The joy buzzer was invented in 1928 by Soren Sorensen Adams of the S.S. Adams Co. It was modeled after another product, The Zapper, which was similar to the joy buzzer, but did not have a very effective buzz and contained a button that had a blunt point which would hurt the person whose hand was shaken.
Adams brought a rather large prototype of his newly designed buzzer to Dresden, Germany, where a machinist created the tools that would make the parts for a new palm size Joy Buzzer. In 1932, the item received U.S. Patent 1,845,735 from the U.S. Patent Office. The instant success of the new item allowed Adams to move to a new building and increase the size of his company. Adams continued to send royalty payments to the tool and die maker until 1934, when the payments were returned.
In 1987, Sam Adams son, Joseph "Bud" Adams, redesigned the mechanism for great durability and a louder buzz, and marketed it as the Super Joy Buzzer.
A common misconception is that the joy buzzer actually delivers an electric shock, and many stylized villains in fiction (e.g. Batman's nemesis The Joker) employ "lethally powerful" joy buzzers as weapons. Another example is in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Pranks a Lot" wherein Patrick Star's hand is electrocuted by a joy buzzer, and in The Simpsons episode "Homie the Clown", where Homer Simpson is shocked with it multiple times by Krusty the Clown to the point where he is tortured by it. However, a shocking pen does generate a mild electric shock when a victim presses the button on top; the pen can be turned to make it release the point.
hand-buzzer as a Weapon
Some Evil Clown uses the hand-buzzer as a weapon to hurt or kill people.
- The Joker - The Joker has often used joy buzzers amongst his other weapons. Unlike a real-life joy buzzer, which merely creates a vibration that feels like an electric shock, the ones utilized by The Joker contain actual electricity, and are often used to electrocute unsuspecting opponents.
- Zombozo - in "Hit 'Em Where They Live", He used his hand-buzzer on Gwen which causes her to lose consciousness.
- Krusty - In "Homie the Clown", Krusty uses the electric hand-buzzer to trick his graduating students to congratulate them from his Clown College.