Explore Condoms

Explore the interesting history of condoms

Condoms, so most of us know why they are used, but not many people know the interesting story from where condoms originated and developed.

Firstly, nobody is 100% sure how the name 'condom' was coined. However, it is popularly thought to have come from 'condus', the Latin word that means container.

Condoms are the oldest form of birth control. The first condom dates back thousands of years ago to 11,000 B.C. Caves in France known as Grotte des Combarrelles have shown evidence in paintings on their walls that resemble condoms.

Some historians argue that condoms in the form of a cloth were first used by Egyptians from as early as 950 B.C.  

Condoms were made from leather as well, by shaping the leather into pouches that were sealed at one end. In Japan some condoms were even made from shells of tortoises. 

In Europe, during the 15th century, when diseases such as syphilis started to spread on a large scale, the Italian doctor Gabriel Falloppio spoke about how a mixture of salt and herbs could provide protection against STDs. Condoms were made from cloth and drenched with a solution of salt and herbs. Interestingly, these cloth sheaths were worn all of the time and not just during intercourse.

Condoms started being manufactured and sold to the public in the 1700s. These condoms were made from animal intestines. Condoms became widely available commercially during this period. Even though these condoms were not lubricated, they still did the job.

In 1855, rubber was introduced by Charles Goodyear for manufacturing condoms. However, the rubber was too stiff when it was cold and too soft when it was hot. This made them more like elastic bands than condoms. The advantage of this was that they could stretch and did not tear easily unlike the animal intestine that was used in the past.

1920 was the year when the first latex condom was introduced to the world. Condoms became cheap and disposable after a single use. They were also mass-produced and given to military soldiers of World War II. Condoms were now lubricated as well.

As a world first, Durex started lubricating their condoms in the 1950s. Durex was also the first condom manufacturer to start testing their condoms electronically in 1953.

During the 1960s, Durex launched a world first once more, an anatomically-shaped condom.

In the 1980s, HIV infections became widespread. Condoms were being marketed by manufacturers as a highly important contraceptive and for HIV prevention. The use of condoms then increased dramatically on a global level.

During the 1990s latex-free condoms were developed. This was seen as an important step in the evolution of condoms because some people where allergic to latex.

In 1996, Durex was the first condom maker to have a company website.

Worldwide condom usage is expected to continue to grow exponentially. Condoms have been around for centuries, but not all condom manufacturers have done much to improve their design in the last 50 years. 

So, now that you know some of the colourful history behind condoms. Feel free to browse our range.


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