Mrs. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound, etc. - Cardui - Dr. Grace Feder Thompson's letter appealing for patients, - Dr. Pierce's medicines - Dr. E. C. Abbey's The Sexual System and Its Derangements (1882) - Orange Blossom medicine.

See an ad for Dr. Schenk's Mandrake Pills, appearing on a trade card for journalist Nellie Bly.

See also Cardui patent medicine booklet covers, testimonials, examination sheet
See Dr. Grace Feder Thompson's letter appealing for patients, Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound, and Orange Blossom medicine, Dr. E. C. Abbey's The Sexual System and Its Derangements, which emphasises masturbation, as doe Dr. Pierce, and several small boxes of old American patent medicine for women.
See the Wix tampon, instructions, patent, The Fascinating Story of Wix (and another version) and store instruction sheet. And read an ad in the Sears catalog for Wix and see a Wix tampon store display ad.
Early commercial tampons
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)
And, of course, the first Tampax AND - special for you! - the American fax tampon, from the early 1930s, which also came in bags.
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:
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.

Constipation relief?
Dr. Young's Improved Rectal Dilators for the Auxiliary Treatment of Piles and Constipation
(U.S.A., 1900?-1940?)

Whatever physiological/anatomical theory Dr. Young had in mind when he made these objects - he wrote that gradually widening the anus with his devices will treat constipation - they respond to the desire for relief of apparently the many people afflicted with constipation in America (read a chapter of a book for women about the subject). Read the instructions.

And these dilators find a place in an article from The New England Journal of Medicine showing their intended purpose.

But there's another use for the dilators, one that Rachel Maines uncovered for vibrators advertised in late 19th century and early 20th century American knitting magazines: sexual pleasure. Some people slide objects into their or their sexual partner's anus (and rectum) for fun. No, no! I'm not kidding!

Consider the shape of the dilators: they look like penises to me! Of course, maybe the bulge on the business end just gives the sphincter something to grab, a practical use. And just because that bulging end has a hole in it (see the picture, below), kinda like the opening of the urethra, doesn't mean that it doesn't allow air to escape.

Products are not always used for what they're advertised to do. Alcohol-loaded patent medicine allowed respectable ladies as late as the 1960s - maybe even today - to get a buzz without outing themselves by visiting a liquor store (for example, Mrs. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound). Teenage boys used to buy booklets with pictures of nude women that were supposedly made to aid artists.

Whatever the real purpose of these items - maybe it was both - on the inside bottom of the box (too fuzzy to show) Dr. Young offered an even bigger one, No. 5, for $1.50, postpaid, after the customer had master - um, mastered 1-4. What was going on in the bedrooms and bathrooms of America? Maybe nothing new.

SarahAnne Hazlewood generously donated the dilators to this museum.
Read the instructions and see the box.


The dilators are made of a fairly heavy, black shiny plastic-like material, possibly Bakelite, and are loose in the box.

Below: Each dilator has a flange on the bottom (pictured above) - the light-colored part surrounding the dark center in the picture below - possibly to prevent the dilator from disappearing into the rectum. Note the 4, which means size 4. Lacking anything more interesting to do, it also allows the owner to line them up on a horizontal surface, maybe to admire them, as I did, above.
A hole about 3 mm in diameter penetrates the end that enters the anus (white spot, below, which is at the far end), probably to allow air to escape.
Below: the arrow points to the hole in the front of the dilator. 

NEXT: Read the instructions and see the box. See also Mrs. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound, etc. - Cardui - Dr. Grace Feder
Thompson's letter appealing for patients, - Dr. Pierce's medicines - Dr. E. C. Abbey's
The Sexual System and Its Derangements (1882) - Orange Blossom medicine.

© 2000 Harry Finley. It is illegal to reproduce or distribute any of the work on this Web site in any manner
or medium without written permission of the author. Please report suspected violations to