‘Barker Universal’ electric massage apparatus, United States, 1913-1914

Made:
1913-1914 in United States
maker:
Unknown

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

"Barker Universal" electric massage apparatus, hand held, cast aluminium body, 5 interchangeable heads, in leatherette case, supplied by James Barker, London, made in United States, 1913-1914. (Owner was donor's mother. Donor remembers her using it before 1914.)

The ‘Barker Universal’ is a handheld electric massage apparatus. Like many early massaging devices, it was used for a range of physical and emotional complaints. Electromechanical vibrators such as this became consumer products in the second half of the 1800s. Such devices originally treated women diagnosed as “hysterical”. They were initially only used in doctors’ surgeries. The sexual use of such machines was not overtly publicised. However, it was a major part of their appeal.

This example is made of aluminium. It comes with five interchangeable heads. It was probably originally ordered for home use via a mail order company. The international nature of this product indicates its wide appeal. It was made in the US, supplied by James Barker of London, and patented worldwide in the early 1900s.

Details

Category:
Therapeutics
Object Number:
1985-653
Materials:
body, aluminium, case, leatherette
type:
massager
credit:
MacEwan, N.

Cite this page

Rights

We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.


Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero


Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data

Download

Download catalogue entry as json

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.