5 Sexual Innovations From People in Your History Text Books

#2. Charles Goodyear Invented Vulcanized Rubber, Rubber Condoms

The Genius:

Charles Goodyear makes it easy to remember what he invented, since a popular tire brand still bears his name. Early on in life, he became obsessed with turning very brittle natural rubber into a more durable and therefore useful product. It took him until 1844, after more than a decade of attempts that included constant failure, near-death scrapes, friends deeming him delusional, extreme poverty and a brief stint in jail.

Wikipedia
You could call it ... a particularly bad time of his life.

Finally Goodyear perfected the vulcanization process by, possibly accidentally, mixing sulfur with natural rubber. The process would prove revolutionary and go on to be used in everything from airplane wheels and life jackets to shoes and watches.

The Sex:

Before the 19th century, if you happened to get lucky with the opposite sex or were in desperate need of a toe warmer, you'd have probably found yourself grasping for the nearest piece of animal intestine, weasel testicles or, if you were lucky enough -- and Japanese enough -- a nice tortoise shell to prevent any unwanted STDs.

tribe
Bet the tortoise didn't see that coming.

Goodyear knew that with his rubber innovation, he had something better.

Goodyear's rubber condoms were not as sure-fitting as today's contraceptives. In fact, they only covered the head, but did have the bonus of being more cost effective and reusable ... which must have done wonders for 19th century venereal diseases.

mcgill
That's right. It's a dick bag.

They were also not quite as flexible as would have been desired, so people had to go to their doctor to get measured, which is exactly what every man wants ... to have his dick rated for size by a man in a position of power.

ebay
Three nights is coincidentally the amount of time it takes to get an erection afterward.

Goodyear didn't just stop with condoms -- rubber diaphragms were also on the patent books, as was an early form of the douche bag.

Being an eccentric inventor and not a businessman, he profited little from his inventions and wound up back in prison in Paris in 1855 after getting himself into debt again. He did receive some recognition when the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company was named after him, and he was also inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1976 for his role as a visionary inventor. Doesn't appear that they mentioned the condom thing.

inventoropinion
There would be a pretty bad housing shortage if it wasn't for one man and his dedication to boning.

#1. Hamilton Beach Makes Kitchen Appliances, First Vibrator

The Geniuses:

Odds are that you have at least one Hamilton Beach device in your kitchen right now. Your coffee maker, or blender, or toaster - if it runs on electricity and can be used in the home, they make it.

Wired
Also, we're coming over for pizza.

The company was formed by inventors Chester Beach and L. H. Hamilton more than a century ago, and the ladies have them to thank for one more invention ...

The Sex:

They also invented the very first commercially available electric penis substitute, way back in 1902.

If you're wondering what people used before that, the first vibrators were initially wonderfully inefficient, cumbersome objects that could just as easily have been mass torture devices as sex aids. Or both.

gutenberg
It looks like something you'd use to breach a castle's wall.

They were the exclusive property of doctors, because this was an era when the female orgasm was treated as a medical oddity that should only be left to professionals (considered a treatment to calm down "hysterical" women). Then, Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Beach brought the world this:

vibratormuseum
It came with its own handy carrier case for the frustrated businesswoman.

If you're thinking, "Wait, 1902? I didn't even know they had electric anything back then!" you're actually almost right. Showing that humanity really did have its priorities straight, the vibrator was just the fifth patented electrical appliance ever. It came just after the sewing machine, but about a decade before the vacuum cleaner and electric iron. For those interested, they can still be bought on eBay.

ebay
Yep, a 300-page instruction booklet sounds about right.

Not that you'll find any of this on the Hamilton Beach website. Among the pictures of soup and coffee machines there is not a single mention of the landmark lady lover.

That's okay, HB. We'll give you credit.

Follow Kevin on Twitter here or check out the not entirely serious media blog Listening to Grasshoppers here. No actual listening involved.

For more on boning, check out The 6 Strangest Objects People Were Caught Having Sex With and 6 Ridiculous Sex Myths (That Are Actually True).

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