History of condoms – when they appeared and who invented them

The first condoms were invented over a thousand years ago. However, contraception did not only protect against pregnancy but also posed health risks. At that time, such products were made from parchment and even from tortoise shells. When did the first condoms look like today’s? In 1839, Charles Goodyear created a rubber that was used to make relatively good quality contraceptives.

The very first condoms in the world

The first condoms appeared in ancient times. However, they differed from the modern ones and were even harmful to health.

Contraception from 2000 BC to the Middle Ages

The earliest proof of condom existence is considered to be its picture in the French cave Combarel. It was made as early as 12-15 thousand years ago.

Historians disagree about the use of these products in ancient times. Although in the times of Ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt, not more than two children per family were valued and different methods of protection were used, it was believed that contraception should be the woman’s responsibility. Therefore, all effective and ineffective contraceptive products of those times were female.

There were also veiled references to male methods of contraception in the texts of that period. However, many historians are certain that this does not refer to condoms, but to interrupt intercourse

Contraception ceased to be used after the decline of the Roman Empire. The factor that led to this was the spread of Christianity. The church considered any method of contraception to be a sin.

In the meantime, male condoms were used in Asia until the fifteenth century. They only covered the head of the penis and were probably used only by the upper classes. In China, they were made from the intestines of lambs or silk paper treated with oil. In Japan, animal horns or tortoise shells were used for this purpose.

Renaissance Condoms

At the end of the fifteenth century, the syphilis epidemic began. By 1505, it had affected China and resulted in many deaths. The sixteenth-century Italian physician Fallopius recommended people use a product he had invented – a special linen pouch.

It was soaked in a special chemical solution and then dried. The product was put on the head of the penis and fastened with a bandage. This invention was believed to provide reliable protection against syphilis. It was during this period that condoms became widespread. Besides linen, they were also made from animal bladders and intestines.

Origin and spelling of the word condom

The exact origin of the word “condom” is not known to anyone. However, there are the following versions:

  • It may be related to the name of a French town of the same name.
  • The word could appear thanks to the surname of the court physician of the English King Charles II – Condom. He invented caps for sheep’s intestines to protect against syphilis.
  • The word may have come from the Latin term “condus,” which translates to “receptacle”.

The word “condom” is of French origin. In that language, it sounds like “préservatif”

However, the word originally came from the Latin term “praeservo,” which translates as “to protect”.

In what year rubber condoms appeared

In 1843, vulcanization was invented in England and in the USA. Many people wonder who did it. In the U.S. Goodyear handled the invention, and in England it was Hancock. Both inventors patented their products. Their technology made it possible to create the first rubber condom. This happened in 1840.

Already in 1844, it was possible to establish mass production of such products. Initially, they were made reusable. After each sexual intercourse, products were washed, dipped into a solution, and closed in a special box. It was impossible to talk about condoms.

The fight against condoms

In the second half of the nineteenth century fought against contraceptives at the legislative level. In 1873, the “Comstock Act” became effective in the northern United States. It prohibited the transfer of materials that were “lewd” or “obscene” in nature. This category included condoms and any information about them.

In addition, 30 U.S. states passed laws that prohibited the manufacture and sale of this type of contraceptive. Similar laws also appeared in Ireland. In Italy and Germany, however, contraception was forbidden. However, condoms were allowed to be used to prevent disease.

The first latex condom

Latex was invented in 1920. The Americans were the first to make condoms from it. Such products were thinner and stronger than the old rubber condoms. They could be stored for 5 years, not 3 months as before. Another plus was considered being the reduction in production costs.

What are condoms called in different countries of the world?

Every country has its own mentality, which is reflected in the habits and traits of people. One of the characteristic features is to give things unusual names.

In other countries of the world, different variations are possible. Thus, in France, the product is called an English hood, and in the U.S. – jimmy hats. In Germany, the designation “Parisian” is used, and in Italy – “glove”. In South Africa, the contraceptive is called a French letter, and in Lebanon, it is called a coat.

The history of condoms is a very rich and interesting one. Initially, these contraceptives were not very comfortable or safe for health. However, as technology improved, they became more comfortable and provided people with reliable protection against unwanted pregnancy and dangerous sexually transmitted diseases.

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