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Cosmetics and Personal Care Products in the Medicine and Science Collections, National Museum of American History

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Cashay Sanitary Puffs, Park & Tilford Company, circa 1934.

The Cashay “puff” was an early improvement on the pad-and-belt combination and predecessor to the tampon. Women had improvised similar “plug” style solutions prior to 1930, but Park & Tilford provided the first manufactured version. It was a ball of cotton and surgical gauze that fit in the vaginal opening, inserted by hand. Cashay puffs promised the same relief from embarrassment and inactivity as pads, while addressing their limitations: the belts, the uncomfortable bulges, and the odor.

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