Click here to see a slide show. Two weeks ago, postal workers in Bluffton, S.C., heard a strange buzzing sound after tossing a package into a sorting bin. The building was evacuated, the block cordoned off. Within minutes, a state bomb squad helicoptered in from the state capital. The crack team secreted off the suspicious package and gingerly dismantled ... a vibrator.
In homage to the alert South Carolinian law-enforcement agents who reacted so swiftly to this potential breach of national security (by contrast, think of the Connecticut airport authorities who last week let a drunk man steal a small plane), Slate offers a tour of the vibrator's evolution. Since its introduction in the 1880s, the device has, by the most conservative estimates, mechanically induced billions of orgasms. Yet it springs from surprisingly chaste and medical beginnings. Click here for a slide show about the history of artificial stimulation for women.
Medical Examiner thanks Carol Queen, curator of the antique vibrator museum at Good Vibrations in San Francisco.