The gadget that dare not speak its name

I’m familiar with a certain company for their manufacture of electron microscopes and spectrophotometers, and there they proudly slap their name on their products. But strangely, they don’t attach their name to their most widely used, most popular, mass market product. Can you guess what it is?

I notice that the page for the Original Magic Wand knows exactly what it’s used for, even if they do use euphemisms.

Since the 1970s, millions of women of all ages have found that while the Magic Wand® massager works great for running up and down a sore back, it is also an amazing tool as an intimate massager. Despite its everyday appearance, which can be an advantage, and lack of bunny ears, this is the market-leading massager lovingly referred to as the Cadillac of vibrators! It is so powerful, in fact, that the low setting is enough for most people, and many women recommend using it with a comforter or towel between them and the Magic Wand massager.

Interestingly, though, they also explicitly separate the product from the name Hitachi. I can’t understand why — there’s no confusion. Their electron microscopes don’t vibrate at all.


  1. Matrim says

    Yeah, Hitachi has long had a love/hate relationship with their magic wand.

    Incidentally, it’s a great product for both men and women. Five stars.

  2. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Oh, I suppose that it is even mentioned at porn web sites displaying female orgasms?
    *only 1.34 million hits on Google*

  3. HolyPinkUnicorn says

    Ah yes, the “Personal Massager” so popular that even Walmart lists it for sale on their website (and it’s a best seller there, too!).

  4. Michael Phillips says

    Um, that is weird. I bought mine within the last 4 years and it has the Hitachi name right under Magic Wand. I’ve even blogged about the cultural difference between Japan and the US using that same issue.

  5. Lonely Panda, e.s.l. says

    Despite its everyday appearance, which can be an advantage, and lack of bunny ears, this is the market-leading massager lovingly referred to as the Cadillac of vibrators!

    So do their electron microscopes include bunny ears? I’m asking for a friend.

  6. says

    I am a bit surprised they are jettisoning the Hitachi name. I’ve never heard a friend call this their “Magic Wand”, they just refer to it as their Hitachi and I imagine they will continue to do so.

  7. says

    In fact I just popped onto Fetlife and there was a photo of a friend’s Hitachi’s in a box and there were 4-5 comments calling it a Hitachi, not a single person used the word wand.

  8. Steve Caldwell says

    Hitachi’s response is way more sexuality-positive than the Wahl corporation’s instructions they included with their vibrators:

    Officially, according to Wahl (and if you talk to our lawyer, this is what you heard from us), it’s not supposed to be used on the genitals — it even says so in the manual (at least it did, in the manual we got with ours a few years ago). Unofficially, well, women have been using it on their happy place for years, and responsible stores like continue to stock it, so we feel pretty good about turning a blind eye. Carol Queen, Goodvibe’s staff sexologist, told us a while back: “The Wahl Clipper corporation once had a Catholic priest on their board of directors, and the ‘genitals’ language is a sop to him. The company knows damn good and well what we sell these vibrators for, and they seem perfectly happy to continue to supply us.” Then again, Wahl told the ladies at that some people have reported injuries after using their massager downtown, so proceed at your own risk.

    Source —

  9. fullyladenswallow says

    When I worked in the electronics manufacturing industry, we operated “pick-and-place” machines that placed small electronic components onto circuit boards with the help of sub-mechanical devices known as “feeders”. The feeder’s job was to supply a specific part (or series of parts) for the machine to place on the circuit board. There we two types of feeders used- “reel” and “vibratory”. It is ever-clearer to me now why management insisted on using the term, “vibratory” or “vibe” since Hitachi is also a manufacturer of circuit board-build equipment. The thought of seeing a line of vibrators working away could be a bit unnerving.

  10. chigau (違う) says

    Some of the *shapes* of the attachments didn’t fit any of my body-parts.

  11. says

    In the spirit of pure research I just looked at (actually, it seemed appropriate) and the name Hitachi is all over that product there.

