The Odd, Yet Delightful History of Condoms
When researching the history of the condom, writer Hunter Oatman-Stanford discovered that in the early 1700s, butchers scored extra bank by selling the animal intestines thrown out by slaughterhouses as condoms (or "skins as they were called). The oldest condoms archeologists have discovered were from 1642, found in a cave in Europe.
Though condom production in America increased in 1839 when Charles Goodyear figured out how to vulcanize rubber, the party ended in 1873 when religious reformer Anthony Comstock pressured Congress to pass a law punishing anyone caught mailing “any article... for the prevention of conception."
The law carried a minimum six-month prison sentence for violation.
Doughboys In Peril
In the early 1900s, the U.S. military issued a painful post-coital chemical prophylaxis to Naval servicemen that involved antiseptics and urethral syringes—YOW!
According to Oatman-Stanford, "Over the next two years, around 380,000 American soldiers would be diagnosed with some form of VD, eventually costing the U.S. more than $50 million in treatment."