Erectile dysfunction is a natural condition that many people have and can be treated as simple a manner as ordering sildenafil online and taking as needed and as directed.

There was a time, however, when erectile dysfunction was seen as incurable, and so men would go to great lengths, such as eating roasted wolf penis or wearing rooster talismans on their bodies to try and help improve their fertility.

In some cases, this was a matter of pride, but in others, it was a matter of law. In Pre-Revolutionary France in the 17th Century, impotence was seen as legal grounds for a divorce, and even potentially a crime against the church.

However, whilst surgical implants to help people with amputated genitalia as far back as Dr NA Borgus in 1936, the first ED treatment that was medically approved would not be invented until 1974 and not approved until 1982, by which point it became clear that ED was in fact very treatable.

The Vacuum Erection Device

The first treatment for treating ED outside of surgical intervention or prosthetics was the vacuum erection device, also known simply as the pump.

It was the result of a century of research into clinical applications of vacuum technology to help ED, started by Dr John King in 1874, and later converted into a surgical device by Dr Otto Lederer in 1917.

This device, which comprised a plastic cylinder, a vacuum pump and a constriction ring to maintain the erection, would form the basis of all VEDs to follow.

It worked by using negative pressure, which increased blood flow to the penis, before constricting it to maintain this effect, although overpressure or constricting the penis for over half an hour could cause tissue damage and exacerbate ED conditions.

However, despite its efficacy, the device was criticised and even seen as pornographic until a car dealer from South Carolina decided to defy his doctor’s advice.

Geddings Osbon

Interestingly, whilst Geddings Osbon is credited with creating what would later become the modern penis pump, the genesis of the idea came from defying medical advice.

Mr Osbon owned a small business by the name of Osbon Tire in Augusta, Georgia, and whilst he had six children and a successful business, he had lost the intimate relationship he had with his wife and in 1960 was told by his doctor to simply reminisce about the good times.

He was not happy with this and decided to experiment with a device inspired by a vacuum procedure used to replace the tread on worn tyres.

Fourteen years later he had created what he called the Youth Equivalent Device, which was marketed as a marital aid, helping to build support for a device once seen as obscene.

From 1976 until 1982 there was a battle between Mr Osbon and the FDA over whether the product was safe or actually worked, and it took a Birmingham Alabama doctor by the name of Henry Hudson to endorse the pump.

As he was previously the head of the American Urologist Association, he had a lot of respect from colleagues, which opened the door for the device as a marital aid.

Finally, in 1982, the device received medical approval, and along with Dr Giles Brindley’s infamous demonstration of ED medication in 1983, became the primary way to treat ED until the launch of Viagra in 1998.