at English and French hospitals in Serbia.

For purposes of home use, vibrators began around 1900 for their health and beauty benefits. A good example was the ‘Vibratile,’ an advert in McClure’s magazine released in March 1899, offered as a cure for headache, neuralgia, or wrinkles.

These advertisements disappeared in the 1920s, most likely due to their appearance in pornography and a growing understanding of female sexual function; therefore, it was no longer tenable for mainstream society to avoid the sexual connotations of those devices.