These 1917 Snoring Devices Are Torture!

Here at, we tend to be quite serious about snoring. And it’s no wonder: snoring IS serious (or it can be, depending upon the type and severity). Health problems, quality of living, and disturbing your sleepmate can all impact you and your happiness when snoring is an issue.

But nobody can be serious all the time. (Not even us!)

With that in mind, here’s a rather cringeworthy list of anti-snoring devices from the early 20th century. (See Popular Science for the original article.) The next time you feel like your CPAP seal is a bit off, keep in mind what people used to go through in the effort to snore no more.

Patented “Prodding Device”

Just the name of this tight-looking, pointy snore solution makes us wince.

The idea is actually not uncommon even today; many people use a tennis ball attached to the back by (somewhat more comfortable than these) straps so that when they roll over onto the back, they’re prodded to turn over into a less snore-inducing position.

However, today’s tennis ball solution doesn’t look like an old-fashioned jack.  We wouldn’t be surprised if this actually did the job, since you can’t snore while you’re screaming.

Ring and Tether

Why is this supposed to work? We’re not really sure. But it IS handy that this apparatus comes with a tether so that when you spit it out in the night in self-defense, it doesn’t get entirely lost. (Sorry.)

On a more practical note, mouth snoring guards are still used today, but they’re fitted to the user’s own teeth for comfort, and they don’t have any sticky things pointing upward and downward underneath the lips. You’re welcome.

What? You Mean You’re NOT Having a Ball?

Remember the prodding device above? This one is just the ball (similar to today’s home remedy of the tennis ball).

The difference between today’s remedy and this one is that the 1917 version comes with punishing-looking leather straps. It’s foolproof because you can’t get away from it. Handy!

Words Can’t Describe It

No…we mean they really can’t. Even the author of the original article stated (or understated?), “A technical description of the device is beyond the power of the writer.”

Apparently, something or other gets turned after the user plugs this little device in (kind of like a reverse The Matrix situation) to “completely silence” the user. Turned another way, it allows “a little musical (?) leeway.” Turn it the right way, George, turn it the right way! We don’t know what the wrong way will do to you. Perhaps the following…

Drastic Measures

Literally, this other type of valve is said by the article writer to “[suffocate the user] in the attempt” of using it incorrectly, whatever incorrectly actually is. George…leave this one entirely alone. Well, unless you’re insured.


For more chillingly fascinating early 20th century anti-snore choices, see the original reprint article, linked here.