See more Hartmann disposable pad ads from the 19th century.
See other early disposable menstrual pad (towels) ads from the U.K: Southall, Mosana
Washable pads - Menstrual sponge - Swedish advertisement for a belt and pad and adhesive pad
Suspenders for holding pads (U.S.A., 19th century)
Ads for the Kotex stick tampon (U.S.A., 1970s) - a Japanese stick tampon from the 1970s.
Early commercial tampons - Rely tampon - Meds tampon (Modess)
CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Some MUM site links:
homepage | MUM 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.



An early - the earliest? - multinational menstrual napkin: Hartmann's, and disposable!

Women could buy the first widely successful American disposable menstrual pad in 1921 - Kotex.
The Kimberly-Clark Company made bandages from wood pulp for American soldiers in the First World War. Nurses in France used these bandages for menstrual pads, which they liked because they were very absorbent, and they were cheap enough to throw away.

But Kotex was not the first disposable pad. In America Curads (which sells bandages today) advertised a disposable pad in Vogue magazine at least by 1920 (and later), and Johnson and Johnson made Lister's Towels in 1896, which lasted until at least the mid-1920s.

Also in this last decade of the 19th century a disposable pad appeared, Hartmann's, possibly made in German (see ad below), decades before the successful introduction of Camelia, the first widely successful disposable pad in Germany, which is still sold today (just as Kotex was the first really successful pad in the U.S.A and is still sold today).

But ads for a Hartmann's pad also appeared in America (below) and in the Harrod's of London catalog for 1895 ("Hartmann's Hygienic Towelettes for Ladies"), making Hartmann possibly the first multinational pad maker. It's unlikely that there would be more than one pad maker named Hartmann in the 1890s.

Interesting too is the kind of company that made Mulpa: a bandage factory, just as Kimberly-Clark was. And bandages are grouped with menstrual pads at the Patent Office in Washington.

Look how small the pads were, if we can trust the advertising, much smaller than the average pad of the day.

Lister's Towels was probably the first American disposable.

A woman in the United Kingdom generously e-mailed me this scan of a Hartmann's ad for "Towelettes" for women (lowest ad); the British still call menstrual napkins towels. Note SAVE WASHING, which indicates to me that it's disposable. The ad comes from "The Nurse's Dictionary of Medical Terms and Nursing Treatment Compiled for the Use of Nurses," London: The Scientific Press. Internal evidence indicates its date as 1900.
Wood wool seems to be wood shavings, a common absorbent of the time. The patent for menstrual suspenders here also mentions wood wool. But a writer sent me this:
Hi..... I've been reading your fantastic site, and I noticed your explanation of "wood wool" on the page that has the ad for Hartmann's "sanitary wood-wool sheets." My husband is British, and I'm almost certain that "wood wool" is not shavings, but rayon. The British call "wool" anything that looks like cotton (i.e., cotton balls are called "cotton wool"). And rayon (or viscose, as it is called in Britain) has been manufactured since the 1890s from wood--cellulose. It is MUCH more absorbent than cotton, and for this reason it has been used in disposable "feminine hygiene products" since their earliest inception: rayon products leak a lot less, apparently, than cotton ones (although I've read that rayon tampons can leach chemicals into a woman's body more than cotton products, especially organic cotton ones).
Just thought I'd mention this. I really doubt wood shavings would have been used in these pads--the British would never have called wood shavings "wool".
--Jennifer Matesa
author of Navel-Gazing: The Days and Nights of a Mother in the Making (Random House, 2001)


German ad for Hartmann's disposable pad, 1890s. My translation is,
Hartmann's Mulpa Ladies' Bandage (legally protected), singly made in pocket size! Each pack of six costs 1 Mark. Indispensable for traveling! Available in all appropriate stores.
Paul Hartmann Bandage Factory, Heidenheim a. Br. [Heidenheim an der Brenz, a fact kindly supplied by a German site visitor. And the company exists today.]


The WWs ad appeared in the August and October issues, 1896, of the (American) Woman's World and Jenness Miller Monthly.
This ad is a copy of a copy of the original, thus the quality, reproduced from
"Menstrual technology in the United States, 1854 to 1921," by Laura Klosterman Kidd, 1994 (Ph.D. dissertation).

See more Hartmann disposable pad ads from the 19th century.
See other early disposable menstrual pad (towels) ads from the U.K: Southall, Mosana
Washable pads
- Menstrual sponge - Swedish advertisement for a belt and pad and adhesive pad
Suspenders for holding pads (U.S.A., 19th century)

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