I suppose you were thinking this was going to be a take off of Dick Greenberg Weird Twitter, right. Well in all honesty it started out that way - in a round about way. Yesterday Mr Banana noticed a pretty sizable water leak by the neighbors property so he reported it to the city. This morning while enjoying a quiet Sunday morning we heard a lot of big trucks out in front. Huh? What the heck is going on? Of course Barney is barking up a storm and not happy with 'intuders' as it's his job to keep the house secure. So much for a quiet morning.
A guy comes to the door and says - sorry but we have to dig out in front of your house most of the day to fix a leak and it's going to be very noisy - so sorry.
We had plans to meet a bunch of friends for brunch so we weren't too concerned about the noise. After we got back from brunch the pounding started up really loud again. I said to Gary- geez I feel like I'm in one of those magic finger beds from the 60's!!!
Gary says - did you know a distant relative of mine was the inventor of magic fingers. No way....you're joking!! Well no he wasn't joking! He 'googles' it and sure enough a Mr. John Houghtaling's name comes up as the inventor!
Tinkering in the basement of his New Jersey home, Houghtaling invented the "Magic Fingers" machine in 1958. The device was mounted onto beds, and a quarter bought 15 minutes of "tingling relaxation and ease," according to its label. "Put in a quarter, turn out the light, Magic Fingers makes ya feel all right," Jimmy Buffett sang in "This Hotel Room."
In a 1963 New York Times profile, Houghtaling said he was selling beds with a built-in vibrating mechanism when he realized during a repair job it would be much cheaper to create something that would attach to the outside of an existing bed.
"After ripping away the frills, I found that it was the vibrator that counted, not the bed," he recalled. "Magic Fingers was born then and there."
He moved the company to Miami in 1968 and remained its president until he retired in the 1980s, when the rights to the device were sold. The current owners still sell the machines for home use. After he retired, Houghtaling continued to invent and sell coin-operated machines, such as scales and pulse-checking devices.
In its heyday, there were about 175 Magic Fingers franchise dealers across the country, and the gadgets collected about $6,000 to $7,000 a month in quarters.
By the late 1970s, the dealers complained they spent more money to repair the devices that thieves broke open. Houghtaling developed a debit card-like system for the machines to replace the coin slots, but the idea never took off. "He was trying to move it to a cashless mechanism so people wouldn't have any reason to break into them," his son said. "Unfortunately, it was kind of ahead of its time."
History from CBS News
Picture courtesy of Airbnb.com
So there you go - a little Weird Magic Fingers History for all of you that remember those fun beds and for all of you who have no idea of what I'm talking about!And for those of you that know I live with an engingeer who's always dreaming up new stuff it's clear it's simply in his genes!
Weird Sunday - Remember Magic Finger Beds?
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
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