In a world filled with curious inventions and unexpected cultural phenomena, few objects have garnered as much intrigue as blow up dolls. Often associated with humor and adult entertainment, these inflatable companions have a rich history that stretches back to the early 20th century. From their inception, blow up dolls have taken on a life of their own, evolving in design, materials, and societal roles.
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Who Invented Blow Up Dolls?
The inventor of the blow up doll is a huge mystery. It wasn’t Adolf Hitler trying to prevent soldiers from contracting syphilis. Instead, inflatable sex dolls came to be in 19th-century France on the heels of the Rubber Boom.
When introduced globally, the sex doll wasn’t attributed to a single inventor, probably because it was such a scandal. Tacking your name onto something so taboo for the time was a massive risk that no one was willing to take. So, whoever invented the blow up sex doll is unknown. Despite this, the blow up doll was advertised in French rubber goods catalogs as if it were any other commodity.
Did Adolf Hitler Invent Blow Up Dolls?
No, Adolf Hitler did not invent blow up dolls. A jaw-dropping rumor spread like wildfire in 2020 when some netizens came across a blog post circa 2016 that implied Adolf Hitler may have invented the blow up doll. Fortunately, it just isn’t true.
READ MORE: Adolph Hitler: The Beer Hall Putsch
The rumor surrounded a supposed “Borghild Project” that kicked off in 1940 when Heinrich Himmler wrote to Germany’s dictator. The notorious Reichsführer-SS was reportedly concerned about Nazi soldiers contracting STDs during the war. So, Adolf Hitler decided Nazi sex dolls were the answer to Himmler’s woes. Cue the supposed popularity of inflatable sex dolls with German soldiers during World War II.
Now, the wrench in the machine here is that there is no evidence of Adolf Hitler “inventing” blow up dolls. Especially blow up dolls for standard use on the front. Not only would Allied soldiers definitely note if German soldiers had, of all things, Nazi sex dolls as a standard issued item, but we’d have some written evidence. The German Hygiene Museum also has no evidence regarding the blow up doll being used during WWII by German soldiers.
When Were Blow Up Dolls Invented?
Pinpointing exactly when the blow up doll was invented is tricky. It isn’t easy to find such information. Now, all things considered, we know blow up dolls got their foot in the commercial door in France sometime in the late 19th century. They were advertised as “rubber women” and, well, they weren’t the most popular thing ever.
Again, we don’t know who invented the first blow up dolls, save they were likely from France. While we’re comfortable stating the inflatable sex doll was born in the 19th-century, some rumors do revolve around 16th and 17th-century sailors who created…companions for their lonesome months at sea. Though never confirmed, American professor Bo Ruberg does explore the concept in Sex Dolls at Sea and is left with a complicated history entangled with issues surrounding gender, sexuality, and life under colonial rule.
The early 1900s were a time of rapid industrialization and urbanization, particularly in the United States. This period witnessed the rise of consumer culture, with people seeking new and innovative products to meet their ever-evolving needs and desires. The shift from agrarian to industrial economies meant that more individuals lived in urban areas, leading to changes in social dynamics and leisure activities.
While one’s sex life was (and is), of course, a discreet matter, economic prosperity and the rise of consumer culture allowed the blow up doll to have a chance on the world stage. As privately as possible, that is.
What Were the First Blow Up Dolls Made Of?
The early blow up dolls were typically made from rubber or latex materials. Some early erotic literature suggests the sex doll could be crafted out of leather, cloth, or (in desperate cases) spare clothes. Rubber became the material of choice by the late 19th and early 20th century, given its availability after European colonization of the Amazon Basin led to the commercialization of rubber. These early designs focused on replicating the human form as accurately as possible, as easily as possible, because they weren’t a super mainstream commodity.
It wasn’t until the late 19th century that the sex toy became commercial, being sold in French rubber goods catalogs as femmes en caoutchouc, or “rubber women.” The predecessor of the later silicone doll was immediately seen as taboo and, because of its limited marketability, was exorbitantly expensive during its time.
Evolution of Blow Up Dolls
How blow up dolls have evolved over time in terms of materials and design is a fascinating journey that mirrors broader technological and societal changes. While their origins were rooted in practicality, the evolution of these inflatable companions took several unexpected turns.
