Every Woman Agrees That They’re the Greatest Invention of All time.
It’s a massive leap for womenkind. Never mind walking on the moon.
Can you imagine pulling out the rag bag every month? Then washing them? By hand?
Neither can I!
When I hear about the great inventions of mankind, I am struck by the absence of the greatest invention of all time: the tampon. But there’s the “m” word again.
The wheel, the telephone, electricity, the computer, the internet, and even the invention of written language cannot hold a candle to this. Only a woman would understand.
Back in the day, it was chamber pots and rags. Indoor plumbing, which came into existence around 1829, was found only in the homes of the wealthy.
And the further back you go in time, the worse it was.
In the early 1700s, most women used rags, similar to nappies for their babies, like pads. This example is most likely where the lovely term “on the rag” originated. Women made homemade tampons from lint, moss, animal skins and grass wrapped around small pieces of wood: hardly high absorbent or sanitary, but clever none-the-less.
Women who traveled would stuff reusable cheesecloth sacks with flattened cotton, which they would throw away after use. New cotton was then reinserted into the cheesecloth and voila! A new pad.
In the 1850s, women celebrated the advent of rubber aprons worn over the skin of your butt between your bloomers and skirt to prevent leaks. Yuk! Cotton and flannel were also used.
Men don’t appreciate what we’ve been forced to endure over the millennia.
Johnson & Johnson invented “Lister Towel,” aka sanitary pad, in 1896. But oh the shame for a woman to admit she had her period by purchasing the product in public. Can you imagine asking a man to hand you the box? Alas, the first sanitary pads were a failure, a product ahead of its time.
Women were still using the rags and designated baby products in the early 1900s. And bloomers prevented staining, but were not made for absorption and therefore prone to leaks. But at least you didn’t embarrass yourself by asking for a box of pads.
In 1920, French nurses in World War I discovered that curad bandages were more absorbent than homemade menstrual rags. Thus Curads by Kotex was marketed along with a re-usable sanitary belt. The product, which cost a whopping five cents, was sold to wealthy women. Store owners placed a money box next to the products, thus allowing self-service and eliminating any embarrassment for their customers.
Too bad Johnson & Johnson didn’t have this marketing solution in 1896.
In 1929, God came out of the clouds.
Dr. Earle Hass invented the first commercial applicator tampon with a cord. His product hit the market in 1936. Funny how we don’t know the names of any of those French nurses in World War I.
In 1933, Gertrude Tendrich bought the patent and Tampax Tampons were advertised for married women, only.
Yes, you guessed it: there was a chance a woman could lose her virginity to a tampon. Can you imagine having to admit that your first sexual experience was with a tampon? Interestingly, women first used them for the treatment of prolapsed uteruses. They sold for 15 cents apiece or 45 cents for a package of 10.
By the 1950s, the refined tampon was popular. A company by the name of Pursettes made them sans applicators and marketed them.
Science and technology continued to play a part in the refinement of feminine hygiene products. With the discovery of new, materials, the next product in the evolution of feminine hygiene was the extra-absorbent tampon. But it came with a risk: Toxic Shock Syndrome. Thus, the Rely tampon was taken off the market.
TSS and high absorbency tampons are not a thing of the past, and women need to watch for the warning signs.
In 1972, New Freedom, a competitor of Stayfree, introduced a pad that allowed freedom of movement., i.e., bodily autonomy.
In the 1980s, feminine products were marketed for active women.
And today, there’s even a way not to have your period at all.
So in light of the history of feminine products and no matter what anyone says, my vote for the greatest invention of all time is still the tampon.
No rubber aprons, cotton bandages, or belts of any kind, just little tampons you can tuck away and carry with you.
Drugs for the cramps.
And a #Metoo attitude for the mood swings.