The world of steampunk is under this particular writer's purview because no one else on the Houston Press contributor list accepted Final Fantasy VI as their personal savior in their formative years. We've covered some pretty sweet crafts and art in our time here, but now we've gone straight through the looking glass into Alan Mooresville. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you Lady Clankington's Cabinet of Carnal Curiosities.
The story goes like this...
Due to her voracious desire for endless...adventure, her husband (an industrialist of some note) expired from exhaustion long ago. In a fit of frustration, Lady Clankington employed the genius of one Dr. Visbaun to create a cadre of strapping automatons that would finally grant her the only company able to keep up with her unending desire...for adventure. As brilliant and well-built as these mechanisms were, even these poor fellows kept wearing out.
Ever more frustrated and in need of satisfaction, Lady Clankington commissions Dr. Visbaun to create various enticements of a most diabolical nature. Each design has been well tested by the lady, herself.
Translation: A steampunk fan made ornate pistol handles for your basic vibrator.
Most Houston goths have either worked in a sex toy store or dated someone who has, and we're no exception. So we think we're qualified to judge these creations from afar...though we'd like to point out we were this close to getting an editor to buy us one in the name of respectable journalism. Seriously, kids, writing is the best career ever.
The handcrafted novelty grips show tremendous artistry, but the extremely basic nature of wands leaves a lot to be desired. The only real feature aside from their look is a basic multi-speed dial, and contrary to what you're thinking, the trigger does not regulate the speed. You have to reach into what would be the chamber in a regular gun to turn the control, which sounds awkward. No rotation, no rabbit, and it uses C batteries, which is always a pain in the ass.
If you have between $150 and $200 to spend on an item that will spark conversation rather than an actual dedicated sexual enhancement device, then by all means give m'lady your scratch. Better, if not more artistic, toys can be had locally for half that price.
Just how did dildos come so far? Click on over to page 2 for a great moments in dildo history.
26,000 BCE: The world's oldest known dildo is fashioned in what would be modern-day Germany. Made of siltstone, its 20cm length was reconstructed from 14 different fragments. In addition to its possible sexual usages, scars on the stone indicate it may also have been used to knap flint tools.
2,000 BCE: Ancient Grecian brothels feature a variety of sex toys including vaginal and anal penetration devices. Such artifacts were widely accepted, and some people were even buried with their personal favorites. The Greeks used olive oil as sexual lubrication, a practice that is still in occasional use today.
206 BCE - 220 CE: Many beautiful, ornate phalluses are created during the Han Dynasty in China out of bronze. These were believed to be used on frustrated concubines that the emperor didn't have time to attend to.
Mid-1500s: Two Spanish nuns accused of using "genital instruments" on each other are burned at the stake. Laws making "sins against nature" capital crimes had been on the books in Spain since the 1400s. Scholar Bonnie Zimmerman says in Lesbian Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia, "Select enforcement of sodomy laws, when read in context of court testimony, suggests the primary concern of the authorities was the women's usurpation of masculine prerogatives." The woman who cross-dressed or used dildos was usually punished more harshly, as sex without a phallus was not considered real sex.
1734: The first wind-up vibrator is invented. Called the Tremoussoir, it was wound with a key and then vibrated until the mechanism timed out, not unlike a child's wind-up car.
1869: George Taylor develops the Manipulator, the world's first steam-powered sex toy. During the 19th century, clitoral massage began to be used to treat "female hysteria," the symptoms of which were nervousness, insomnia, shortness of breath, irritability and a host of other signs. Doctors initially treated female hysteria through manual stimulation to the point of orgasm, but found the procedure boring, tiring and damaging to hands and wrists from prolonged sessions. Though awkward, the Manipulator was seen as a godsend to fatigued doctors.
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1902: Hamilton Beach patents the first electrical vibrator available for commercial sale. It is only the fifth appliance to have been electrified at this point in history.
1985: A dance instructor named Dave Lambert constructs the first sybian, a mountable vibrator that is ridden and is rated up to 1,000 lbs. Penthouse produced many videos based around the device, and Howard Stern keeps one in his studio for use by willing guests.
1998: A discussion about the Vibratex's Rabbit Pearl on an episode of Sex and the City helps further mainstream vibrator use.