Over the decades, the materials used to construct blow up dolls underwent significant changes. Early versions were primarily made from rubber or latex, chosen for their durability and ability to withstand inflation and deflation; they were, in all regards, made for discretion. However, as technology advanced and new materials became available, blow up dolls evolved accordingly.
One notable shift occurred when plastics, particularly PVC (polyvinyl chloride), became the material of choice for manufacturing blow up dolls. PVC offered several advantages, including lower production costs, increased flexibility in design, and improved resistance to wear and tear. These advancements allowed manufacturers to create more lifelike and aesthetically appealing blow up dolls.
Designs also evolved to become more realistic. Eventually, the demand for more detailed and lifelike features grew. This led to the development of blow up dolls with intricate facial features, hair, and anatomical accuracy. Alternatively, there has been a demand boom for dolls with inaccurate or even “alien” anatomy.
The Impact of Technology
The evolution of blow up dolls has been closely tied to technological advancements. As manufacturing techniques improved, manufacturers were able to produce more sophisticated and realistic dolls. The use of air pumps, valves, and sealing technologies also enhanced the durability and ease of use of these inflatable companions.
Furthermore, the internet and e-commerce revolutionized the distribution and accessibility of blow up dolls. With the rise of online shopping, these products became readily available to a global audience, further expanding their reach and impact while allowing for anonymity.
READ MORE: Internet Business: A History
Controversies and Cultural Perceptions
As blow up dolls evolved and diversified in their uses, they also became entangled in a web of controversies and varying cultural perceptions. The transition from a basic inflatable latex companion to a somewhat advanced adult novelty had far-reaching implications that have sparked international debates.
What Controversies Surround Blow Up Dolls?
The use of blow up dolls in the adult entertainment industry has been a constant source of controversy and debate. And, well, it is no real wonder why. Critics argue that these dolls objectify and dehumanize women, or in some scenarios, sexualize minors. It is claimed that they reinforce harmful stereotypes and contribute to the commodification of sexuality. On the other hand, proponents defend them as harmless forms of adult amusement and nothing more.
Moreover, the controversies surrounding blow up dolls extend beyond their portrayal in adult films and magazines. Issues related to privacy, consent, and societal norms have arisen, with discussions about the boundaries between fantasy and reality. The development of the modern sex doll has much more to do with this blurred line between fantasy and reality, with many sex dolls having become “customizable” or “personalized.”
Sex Dolls in the Adult Entertainment Industry
Blow up dolls play a significant role in the adult entertainment industry, both as physical props and as subjects of various forms of media. They are sometimes featured in adult films and magazines as substitutes for human actors. Their use in this context is polarizing, with some consumers finding it titillating while others deem it disturbing. More than in an uncanny valley sort of way, too.
In recent years, advancements in technology have given rise to highly realistic and sophisticated sex dolls, often made of silicone or TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) instead of inflated plastic. These newer sex dolls are intended to provide a more “realistic” and immersive experience for users, thus raising further questions about the ethical and societal implications of their use. For example, as of 2017, the sex doll was given the ability to speak, with further advancements making way for a new sex toy: sex robots.
Generally, societal attitudes towards blow up dolls vary widely, reflecting cultural differences and changing norms. In some cultures, these inflatable companions are considered taboo, while in others, they are accepted as a form of entertainment or even art. Select countries have banned the use of inflatable sex dolls, primarily those that resemble minors.
As societal norms shift and discussions around sexuality and consent evolve, so do attitudes towards these inflatable figures. It is crucial to recognize that opinions on blow up dolls are far from unanimous, and they continue to be a topic of ongoing debate and discussion. With technological advancements, one can imagine opinions only becoming more divisive.
The Inflatable Sex Doll in the Modern Age
The invention, evolution, and cultural perceptions of blow up dolls have led them on a fascinating journey through history. From their mysterious origins as dame de voyage to their controversial public role in the adult entertainment industry, these inflatable companions continue to intrigue, wonder, and provoke debate. Their enduring presence in popular culture serves as a reminder of the complexities surrounding human desires, societal norms, and technological advancements. Whether seen as symbols of taboo or amusement, blow up dolls remain a unique aspect of our ever-evolving society.