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Log In / Register | May 23, 2018

Remember the Magic Fingers Vibrating Bed?

I just read that inventor John Houghtaling died at age 92 in Ft. Pierce, Florida.  Back in 1958, he developed a motor-driven mechanical vibrator attached to the box spring and a coin meter.  Operation was simple.  Hotel guests would drop a quarter into the meter and the mattress vibrated for fifteen minutes.  During the 1960s and 70s the Magic Fingers device was installed on millions of beds in roadside motels and hotels across the United States.  A promotional label on the device said “Magic Fingers quickly carries you into the land of tingling relaxation and ease.”  By the 1980s Magic Fingers became less popular with hotel owners especially when guests broke into the meter boxes and stole the quarters.

Quote to remember: “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty.  When the loyal opposition dies, I think that the soul of America dies with it.” - Edward R. Murrow

About the author: Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC operates his hotel consulting office as a sole practitioner specializing in franchising issues, asset management and litigation support services.  Turkel’s clients are hotel owners and franchisees, investors and lending institutions.  Turkel serves on the Board of Advisors and lectures at the NYU Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management.  He is a member of the prestigious International Society of Hospitality Consultants.  His provocative articles on various hotels subjects have been published in the Cornell Quarterly, Lodging Hospitality, Hotel Interactive, Hotel-Online, Blue MauMau, Hotel Resource News, etc.  Don’t hesitate to call 917-628-8549 or email

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About Stanley Turkel

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Stanley Turkel, CMHS is a New York-based hotel consultant specializing in hotel-related expert witness and franchising services. He was designated as the 2015 and 2014 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, an official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. To order his books, Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry; Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York; Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi; Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi; and Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt and Oscar of the Waldorf, go to and click on "books."

Turkel can be reached at or (917) 628-8549.