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John Houghtaling
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    (November 14, 1916-June 17, 2009)
    Born in Kansas City, Missouri
    Pronounced 'HUFF-tay-ling'
    Entrepreneur and inventor of the Magic Fingers Vibrating Bed
    250,000 Magic Fingers units in use in the U.S. and Europe at the peak of popularity
    Over one million Magic Fingers units installed by 1979
    Sold the rights to Magic Fingers and retired in the 1980s
    Died of a stroke after falling and hitting his head in Ft. Pierce, FL at age 92
    He divorced his first wife and mother of his five kids.
    Before his breakthrough invention, he held jobs as a hotel bellman, cookware salesman and salesman of remote-control lawnmowers.
    In a 1963 review, the New York Times quoted, 'While the vibrators offer a pleasing sensation similar to weightlessness, no special medical or therapeutic value is claimed.'
    Though he patented a device in 1976 that could read magnetic strips from cards, he used it for Magic Fingers debit cards rather than more practical applications that would have made him richer.
    By the end of the 1970s, Magic Fingers popularity waned as they were more associated with sleazy hotels, and theft of money from the coin boxes became more commonplace.
    He was a gunnery instructor in the U.S. Army during World War II and flew 20 missions on B-17 bombers with the 452d Bombardment Squadron.
    He invented the motor used for his Magic Fingers in the basement of his home after over 300 test motor failures.
    Through its history, the Magic Fingers price never changed - 25 cents for 15 minutes of vibrating.
    At its peak, Magic Fingers was pulling in $2 million a month, turning him into a self-made millionaire.
    He made life a little more pleasant for millions of weary travelers and horny couples.
    Jimmy Buffett's 'This Hotel Room' carries the vesre 'Put in a quarter, Turn out the light, Magic Fingers makes you feel all right.'
    His device was a focal point in an episode of The X-Files and used for comedy in the 1987 Steve Martin movie 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles.'

Credit: Scar Tactics

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