Backscratcher History - From Old Wood and Bones to Stainless Steel

Back scratchers were first invented by early primates and certain species of animals, like apes, who used tree branches to reach an itch. Primitive man very likely mimicked the behavior, thus creating the original concept of the back scratcher.

Throughout history backscratchers have appeared in many civilizations around the world. Chinese Emperor Yang of the Sui Dynasty owned a jade back scratcher. This was over 2500 years ago. The modern Chinese back scratcher of wood, bone, or ivory is a plain stick with a hand on the end. It is a good example of tool patterned after a bodily organ. The Eskimo make use of a back-scratcher called kumakssium – a long, slightly curved piece of bone carved like a piece of bamboo with a piece of bear fur on the end. Courtiers in Europe who wore powdered wigs and elaborate costumes apparently resorted to decorative back scratchers to do their back scratching in as subtle and dignified a manner as was possible given the circumstances.

In the past, backscratchers were often elaborately decorated and hung from the waist as a fashion statement. Now most backscratchers exist as a practical device to satisfy their owners' itches. Some can be quite unusual, such as replica zombie hands; bat, bird, and other animal claws; as well as rakes and other variations on a hand with fingernails.

1940s Rake Back ScratcherVintage 1940s Rake Backscratcher

Today, back scratchers are made of both old and modern materials. Wood, bone, horn, claws, brass, stainless steel, metal, plastic and multiple combinations of these materials are used to create products ranging from both mass-produced trade show swag to individual artisanal hand crafted back scratchers. 

Just being a modern stainless steel back scratcher does not make it unique or really great for back scratching. The best back scratchers combine form and function that is both unique and timeless. Some creative people use new toilet bowl brushes, and others swear by pasta rakes. ItchThatBitch back scratchers are handmade from stainless steel and decorative noble metals. ItchThatBitch back scratchers are not just cookie cutter stamped trade show handouts, but unique serial numbered heirloom products your back will treasure forever. These backscratchers will continue to make their own history. See how I make them on YouTube.


  • Ahmed Olaleye

    Which machine does make back scratcher

  • Nate


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published