Read an earlier discussion of this: What did European and American women use for menstruation in the 19th century and before?
See the B-ettes tampon. See the tampon directory.
Ads for teens (see also introductory page for teenage advertising): Are you in the know? (Kotex napkins and Quest napkin powder, 1948, U.S.A.), Are you in the know? (Kotex napkins, 1953, U.S.A.), Are you in the know? (Kotex napkins and belts, 1964, U.S.A.), Freedom (1990, Germany), Kotex (1992, U.S.A.), Pursettes (1974, U.S.A.), Pursettes (1974, U.S.A.), Saba (1975, Denmark)
More ads for teens: See a Modess True or False? ad in The American Girl magazine, January 1947, and actress Carol Lynley in "How Shall I Tell My Daughter" booklet ad (1955) - Modess . . . . because ads (many dates).
CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Some MUM site links:
homepageMUM address & What does MUM mean? | e-mail the museum | privacy on this site | who runs this museum?? |
Amazing women! | the art of menstruation | artists (non-menstrual) | asbestos | belts | bidets | founder bio | Bly, Nellie | MUM board | books: menstruation and menopause (and reviews) | cats | company booklets for girls (mostly) directory | contraception and religion | costumes | menstrual cups | cup usage | dispensers | douches, pain, sprays | essay directory | extraction | facts-of-life booklets for girls | famous women in menstrual hygiene ads | FAQ | founder/director biography | gynecological topics by Dr. Soucasaux | humor | huts | links | masturbation | media coverage of MUM | menarche booklets for girls and parents | miscellaneous | museum future | Norwegian menstruation exhibit | odor | olor | pad directory | patent medicine | poetry directory | products, current | puberty booklets for girls and parents | religion | Religión y menstruación | your remedies for menstrual discomfort | menstrual products safety | science | Seguridad de productos para la menstruación | shame | slapping, menstrual | sponges | synchrony | tampon directory | early tampons | teen ads directory | tour of the former museum (video) | underpants & panties directory | videos, films directory | Words and expressions about menstruation | Would you stop menstruating if you could? | What did women do about menstruation in the past? | washable pads
Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.

The Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health

Some European women regularly menstruated
into their clothing:
More evidence (Part 1)

A 19th-century German comments on menstruation, with a proposal for a menstrual pad and belt: from Friedrich Eduard Bilz's Das Neue Naturheilverfahren (about 1890)
A few years ago I came across evidence that some European women normally used nothing to absorb their menstrual blood (read here).

In 2004 an Austrian woman living in Norway very kindly sent me copies of pages from Friedrich Eduard Bilz's Das Neue Naturheilverfahren ("The New Natural Healing"), an immensely popular book first published under this title in the late 19th century whose printings totaled 3.5 million copies before 1938 (read more about it - in German). The book repeated evidence I present elsewhere from German and English sources (here) that some women bled into their clothing and offered them an alternative: bleeding into a pad, for which he provided specifications and commercial sources. The pad filling was disposable, to be burned. (There were also special portable burners available as early as the 1890s in England specifically to burn menstrual pads while traveling!) Really successful disposable pads didn't appear however until Kotex, in America, in 1921.

Mr. Bilz built a clinic - it was huge - just as many other doctors did at the time, including American Dr. R.V. Pierce, who was second only to Mrs. Pinkham as a patent medicine maker in the U.S.A. (Read and see more about Pierce, including his clinic. Pierce also wrote a popular medical guide.)

Below my translation is the German text, which includes pictures of a pad and belt, although not one he describes in the text (which seems similar to the one here by another German of the era). I've reddened the translation that describe how some women use nothing to aborb the blood to protect their surroundings. Note that menstruation is listed under diseases.

Translation by Harry Finley (the original text is at the bottom of this page):
Diseases of Women (Appendix). The Menstrual Pad and Its Meaning.
Probably seldom have women been so interested in an article of clothing as the menstrual pad.
The time of menstruation is an important part of women's sexual life and requires exact attention to hygienic rules. Many diseases that appear sooner or later are traceable to carelessness during this time. Above all, maximum cleanliness is required. Many women do nothing to protect their underwear, bed sheets and cover from the blood that runs from their sex organs. They place nothing in that region [to absorb menses] and so in addition to the outer sex organs, underwear, sheets and bed covers, the lower belly and thighs are stiffened with dried blood. Because this blood sometimes smells bad and resembles the post-childbirth discharge in this way, and because furthermore it sometimes mixes with other existent unhealthy discharges [catarrh] from the sex organs, and finally because of the widespread prejudice against frequent washing and changing of clothes during this time, some women, even those of the better classes, are often filthy to an almost unbelievable degree. One should oppose this abuse where one can because - apart from the harm it causes - it's extremely disgusting. Above all, one should teach with all one's power that changing into newly washed underwear during the period is completely harmless.
In the more favorable cases, where the woman protects herself, her clothing and her bed from blood by making pads, these pads are often unsuitable. Cloth is wrapped around the hips and on the genitals, mostly old linen, cotton cloth from bed covers, old handkerchiefs and similar things. These materials are either folded over and buttoned together or, in a somewhat better way, fastened together and secured with big safety pins. Such a pad is of course an advance but far from perfect. Pads like the well known T-bandages, consisting of a horizontal part that goes around the waist and a middle section attached to it that goes between the legs, are often awkward and thick, making it hard to wear clothes that fit tightly and it presses on the hips and perineum. Sometimes they don't sit securely enough. Finally, the middle part


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