'Magic Fingers Vibrating Bed' inventor dies

June 19, 2009 12:04:19 PM PDT
The inventor of the "Magic Fingers Vibrating Bed," a coin-operated fixture in American motel rooms in the 1960s and '70s, has died in Florida. John Joseph Houghtaling was 92. His son Paul says the inventor died Wednesday at his home in Fort Pierce.

Tinkering in the basement of his New Jersey home, Houghtaling invented the "Magic Fingers" machine in 1958. It caused beds to vibrate when a quarter was dropped in the device.

He moved the company to Miami in 1968 and remained its president until he retired in the 1980s.

The kitschy devices found their way into pop culture, celebrated in movies and music. Jimmy Buffet's honored it in the song "This Hotel Room": "Put in a quarter, turn out the light, Magic Fingers makes ya feel all right."

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