- This red and black envelope with feather design originally held condoms. It is currently empty of contents.
- The flap on the envelope reads “Genuine Liquid Latex is made from the milk of the rubber tree, contains no harmful acids or kerosene. Sterilized at 250 F. and is absolutely sanitary. Thinner but stronger than any other product. Guaranteed five years.”
- Beginning in about 1920, condom manufacturers had begun using latex, as opposed to rubber, for their condoms. Because rubber condom manufacturing required the addition of gasoline to create liquid rubber, condom factories which produced rubber condoms were extremely susceptible to destruction by fire. Unlike rubber, latex is not highly flammable. It also has a high tensile strength and can be stretched more easily than rubber.
- In 1872, the Comstock Act had prohibited interstate commerce in obscene literature and immoral material. Condoms and other forms of birth control fell under the category of “immoral material.” As forbidden material, condoms were rarely advertised openly.
- However, during the early twentieth century, rising concerns about gonorrhea and syphilis led a growing number of public health advocates to call for condoms to be sold to prevent disease. In 1918, a court case in New York, (The People of the State of New York v Margaret H. Sanger) clarified that physicians could prescribe condoms to prevent disease. Named after Judge Frederick Crane who wrote the opinion in the case, the Crane decision opened the door for condom manufacturers to openly advertise and sell condoms, provided they were sold as a disease preventative.
- By selling their condoms only in drug stores, the manufacturers of these condoms were able to underscore the legitimacy of their product and to charge higher prices.
- Currently not on view
- Object Name
- contraceptive, condom
- date made
- ca 1930s-1950s
- overall: 22.9 cm x 6.4 cm; x 9 in x 2 1/2 in
- overall: 2 3/8 in x 9 in; 6.0325 cm x 22.86 cm
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Birth Control/Contraception
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases
- See more items in
- Medicine and Science: Medicine
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History
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