The Museum’s collection is a treasure trove of the beautiful, innovative, important and unusual. The vibratory massagers definitely fall into the latter category, as part of the health and medicine and social history collections.
The vibratory massagers were part of a wider self help health regimes and equipment of the late 1880s and early 1900s. Brochures like the one above asserted the devices could cure colds, digestive complaints, flatulence, gout, rheumatism, tiredness and general complaints through ‘curative vibration’. The Perth Daily News , January 22, 1916 carried an article about the ‘Veedee Institute in Perth with further claims for cures of rheumatism, sciatica, anaemia, deaflness, and all kidney, liver and nerve troubles instantly relieved and permanently cured by the Veefdee Vibra*.
One brochure stated members of the royal family used it and also listed other noted society people. Lilie Langtry, a noted beauty and actress of the 1900’s said “Most of all though, I prize my Veddee as a natural tonic and quick- rester. My friends have been remarking on my relaxed appearance lately and I have told them is due to the Veedee”.
This adjustable mechanical vibrator was manufactured by the English ‘Veedee’ Company, London around 1910. Mechanical vibrators were essentially massaging devices which could be easily used from home. Rather than use electricity to power the heads the vibrator was hand cranked before placement on the skin. These early mechanical therapeutic device were marketed from the 1890s to the middle of the twentieth century.
The name Veedee is possibly a play on the latin term ‘Veni, Vedi, Vici’ or’ I came, I saw, I conquered’.
Written by Anni Turnbull, curator