In the great Latin poem “The Metamorphosis” by the Roman poet Ovid, one of the stories told is of a man named Pygmalion, a sculptor of some renown. After carving a statue of a beautiful woman from ivory, it is said that Pygmalion fell hopelessly in love with it, and declared himself  “not interested in woman”, only interested in his beautiful and realistic creation. After praying to the goddess of love, Aphrodite, the object of his desire was bought to life and Pygmalion married the former statue and lived happily ever after. But, perhaps the more interesting part of this story for us, it is also said that Pygmalion was intimate with this statue before the intervention of the goddess, making this the earliest recorded story of a sex doll in ancient history.
It is during the 15th century we find our first historically recorded use of what we could call the precursor to sex dolls. Dame de Voyage in French, or Dame De Vinje in Spanish, were essentially bundles of rags made to resemble a woman, used by lonely men at sea as the Europeans expanded across the known world. Indeed, to this day, sex dolls in Japan are sometimes known as Dutch wives, harking back to when the first European traders made it to the Far East, rag bundle women in toe.

With the advent of vulcanized rubber, by the turn of the 20th century these primitive sex dolls were getting more and more advanced, and it would seem that the Europeans were once again at the forefront of this sexual revolution with many of the earliest literary references made in French texts. In “Les Detraquees de Paris” by Rene Schwaeble, published in 1904, the author supposedly meets a Dr. P who shows him several lifelike inflatable sex dolls that could even be heated a little to replicate body temperatures. These dolls allegedly had a price tag of about 3000 francs, or around $15,000 US dollars in today’s currency.

In more recent years an interesting story relating to Nazi Germany has been circulating. Concerned by the number of soldiers catching syphilis from French prostitutes, SS leader Heinrich Himmler was said to have commissioned the “Borghild Field-Hygiene Project,” a quest to create an acceptable substitute to the Parisian whores. Sadly this tale has been firmly debunked, and in fact we have to move forward to around 1968 to find the first time sex dolls are advertised in porn magazines in the USA. Of the blow-up variety, these early modern day dolls were often poorly made, and not build for the rigors of regular sexual intercourse. These very quickly took on a life as a joke gift; the image that many people still associate with sex dolls of a rubber faced caricature with an unnaturally elongated mouth stems from this era of sex doll and many people do not realize how far the industry has moved on from since then.

In the late 1990s artist Matt McMullen created the first anatomically correct sex doll. Named Leah, she was at the forefront of a new wave of sex dolls that are able to mimic the look and feel of a real woman. In the years that have passed since then this process has been refined and improved upon countless times. If you want to see some of this progress just take a look at our catalogue, from using new materials and production processes and a heightened level of artistic design, modern day sex dolls are a wonder of modern science, and for the first time in history Pygmalion’s desire for his sculptured woman is something that I think we can all understand.