“Necessity Being the Mother of Invention:” Early Menstrual Products

Early pads would be unrecognizable to women today; they were nothing more than rags sewn together at home to absorb menstrual flow. These homemade pads did not provide much protection for menstruating women, so many women found their period to be a debilitating and embarrassing time of the month. The public health concerns and new technology that arose out of World War I created a market for a new kind of menstrual pad — cellucotton pads, which companies marketed as “disposable.” Disposable menstrual products promised to help women live healthier, more active lives without the discomfort and embarrassment of wearing “menstrual blankets.”

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