The Mother's Friend
The Mother's Friend is a fictional spanking machine presented in the book Quad's Odds by M. Quad, published in 1875 by R. D. S. Tyler & Company in Detroit, Michigan, USA. The book contains humourous stories and anecdotes.
In the chapter The Mother's Friend, the author claims to have invented and to be manufacturing with great success a spanking machine which he named "The Mother's Friend". Like its (equally fictional) ineffective predecessor "Gregory's Eureka Spanker", the machine was built "to lessen the labor of fathers and mothers in enforcing family discipline". But where the former machine was so mild it only tickled the children making them laugh, Quad's new machine is really delivering effective spankings, saving much time and energy for the disciplinarians. Writing this only three months after the machine's first trial, Quad claims to have orders from nearly all U.S. states and to be employing two saw-mills and 97 skilled mechanics to meet the high demand for The Mother's Friend. The remainder of the text are testimonials of enthusiastic customers.
The machine shown in the illustration by L. H . Crumb appears to be operated by a foot treadle, a pedal for converting reciprocating motion into rotating motion. A drive belt transfers the rotation to another axis about five feet from the floor. This upper axis has four paddles mounted in front of the machine, and a fly wheel at the rear of the machine to stabilize the rotation. Each of the paddles, presumably made of wood, has a hinged business end that smacks the spankee's bottom as it comes down, resulting in four paddle hits per rotation. The child to be spanked is laid over a round horizontal beam. No other support is visible in the illustation. The mother is shown holding the boy who is currently in the machine by one of his ankles (probably to reduce his kicking and keep him in place), while her other hand has a firm hold on another boy's arm, who is presumably going to be next.
Text and illustrations
The text and illustrations of The Mother's Friend are in the public domain and are reproduced here: