How long have pads, tampons and products alike been around? And who invented them? Since the beginning of history, menstruating people have developed or acquired period products. Today we will introduce you to various period products through the ages and explain the background to the innovations.
From animal fur bandage to disposable product
Menstruators have always used anything that seemed suitable to stop the flow of blood. Some kind of sanitary napkin has actually been around since the 10th century. At that time, sanitary napkins made of animal skins or rags were first used. The ancient Egyptians used papyrus rolled up. Finally, in the 1890s, the first disposable sanitary napkins made by Johnson & Johnson appeared on the market in America. At that time, they were made from cotton pads wrapped in gauze and initially sold to obstetricians and midwives as part of their birthing equipment. At that time, efforts were made to avoid mentioning the actual purpose or even the terms “period” or “menstrual blood” in the product name. And so the first commercial sanitary napkin was called, rather unwieldily, “Lister’s Towel Sanitary for Ladies”.
From tampons made of wood fibers to o.b.
As early as ancient Greece, the first tampons were made from wood fibers wrapped in gauze bandages. Sounds uncomfortable? It certainly was! However, the “modern” tampon with a retrieval band was not invented until 1929 by the American osteopath Earle Haas. In 1931, Tampax finally received the patent for the first disposable tampon with applicator. The idea was finally brought to Germany in 1947 by the engineer Carl Hahn, who founded his own company and applied the technology of tobacco rolling, which he had previously become familiar with as head of a cigarette manufacturer in Bremen, to the production of absorbent cotton tampons. Hahn’s o.b. tampons were sold from 1950 onwards.
Menstrual cups: First fail, then hype
The first patented menstrual cup came from the USA. It was designed by the artist Leona Chalmers and initially made of rubber. Incidentally, Palmer’s patent appeared as early as 1937. The special feature: For the first time, a period product was invented that was reusable. At that time, however, the cup was not so well received; for most menstruators, the menstrual cup was simply too hard and uncomfortable, but also too close to the body. After all, periods were an even more taboo subject back then than they are today. In the 1950s, Chalmers sold her patent to the American company Tassette, Inc. Today, menstrual cups are available in latex, medical silicone or rubber. Nevertheless, it is only in recent years and thanks to its sustainability that the menstrual cup has experienced a real hype. Nowadays, it is impossible to imagine the menstrual landscape without it.
Period underwear – from playful to sexy
In 2015, the company THINX launched menstrual panties explicitly for “people who have their period”. This also acknowledges the fact that not only one gender (cis women) can have their period. In recent years, a great abundance of period panties has been established on the market. Today, they come in quite a few different styles – from playful to sexy – and for different levels of menstrual bleeding. The integrated absorbent pad has a capacity of one to four tampons, depending on the model.
Menstrual sponges – absorbent and renewable
You have never heard of them? Menstrual sponges are untreated small fine-pored natural sponges. Unlike period cups or menstrual underwear, for example, they are a renewable product. The small sponges were marketed as early as 1974 by Jade & Pearl, a company founded in America. They are extremely absorbent, soft and cuddly and, unlike conventional tampons, reusable. The sponges grow predominantly off the Levantine coast of the eastern Mediterranean, which is why they are also called Leventine sponge. On site, care is taken to ensure that the natural product continues to grow well. The small sponges are carefully picked there by divers and can be used for up to 2 years.
I am still on my period. Can I use OvulaRing already?
Some women wonder if they can already use OvulaRing even though they still have a weak period. In short: Yes! OvulaRing should be used at the latest on the 6th day of the cycle in order to cover the cycle completely. If you still have a weak period at this time, you can wear OvulaRing e.g. in combination with a sanitary napkin or a period slip. A menstrual sponge is also certainly suitable. However, you have to find out for yourself what feels best for you. Our customer service will be happy to advise you on your individual questions.