Anything that vibrates.

Also a device, usually phallic in shape, used for sexual pleasure. Primarily used by the female (although males have been know to buy one for themselves) as a solo masturbatory device, although it can bring a new twist to your sex life.

The first vibrator was invented in 1869 and was steam-powered. In those days the vibrator was used to treat "female hysteria and infertility." The treatments were always performed in a doctor's office, due to the enormous size of the paleolithic vibrator. The doctor would perform the arduous task himself, attempting to drain the "bad humours" from the vagina. One session would usually last the better part of an hour.

Later the vibrator became the second device to be powered by electricity (the sewing machine was the first). Electricity made the vibrator a much smaller device and they were soon sold to the home sector. The first commercial vibrators came in boxes with pictures of women running the device across their backs and stroking their wrists. Never underestimate the power of denial. It wasn't until the pornographic picture shows of the 1920's that the vibrator was considered a taboo device. Until this time the public image of the vibrator was:

  1. An instrument to treat female hysteria and infertility, and
  2. A device to massage your back and wrists, as the pictures on the box illustrate.
These picture shows exhibited women using the vibrator for the purposes of sexual pleasure. While everyone already knew that this was the true use of the vibrator, the picture shows brought its secret purpose into the open. At this time women were not viewed as sexual creatures by the majority of the population and the vibrator sunk into disrepute.

Only recently, in the age of sexual awareness, has the vibrator made a comeback. There now exists a company that is reputed to make the "Harley Davidson" of vibrators. They are available on special order, and arrive in a box that has pictures of women using the vibrator to massage their backs and stroke their wrists.

Vibrator is another word for oscillator. In other words, a crystal or other device used for generating a wave, as in an electrical (or electronic) circuit. This use of the word has declined due to the modern sexual connotations.


In the sexual context, there are a few major types of vibrators which have extreme popularity. Nearly all vibrators work on the same principle, which is that some electrical power source drives an electric motor, which is attached to an unbalanced counterweight. This causes an eccentricical motion. Vibrators can be used to stimulate any part of the body, and are not limited to penetrative female use.

The most obvious type of "vibrator" is the basic phallic vibrator, which comes in various realistic and non-realistic shapes, as well as unrealistic sizes. It is possible to get sleeves of various shapes, sizes, and textures which are intended to be fitted over vibrators, as well. Probably the most famous handheld vibrator in this category is the rabbit pearl, a vibrator of Japanese design named for its small rabbit-shaped protrudance designed for clitoral stimulation.

There are also a number of vibrators ostensibly designed for massage, in order to loosen tired muscles. Whichever way you use them, they certainly do that. The most popular of these is probably the Hitachi Magic Wand. Somewhat hammer-shaped (earning it a number of entertaining nicknames), this is an extremely powerful vibrator with multiple settings and attachments, which runs off of mains power - In the US, approximately 110VAC. This is the Cadillac of handheld vibrators.

A simpler, older, and more common type of handheld vibrator supposedly designed for massage has a profile much like a hand mixer. They have a pistol grip, more or less, and come with a variety of attachments. Supposedly they really are useful in massage. They are relatively inexpensive and long-lived. These have been around for "medical" purposes since the forties. They are interesting in that they are more useful than most for stimulating the head of the penis, and also are quite useful when applied to the clitoris.

There are of course various vibrators intended solely for the pleasuring of the male organ. Most of them are designed to mimic a vagina, and made out of some sort of pliable plastic or rubber.

Another famous vibrator is the Sybian. This is to a handheld model as a riding mower is to a push mower. The Sybian is supposedly designed to be the ultimate ride, and provide health benefits beyond those of simple stress relief. Whether this is really true or just hype remains unclear, but the girls in the videos look like they're having fun. At a (current) price of USD$1,315, one certainly hopes that they're not making it up. They continue to remain in business, so there is hope.

Another important type of vibrator is the small "personal massager". These are very small devices, usually cylindrical in nature, and sometimes equipped with interchangable rubber heads. One popular example is the Fukoku 2000, which turned up in a large number of places, including a myriad of television ads. A variation of these mini-vibes includes a finger strap; the bionic finger.

