Let’s say—hypothetically—you were feeling very motivated to get off via mechanical means. Would you give this century-old vibrator a shot?

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This ad comes from a 1905 directory of New York physicians, hospitals and other medical resources, available now for your own bewildered perusal on the Internet Archive. The back is chock full of pitches for weird tonics and eyeglass makers, but it’s the vibrators that really stand out. Yes, there’s more than just the one. Though this model—“German, with American Improvements”—is even more mystifying than the first. Surely the Bihlmaier was at least intended more for applications like muscle massage; this 1907 text lists it as coming with attachments for the scalp and back, and even one to treat deafness. Please note that it’s not sold to barbers.

Anyway, nothing prompts as many questions as this advertisement, which is not for a vibrator, unless “clam bouillon” happens to be your euphemism of choice. Alcoholism and tuberculosis—treat ‘em both with clam bouillon!


Contact the author at kelly@jezebel.com.