See a roughly contemporary pad, Society, and a "silent purchase" ad for Modess, 1928.
Other Modess ads: 1931,"Modess . . . . because" ads, the French Modess, and the German "Freedom" (Kimberly-Clark) for teens.
See a prototype of the first Kotex ad.
See more Kotex items: Ad 1928 (Sears and Roebuck catalog) - Marjorie May's Twelfth Birthday (booklet for girls, 1928, Australian edition; there are many links here to Kotex items) - 1920s booklet in Spanish showing disposal method - box from about 1969 - Preparing for Womanhood (1920s, booklet for girls) - "Are you in the know?" ads (Kotex) (1949)(1953)(1964)(booklet, 1956) - See more ads on the Ads for Teenagers main page
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.


The pefect menstrual pad 3 (1 2 4 4a 5):
Belts, aprons, step-ins, deodorant powder and cream

"Report of Gilbreth, Inc.," to the Johnson & Johnson Company, 1 January 1927, about
how to improve the company's menstrual products, especially with regard to competition with Kotex pads

 The right mannequin wears an early 1990s Kotex napkin belt, essentially the same as one from the 1920s. Clasps hold the pad to it, although pins could be used.
(This was part of the exhibit in the actual MUM museum. Take a tour!) 

About half of the women who responded to the survey used elastic belts (closest mannequin in the photo) to hold their pads in place and usually could not remember what brand it was. They overwhelmingly used safety pins to attach pads to the belt - remember the Tampax ads crowing "no pins"? - because the clasps that came with many belts could fail. And they avoided belts that came apart to be buttoned on, because they too often failed. That meant that women usually put the belt on over their heads and wore them either at waist or low on the hips. Some women made their own from gauze, elastic or ribbon.

Few women, 162, liked "sanitary aprons" because they had a rubber odor, faded or turned yellow or gray with washing, tore easily and slipped and twisted.

The report doesn't recommend rubber bloomers, but seems to say they are popular, [continued below]


Above is a Hickory brand step-in from an ad in the June 1926 McCall's Magazine (U.S.A.). From the ad: "Wear them under your knickers this summer. This style, in cool mesh and light rubber . . . ." (See Hickory belts for pads.)

which might be a typo (it is not an item in the statistics table). They trap moisture, which is not healthy. A high school faculty member said, "The ideal thing would be to get protection enough in the napkin."

Gilbreth preferred rubber step-ins (at left and here - 67 wrote that they used them) to aprons and bloomers because they didn't become hot or slip, "but it is a nuisance to have to wear so much rubber when only a little is needed. . . . [A] small rubber insert in the back . . . would give ample protection."

Many women, 370, powdered their pads, but just a few used Mum cream (yes, Mum) or Amolin powder deodorant.

NEXT: conclusions and recommendations
Gilbreth Report: 1 (introduction) 2 (college student's design & Smith College) 2a (names and colors) 4 (conclusions & recommendations) 4a (a perfect pad?) 5 (last recommendation)

The copy of the report that I read, which might be unique, rests in the special collections of Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, U.S.A. Dr. Gilbreth was the first woman engineering professor at Purdue.
© 1999 Harry Finley. It is illegal to reproduce or distribute work on this Web site in any manner or medium without written permission of the author. Please report suspected violations to