SEE ALSO the directory of all tampons on this site.
A prominent American gynecologist said in 1945 that medical tampons "used to pay the office rent."
CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Some MUM site links:
MUM address & What does MUM mean? |
Email the museum |
Privacy on this site |
Who runs this museum?? |
Amazing women! |
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 |
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, some current |
Puberty booklets for girls and parents|
Religion |
Religión y menstruación |
Your remedies for menstrual discomfort |
Menstrual products safety |
Seguridad de productos para la menstruación |
Science |
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 |
Read 10 years (1996-2006) of articles and Letters to Your MUM on this site.
Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.

Early commercial American menstrual tampons
(See all tampons on this site)

Women have probably used tampons for menstruation for thousands of years, but the first commercial tampons seem to be those from the late 1920s or early 1930s in the United States.

Most of the tampons you see below have no applicators (and fax doesn't even have a string!); Tampax sold the first tampon with an applicator in 1936, developed from the patent of Dr. Earle C. Haas of Denver, Colorado.

Who knows what the first commercial tampon was? I suspect someone from Chicago, probably a man, made it, simply because this museum has likely candidates from that city, and because men generally have controlled business in America, especially in an earlier era. (Lydia Pinkham may have been the first widely successful businesswoman.) I wonder if the first menstrual tampon makers got their idea from the tampons doctors used for introducing medication into the vagina, which women could have also used for absorbing menstrual discharge.

(Read the important Tampons as menstrual guards ("The Dickinson Report"), from the September 1945 issue of the American magazine Consumer Reports; it was a simplified version of an article by Dr. Robert L. Dickinson (who made the office rent comment) in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This report boosted the tampon industry and encouraged women to switch from pads to tampons. Or read the original report.)

Here's a partial table of early tampons for which MUM has original material (the relative sizes of the boxes below are incorrect). This museum has almost 1000 boxes of tampons, starting in the early 1930s, mostly American, many from three extraordinary gifts described at the bottom of this page.

Site directories for tampons, pads, ads for teens, and underwear.

Is fax the earliest commercial tampon? I give some reasons why I think this is possible, plus the tampon itself and some packaging. Compare with Nunap, maybe the same tampon and both made possibly of Cellucotton - the Kotex material.
Click here to see the back of the box, and the tampon itself and its container, a bag.
And click here for a politically very incorrect ad for the tampon.
Advertising clip sheet for fax.
Fibs - quite a name! - was possibly the first of several Kotex tampons, and appeared in the late 1930s. See a bigger version.
See an ad for Fibs (long down load time!) and see the Fibs tampon.
This museum has only the packaging and instructions for Holly-Pax, a company Tampax bought in 1939, along with the Wix company (see Wix, below).

Moderne Women See an instruction sheet. This may be from the same manufacturer as the maker of the fax tampon, and may be as old or older.

Nappons See an instruction sheet. 

Nunap See an instruction sheet. See tampon, box, more discussion.

Slim-pax See an instruction sheet. 
See a late 1930s Tampax instruction sheet.
MUM has boxes of Tampax with instructions from each decade of its existence, starting in the founding year of 1936. Tambrands gave many of these boxes to this museum in 1997.
Wix - another great name - preceded Tampax in the early 1930s. See more about Wix, and See the Wix tampon.


THANKS! to . . .

Procter & Gamble, which generously donated scores of American tampons and other products, dating from the 1930s to the 1960s. (2001)
Tambrands, the former maker of Tampax, gave MUM a fantastic gift of over 450 boxes of menstrual hygiene products dating to the 1930s, plus booklets, ads, and miscellaneous material, some of which appear above and elsewhere on this site. (1997)
A woman living in Illinois (U.S.A.), who generously donated many unopened boxes of Wix, Fibs and fax tampons to this museum, including those in list above, and also much advertising material for these tampons, including counter-top drugstore displays for Fibs, and a very early newspaper advertisement and an instruction sheet for a late 1930s box of Tampax. Her father had been an advertising man for Kotex, and after her mother died, she found these items in her effects. She sent them to MUM after having read the article about this museum in the Chicago Tribune newspaper. It's a wonderful gift! (1995)

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