There are also a large variety of small pod-type vibrators shaped like eggs, thimbles, spheres, thumbs, and even dolphins, butterflies, and scorpions. These devices come with and without straps. The batteries and controls are stored in a separate box. Some of the more elaborate vibrators in this category have three or more motors all running at different (variable) speeds. Similarly, some vibrators are integrated into some type of cock ring, often with a protrusion designed to stimulate the partner's clitoris.

Some vibrators are designed for stimulation of the anus or even the prostate. Vibrating butt plugs, both purpose-built and as sleeves for a smaller, less descript vibrator are readily available, while vibrators with a small, oval-shaped vibrating node on the end of a long, slender stalk are also popular. Any sex toy inserted anally should have a base broader than its body which should be difficult or "impossible" to get past the anal sphincter. Otherwise there is a danger of "losing" the toy inside the rectum, with results ranging from humorous to medical emergency. This is especially true with vibrating toys, or any others containing batteries.

Anything with an imperfectly balanced motor, or a reciprocating motion can be used as a vibrator. Electric toothbrushes are popular. The ever-popular act of sitting on the washing machine when it is unevenly loaded turns a major appliance into a personal pleasure device. One woman I knew used an electric shaver — a waterproof model, of course — with the reciprocating cutting head removed. This left a small plastic nub with a beveled tip which moves back and forth rapidly and with great force; She covered this with a piece of silk bought from the fabric store. In addition to the moving nub acting on the clitoris, the overall vibration of the unit stimulates the surrounding area, especially the labia.

Vibrators may be made of a wide range of materials including hard plastic, plastic rubber, jelly rubber, silicone rubber, stainless steel, and glass. Of these hard plastic and plastic rubber (as opposed to natural rubber) are probably the most common, followed by jelly rubber and silicone. Of these the best materials are probably hard plastic, surgical stainless steel, and silicone. Jelly rubber is porous, and glass is easily damaged and it can be hard to detect when it has been chipped. Jelly rubber is popular because of the strong resemblance in feeling between it and skin but it is porous and can hold bacteria. Silicone is similar but non-porous and therefore can be cleaned very easily. Any vibrators can be protected from soaking up any undesirable fluids by covering them with a condom.

When radio moved, in the 1920s, out of the laboratory and into widespread use, some enterprising person hit on the idea of installing radio receivers in automobiles. Batteries, and lots of them, powered those early car radios; but, understandably, drivers of the time balked at the number of large batteries required for the average receiver.

A partial solution arrived with the advent of vacuum tubes with 6-volt filaments that could be lit by the car’s electrical system. This still left the problem of the high voltage, in the neighborhood of 150 – 250 volts, required by the tubes’ electrodes. If some means of converting the direct current (DC) output of the car’s battery to alternating current (AC) could be found, then that voltage could be stepped up with a transformer and rectified to produce the necessary higher voltages.

With the invention of a device then known as a vibrator, the problem was solved. The vibrator, encased in a metal can, consisted of a coil, a spring-loaded armature, and relay-style switch contacts. These contacts were used to break the energizing voltage, and to create the AC voltage necessary for the transformer/rectifier system.

In operation, voltage from the car battery energized the coil, pulling the armature toward one set of contacts. This caused the circuit energizing the coil to be broken, and the armature would snap back to its original position at the other set of the contacts. The coil was then re-energized, and the cycle repeated again (thus the “vibrating” action). At the same time, current flowed from the vibrator’s output, but alternated between positive and negative (with respect to ground), resulting in the production of an AC voltage (in the form of a square wave). This voltage was fed into a special ‘vibrator transformer’ and stepped up. The resultant high voltage could then be converted back to DC by a rectifier tube and used to provide operating voltages for the receiver’s tubes. A vibrator used in this fashion was called a non-synchronous vibrator.

Later refinements included the development of synchronous vibrators, fitted with an additional set of contacts that reversed the action of the set of contacts producing the AC voltage. Stepped-up voltage from the transformer was fed back to these additional contacts, resulting in DC voltage and eliminating the rectifier tube. Both types of systems became the standard for car radio power, and also found their way into receivers designed for areas (such as many farms of the time) without AC power lines.

