See a early Tampax ad (1936) - part of the original patent - the first box - more early commercial tampons
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Ad for Tampax tampons (March 1939, U.S.A.)

In 1939 American women were generally reluctant to use commercial tampons, invented in America, which had been on the American market since at least the early 1930s (see some early tampons). The Catholic Church, many doctors and other authority figures opposed their use. Fear of loss of virginity was a big concern as well as the effects of putting something into the vagina, and the very act of of doing so discouraged many potential users.

Tampax helped sell more tampons by adding an insertion device that allowed women to use them without sticking their fingers into their vaginas (earlier tampons - Wix, for example - were similar to present-day o.b. tampons, having no applicator).

One of the reports that speeded tampon use among women was the Dickinson report, from a doctor, which stressed tampons' advantages and the deficits of pads.

This ad emphasizes movement - the woman is in a car - and is typical of tampon ads in its stressing of freedom. Women no longer needed pins to hold a pad in place, a belt (which adhesive pads later almost eliminated) and reduced the possibility of odor. (Read the Gilbreth report to see what women had to contend with in the 1920s and before.)

A nurse appears next to the mention of the American Medical Association (a nurse may have seemed more accessible to women) reinforcing the tampon's medical connection; doctors have used tampons to deliver medicine into bodily openings for centuries and to soak up secretions, so they were really nothing new. And women have probably used them for millennia to absorb menstrual blood. (See Egyptian hieroglyphics about tampons used for contraception.)

But the AMA objected to the implication that it endorsed Tampax, and Tampax later stopped putting that text on its products.

See a early Tampax ad (1936) - part of the original patent - the first box - more early commercial tampons

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