Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

Can you guess what these terrifying 19th century inventions were used for?

Illustration for article titled Can you guess what these terrifying 19th century inventions were used for?

Look at those two devices above. Both devices are from the late 1800s and electrified, and I wouldn't wish either of them upon my worst enemy. Can you determine what they are? Your prize will be knowledge and horror.


Okay, so the doodad on the left is an "Electrical Body-Wear" patented by John V. Long of Jersey City, New Jersey on January 15, 1889. Don't let the innocuous name fool you. According to the inventor, this device had some rather shocking applications:

The object of my invention is to prevent the occurring of involuntary seminal emissions, and thereby assist in the cure of those diseases by which they are caused.

To this end my invention consists mainly in an electric circuit-controller constructed so as to be operated by the movement of the male genital organs, and to thereby affect a circuit whose effect is to awaken the user from sleep. I prefer that the circuit shall be arranged to administer an electric shock to the user to awaken him. It may, however, act in other ways, as by giving an audible alarm by means of bell or vibrator.


Indeed, Mr. Long was patenting a boner-activated anti-wet dream machine (or perhaps an anti-wet dream alarm). Let's never write about this again.

The doohickey on the right was the work of a one Mr. G.R. King of Dallas Texas. What was it used for? Take it away, Mr. King:

My invention relates to an electric appliance, adapted for use on stallions, to stop and cure the habit of masturbation [...]

Yup, on March 20, 1894, Mr. King attempted to patent a device that would stop horses from masturbating. Yes, male horses masturbate by rubbing their John Thomases against their stomachs. Back in the day, this normal behavior was thought to be a sign of boredom, so Mr. King devised a newfangled horse cock zapper.

If these inventions titillated you, you can see more of the patents here and here. John Ptak of Ptak Science Books will post more weird early electrical devices soon, so bleach your eyes and head on over.


Share This Story

Get our newsletter



I thought it did the exact opposite. Male race horse semen collection is, how shall I say... unnatural. A machine would make it less... unpleasant.

*relevant clip from one of my favorite shows ever, Keen Eddie.