Vibrator power worked well, but at a loss; most vibrator power supplies operated at around 60 percent efficiency. It was, however, the only method available until solid state receivers (with their lower voltage requirements) replaced tube-based receivers in the 1960s.


SOURCES

The American Radio Relay League Staff, The Radio Amateur's Handbook, various editions. Newington, Connecticut: ARRL Publications.

Title: Vibrator
Director: Ryuichi Hiroki
Country: Japan
Run time: 95 minutes
Year: 2003
Hello Kitty appearance: None

Vibrator is the most recent full-length film by legendary pinku film director Ryuichi Hiroki, who is probably most well-known for his 2000 release I Am An S&M Writer. With Vibrator, and many of his other recent works, he finds himself moving farther away from the softcore exploitation of the 80’s and 90’s, and moving closer to a more easily accessible, dramatic style of cinema.

As the film opens we are introduced to Rei, a 31 year old freelance writer who is apparently a little schizophrenic, as an inner monolog plagues her in the voice of her mother. Rei is looking for German red wine in a gas station, dressed up warmly with a fluffy coat, and a long scarf partially obscuring her face. A lone trucker, Takatoshi, enters the gas station, interrupting Rei’s fit of mania, and she is automatically calmed by his presence. Needless to say, she follows him outside, and enters his truck.

That opening scene is a beautiful one, with the bight colors of Japanese food snacks being accentuated by the light snowfall seen out the windows of the store. The rest of the film too, is beautiful, with interesting cinematography that can only be obtained through years, and years of film creation and study. Just because it looks posh, however, doesn’t mean that the style is over learned, as it has a natural air to it, that doesn’t detract from the story. Continuing with that naturalness, the acting is very smooth, and well delivered, almost with the feeling of improvisation, which again, doesn’t detract, but rather adds to the story. Noa Omori, who plays the part of the isolated Takatoshi, really studied up on the trucker ethics and lexicon, as he pulls off the part with ease, and without slips.

As for the story itself, it could be said that this is the Japanese version of the recent "two-misunderstood-souls-seeking-love-by-accident" tale that everyone seems to be latching on to, with movies done in America by the name of Lost In Translation, and Garden State, and the supreme Thai version Last Life In The Universe. Also this is a road epic, with most of the action happening on the road, inside a vehicle, so similarities can be drawn to the controversial Brown Bunny, and even Easy Rider. Also, Hiroki does stay true to his erotic background, and sexuality does play a part in Vibrator, all though no real vibrators play any active role in the film.

While all of the aforementioned films are mostly excellent, and what I would assume to be true to life, they usually have a negative effect on me, often creating a depressed mood after viewing. If these stories are true, or assumed to be realistic portrayals of incidents created, then I, for the most part, have been completely left out. I think this may be true for many people; I don’t believe there is one among us who wouldn’t want to play the leading role in these accidental love stories. And to those who by chance have, I shoot my envy in your direction.

Vibrator had a brief festival tour in 2004, with it’s most notable showing at the Toronto International Film Festival. There seemed to be a polarization of reviews regarding this film, however, I think it’s safe to say that those unafraid of steadfast films would not mind a viewing of Vibrator.

Vi"bra*tor (?), n.

One that vibrates, or causes vibration or oscillation of any kind; specif.

(a)

(Elec.)

(1) A trembler, as of an electric bell.

(2) A vibrating reed for transmitting or receiving pulsating currents in a harmonic telegraph system.

(3) A device for vibrating the pen of a siphon recorder to diminish frictional resistance on the paper.

(4) An oscillator.

(b)

An ink-distributing roller in a printing machine, having an additional vibratory motion.

(a)

(Music)

A vibrating reed, esp. in a reed organ.

(d)

(Weaving)

Any of various vibrating devices, as one for slackening the warp as a shed opens.

(e)

An attachment, usually pneumatic, in a molding machine to shake the pattern loose.

 

© Webster 1913.

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