  12. says

    Remember the old days, when every other day, PZ brought us a new internet poll to pharyngulate?
    Well, here’s a current one:
    It’s Swiss/German language. The survey question is: Should parents leave the choic of religion to their kids, or should they decide their kids’s religion for them?
    Answers: 1. Parents should leave the decision of religion (or atheism) to their children. Therefore, no baptism*.
    2. It’s legitimate for parents to baptise children and promote their faith to a degree. The children can make their own choice later and decide to rescind church membership* or switch religions.
    3. Every child should certainly assume their parents’s religion and pass it on later themselves.

    *in many countries, children are automatically registered as religious and as church members when they’re baptised. Some countries later collect church tax based on this registration, as well as publishing demographic data about alleged religious adherence. Rescinding church membership often costs a fee at the district citizen’s office.

  13. MHiggo says

    @Rene #9

    Erhm. This is a serious question, folks. Can I bring one safely into Indonesia?

    Odds are you should be OK. If you’re flying into Jakarta, the level of attentiveness from customs agents varies wildly. Just make sure the batteries are in good order and you’re ready to show it’s for use on your poor, aching back. It would also be wise to keep on hand some cash (USD, if possible) you can discreetly slip someone if you encounter a particularly pious agent. You never know when they’ll suddenly find themselves low on “cigarette money”.

  14. Athywren says

    Their electron microscopes don’t vibrate at all.

    So… this is how I find out I’ve been using it wrong? Nobody told me!!

  15. ledasmom says

    Did not click through; first thought was, “Must be the Hitachi Magic Wand.” Read intro to husband. Husband said, “Vibrator?”
    Bothers me rather that we both instantly knew that, if a company was trying to disassociate itself from a product, that product must have to do with safe sex.

  16. scienceavenger says

    @24 Ditto, knew exactly what it was, and it saddens me a bit. Maybe they should start calling it a gun, then everyone will be OK with it.

  17. drst says

    chigau @ 16

    Yeah, when I saw the shapes of those attachments the first time I was thinking “What the hell…?”

  18. The Mellow Monkey says

    MHiggo @ 21

    If you’re flying into Jakarta, the level of attentiveness from customs agents varies wildly. Just make sure the batteries are in good order and you’re ready to show it’s for use on your poor, aching back.

    The Hitachi Magic Wand doesn’t use batteries, so there’s no chance for an impromptu demonstration like that unless they provide you with an appropriate outlet. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a truly powerful wand vibe that took batteries.

    Also, I discovered that in an older house with a shitty electric system it could actually cause my lights on that circuit to dim slightly when I first turned it on. That was entertaining and made me very concerned about how obvious my activities were to my roommates. What a fun conversation that would be.

    “TMM! Stop masturbating so much. We’re trying to watch Grey’s Anatomy.”

  19. LicoriceAllsort says

    A couple of people up yonder commented along the lines of

    it’s a great product for men, too.

    Does anyone care to elaborate on this a bit more? Like, which guy parts? I’m (actually) asking for a friend.

  20. The Mellow Monkey says

    LicoriceAllsort @ 29

    Like, which guy parts?

    Any guy parts they like!

    My partner is a trans man and enjoys it just fine, used in pretty much the same way a cis woman might. Some people with penises enjoy using it with stroking movements, by using the wand to stimulate the head and shaft of their penis as one would use it to stimulate the clitoris and labia. There are also attachments designed for use with penises [NSFW link to sex toys], or for stimulating the prostate. It can stimulate nipples, necks, the backs of knees, toes*, pretty much anywhere a person could enjoy intimate touches.

    *May induce squealing, kicking, and melting, depending on how badly a foot massage was needed.

  21. LicoriceAllsort says

    Thanks for the explanation, The Mellow Monkey. Apologies for assuming here that “men” only referred to cis men—I should know better! I had meant to ask about people [of any gender] who had penises. Thanks again.

  22. otrame says

    My granddaughter (who is 18) just bought her first vibrator. She asked me to let her mail it to me because she is afraid her dad would be upset. I told her I doubted it, but I let her have them send it to me. She seems pleased.

    As for me, I actually need a good massager for my back and hips. It stays on my bed all the time. What that thing gets up to when no one else is around is my business.

