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Did you know that the small electric motor was invented to power a vibrator? Or that it was the fifth electrical appliance to be sold for use in the home – after the sewing machine but before the electric iron? How about that in 1917, more Americans owned vibrators than toasters?

This article in Slate is packed full of interesting factoids about the history of the vibrator, from its origin as a treatment for ‘hysteria’, to its promotion as a safe-sex aid during the height of panic over HIV/AIDS in the 1980s, in the US. (Found via BoingBoing)