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Patent drawing for “Sanitary Belt and Bandage,” J.C. Allen, November 6, 1917.

Women used sanitary belts much like this one from the late 1800s into the 1970s. The belt fastened around the wearer’s waist with straps to keep the sanitary “bandage” or napkin in place. The belt and napkin were bulky. Inventors like J. C. Allen tried to streamline the design as modern dress became less voluminous and more fitted.

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