  23. says

    Massaging your scalp and behind your ears feels pretty awesome, too!! (Though a vintage Oster is better than a wand for scalp massage)
    So much pleasure from something so simple!! It should not be stigmatized! A friend of mine refers to it as “oxytocin level adjustment”

  24. says

    They are, as noted above, really good for back massage too. I have a much more powerful back massager that I use, with optionally heated pads, but it gives a pounding concussion that I would not associate with my soft bits. Excellent for big strong back muscles, not so much for sensitive mucosa. And since the Hitachi is so wonderfully effective in that regard, no need for the unpleasant experiment.

    That’s what my friend told me, anyway.

  25. robertfoster says

    Ladies, be happy that this wicked device wasn’t in existence about 1000 BCE. If it had been there’d likely be a prohibition in the Old Testament about not having sexual relations with a Hi-Ta-Chi-Ite. I’m sure it would be in Deuteronomy someplace. It might be a cautionary tale concerning a jealous husband and a younger wife and and the Holy Spirit taking the form of lightning in the bedroom. A sin truly worthy of stoning.

  26. says

    @caiticat – for gentle applications look at the old Oster units. They attach to the back of the hand and turn the fingers into the contact surface… It can be mind-meltingly delicious whether its intent is erotic or therapeutic. The osters more or less are always on ebay for about $20-$40 and pretty much never wear out.

  27. The Mellow Monkey says

    Marcus Ranum @ 35: For scalp massage, I’ve been pretty pleased with the Conair Touch ‘N’ Tone massager. It’s cheap, comes with attachments, and works nicely. The “nub” attachment is best for my temples, jaw joints, and around my ears during an earache or migraine. There have been times when it was the only thing that could make the pain bearable.

  28. says

    Mellow Monkey – i also get head-splitters from sinus and stress problems. Have you tried a hot beanbag? I made a bean-filled bag that i microwave and place over my eyes then work the buzzer on scalp and jaw. .. I consider a hot beanbag to be an essential accessory. Goes under neck, too!

    @caitiecat – i wouldn’t dream of it!! :)

  29. says

    I like screwing around with old power tools and for years have been buying “as is” osters and polishing and tightening them up, replacing carbon brushes, replacing power cords and plugs etc, then re-boxing them in cloth-covered boxes..

  30. drst says

    To my fellow sinus and congestion sufferers, I gotta say the old remedies have been the best: breathe steam. Boil some water, cover your head with a towel and breathe in the steam from the pot. No drugs, no mixing/rinsing/Neti pot stuff needed. Also you get to chill out under a nice dark tent for 20 minutes and just breathe. (For some reason it makes my feet warm too. Not sure exactly how that mechanism works but it does.)

  31. says

    Literally the very first gift I even bought my then-girlfriend was a Hitachi Magic Wand. Six years later, we’re married now. It’s literally always been right by the bed, to this day. Still works perfectly, every time.

  32. markkernes says

    The “novelty specialist” here at AVN told me Hitachi only dropped its name from the Magic Wand two months ago—and that it’s the preferred vibrator of just about every female porn star.

  33. MHiggo says

    Rene @ 23 – My pleasure. I hope I didn’t make the process sound too scary; it really isn’t. It’s just that every so often customs agents can be peculiar. When I first arrived in Indonesia, I got pulled aside because an agent wanted to look through my CDs – all six of them – and make sure I wasn’t going to sell them. My binder of DVDs? Didn’t raise an eyebrow.

    The Mellow Monkey @ 27

    The Hitachi Magic Wand doesn’t use batteries, so there’s no chance for an impromptu demonstration like that unless they provide you with an appropriate outlet. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a truly powerful wand vibe that took batteries.

    You have sussed me out, and I thank you for the correction. Personal massagers, like other sex toys, are not among my areas of expertise.

  34. lorn says

    If you are serious about rolling those Os and want a strong product that will last the Magic Wand is the way to go. The only thing that comes even close to the Hitachi Magic Wand in effectiveness is the Smith-Hitachi Godzilla Blaster, much loved by galactic gumshoes.

    drst @ #44:
    It is well accepted by medical science that an orgasm has am analgesic and decongestant effect. The effect doesn’t last long but it can get you over a rough spot.