I have a learned friend — let’s call him “Faustus” — who has a library to make any gentleman proud. He recently sent me an image from Agnes Girard’s Le Sexe Bizarre, with the following note:

Girard’s not-very-informative endnote describes it as “Deux images anciennes de mecano-erotisme, extraites de la revue Maniac, publiee par les editions Astarte. Anonyme – Maniac 5, (ed. Astarte)“, which I would somewhat loosely render “Two old images of sex machines, taken from the serial Maniac (no. 5) published by Astarte.” If you’re further interested, I can attempt a translation of the text in the images themselves.”

As it happens, I’ve seen these images before, in tiny, cropped, overcompressed, illegible .jpg files even worse than the small version below. I’ve never seen them as large and as glorious and as clear (relatively speaking) as the version you’ll see if you click this small one:

french fucking machines

Here are a couple of ruthlessly cropped details:

french fucking machines detail

fucking machines detail

Needless to say, I begged Faustus for his translation assistance, as I have no French beyond a bit of basic cognate recognition. His resulting translation, though not 100% complete, is far better than I would have managed, even with help from my robot friends at Google. Any readers with a better grasp of French, who can thus improve on these efforts, are invited to do so in the comments, but please be gentle; any offense against the noble French language we may have committed is entirely unintentional.

Faustus wrote back:

“The translation turned out to be more challenging than I anticipated, since it involved rather a lot of (1) the kind of French they don’t teach you in high school, (2) somewhat unfamiliar engineering terms and (3) slang, some of which may well be a century old. Some of the print was also small and involved some squinting. So while what I provide represents my best efforts, there are some uncertainties.”

His translation and notes follow:

TOP ILLUSTRATION:

There are really only three captions here. Two rows of dildos labeled “replacement pieces” and “used pieces.”

There is also a reservoir labeled “hot milk.”

BOTTOM ILLUSTRATION:

Main caption: “FUCKING MACHINE”

Second line: “Superior replacement for the hand of man.”

Sub-caption: “On request the apparatus can be delivered with a reinforced main part. Special model for spinsters with a lubricant injector and a progressive speculum. Super model for retired whores, with a lemon-juice bath (in this model the main part only comes in stallion size.)”

Marginal notes above shelf: “Extracts for perfuming the pneumatic mouth” and “Coatings for the main piece.”

The various dildos have labels as follows:

Schoolboy
Re-engaged s/officer [sorry, don't know what the joke is here]
Fiacre driver [A "fiacre" is a small horse-drawn cab.] (Small pendant sign below this empty slot says “in use”.)
Business traveler
“Dupanloup” — recommended [don't know what Dupanloup is]
Stallion / “superchois” [best choice?]

Various pieces of equipment are identified, including “emergency clamps,” an “enema pump,” a thermometer, a “pig-bristle swab,” a “butt sponge” and an “emergency corkscrew in case of the main bit breaking.” The bottles on the shelf above are mostly obscure to me, although one is “garlic oil” and another may be “potion for dyspepsia”.

The various parts of the machine, as best I can identify them from left to right: An “electro-brake,” a “hand crank for sliding the connecting rod,” a “sector for orienting the matrix” [unclear], a “main bit in rubber,” a “rotating tit-brusher with mackeral feathers,” [or, alternatively "pimp feathers"], a “dirty movie shower,” a “motor for the tit-brusher and dirty movie shower,” a “control panel with an indicator for the pressure of the fluid pump and thrust counter,” a “rheostat allowing the oscillation-rate of the main bit to be set between 1 and 15 times a second,” a “fluid resevoir (to the base of a dirty little greaser) capacity 40 liters,” a “fluid pump (stamped 20),” a “discharge valve.” There is also a lever labled “emergency brake.” Prudent.

There is a toolbox and a medical kit along the base of the device, as well as explanations that one part makes thins go back and forth, one drains off excess fluids, and one (adjustable) holds the user.

The text on the left side of the illustration reads: “Free demonstration in our store at the Grand Palais, household appliances section.”

There is a warning at the bottom: “Warning: To avoid chafing by the main bit, do not use it more than twenty times per piece.”

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