Suction Cup History

Here at The Suction Cup Museum, we look at things a little differently.

Like almost everybody these days, we agree that life sucks. But we think that’s a GOOD thing!

Did you know that since practically the beginning of time, things that suck have been making life better? In fact, as long ago as the fourth century B.C., the suction cup was more important to the practice of medicine than the stethoscope is today.  Suction cups made out of gourds were attached to the skin and supposedly drew bad blood away from diseased organs to the surface of the body. The procedure, believed to have been invented by Hippocrates, the first medical doctor, was called “cupping”. An alternative to bloodletting, it was used to cure a wide range of illnesses. I hear some people still swear by it today…hey, it sure beats going under the knife!

Of course, the practice of cupping, which raised a cup-shaped bump on the skin, gave rise to all sorts of medical and cosmetic possibilities! Back in 1889, inventor J. W. Greene patented a new bosom form, which, using suction cups, increased the size of the bust. Visit our Patents Page for a picture of this product, which is the precursor of an item we’re sure we’ve seen on late-night TV! (While you’re there, be sure to take a look at other early and unusual inventions using suction cups.)

And, keeping in the same general direction, there’s that mother-loving invention…the breast pump. With this suction-cup based device, breast-feeding mommies can efficiently extract milk from their breasts, leave Dad home to feed the baby…and emerge into the outside world for an hour or two!

So, okay, you’re saying, you’ve sold me on ‘em: suction cups can save lives, create beauty and preserve family happiness.  But how do they work? Click on Suction Science to find out!