Hot History Facts and Hot Fiction

Monday, August 12, 2013

Reusuable Condoms?

When I heard there used to be such a thing as reusable condoms I couldn't believe it. That had to be a joke right? So being the good historian I am I did a little research. Sure enough it was true! Ick. Along the way I discovered more history about condoms than I even wanted to know!

Condom by Bell & Croyden around 1900 made from an animal membrane (Caecal) (Science Museum London) *Source: German Wikipedia de:Bild:Kondom um 1900.jpg by Stefan Kühn {{GFDL}}
The use of condoms has been traced back several thousand years. About 3,000 years ago, ancient Egyptians used linen sheaths to protect against disease. Around the 1700s condoms were made from animal intestines.

Condom manufacturing was revolutionised by the invention of rubber vulcanisation by Charles Goodyear (founder of the Goodyear tyre company) and Thomas Hancock in 1844. This made it possible to mass-produce rubber goods, including condoms, quickly and cheaply.

By the 1850s, sex education was introduced in public schools to inform students about sexually transmitted diseases and how they are spread. This new area of curriculum came in response to rising STDs rates in America. Although increased education was important, abstinence, however, was taught as the sole method for preventing disease, and the stigma for individuals with an STD remained so strong that many were refused treatment by hospitals.

At first, rubber condoms only covered the glans of the penis and therefore the patient needed a custom fitting from a doctor. Later, rubber condoms he fact that rubber condoms were made one-size-fits-all and covered the entire length of the penis. This made manufacturing easier and the condoms more user-friendly and reliable. The rubber condoms were reusable making them more economical in the long-term than skin condoms which had a lower individual price. A rubber condom in the 1860s cost about $1.00.

Needless to say, I'm thankful for modern day advancements since then!

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