Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Magic Motel Fingers

Back in June 2009, we breathlessly reported the passing of a motel industry icon, John Houghtaling aged 92.
"Who was John Houghtaling?!?

Well, he was the man who made the earth move for millions of motel guests with his ingenious invention, the Magic Fingers vibrating bed machine. For a mere 25 cents inserted into an inconspicuous metal box screwed to the bedside table, guests could be spirited away by a vibrating rocking motion of their motel bed.

In 15 minute sessions of therapeutic pleasure, guests were able to forget that they were booked into a cheap motel. However others that used the vibrations as a giant sex toy with the partner of their choice, may have been focused on other endeavours.

The Magic fingers device was marketed under the slogan, "It quickly takes you into the land of tingling and relaxation and ease." In the early 1960's, Magic Fingers could be found in 250,000 motel rooms across America and a few of these devices made their way to New Zealand.

Inevitably the fad of Magic Fingers slowly waned and the businesses was sold in 1980. Magic Fingers lives on with a new focus on home consumers.

Mr Houghtaling, you have left a tacky, kinky and fun motel legacy that is now a distant memory. We salute you!"
I see that there is a motel that claims to have the only remaining Magic Fingers machines installed in their guest rooms, the classic Flamingo Motel, Idaho.
"Another of our unique guest amenities is provided by Russ, a fellow from nearby Spokane, who still removes quarters from the Magic Fingers boxes attached to the beds. It was his father, so he says, that partnered with the inventor of the original Magic Fingers, a tiny motor attached to the bed frame that gives welcome vibrations to the mattresses for the road weary guests."
An article this week, Magic Fingers still alive, but nearing its finale features the Flamingo Motel and the interesting history of the Magic Fingers phenomenon.

While the Magic Fingers machine probably contributed to the American motel industry's unsavory "dens of inequity, rent-by-the-hour" reputation, it also provided a point of difference and fascination to travellers of another era.

With the explosion of consumerism in more recent years, I wonder what motels are now offering as a point of difference that travellers are unable to experience at home?

And I wonder if it is possible if one of these bizarre machines could still operating in a inconspicuous New Zealand motel room that has been lost-in-time?

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