See American Tassaway ads from 1971 and 1972, 1972 & 1973 Dutch ads, and instructions for use of the cup (all require long download times!
Read a partial history of the menstrual cup!
First cup? Tassette, Tassaway, The Keeper, Daintette, Foldene
Leona Chalmer's 1937 book with a drawing of a cup.
And read comments from people who have used a cup.
Do cups cause endometriosis? Not enough evidence, says the FDA.
CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Some MUM site links:
MUM address & What does MUM mean? |
Email the museum |
Privacy on this site |
Who runs this museum?? |
Amazing women! |
Art of menstruation |
Artists (non-menstrual) |
Asbestos |
Belts |
Bidets |
Bly, Nellie |
MUM board |
Books: menstruation and menopause (and reviews) |
Cats |
Company booklets for girls (mostly) directory |
Contraception and religion |
Costumes |
Menstrual cups |
Cup usage |
Dispensers |
Douches, pain, sprays |
Essay directory |
Extraction |
Facts-of-life booklets for girls |
Famous women in menstrual hygiene ads |
Founder/director biography |
Gynecological topics by Dr. Soucasaux |
Humor |
Huts |
Links |
Masturbation |
Media coverage of MUM |
Menarche booklets for girls and parents |
Miscellaneous |
Museum future |
Norwegian menstruation exhibit |
Odor |
Olor |
Pad directory |
Patent medicine |
Poetry directory |
Products, some current |
Puberty booklets for girls and parents|
Religion |
Religión y menstruación |
Your remedies for menstrual discomfort |
Menstrual products safety |
Seguridad de productos para la menstruación |
Science |
Shame |
Slapping, menstrual |
Sponges |
Synchrony |
Tampon directory |
Early tampons |
Teen ads directory |
Tour of the former museum (video) |
Underpants & panties directory |
Videos, films directory |
Words and expressions about menstruation |
Would you stop menstruating if you could? |
What did women do about menstruation in the past? |
Washable pads |
Read 10 years (1996-2006) of articles and Letters to Your MUM on this site.
Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.

A History of the Menstrual Cup (continued)

Women Tossed Away the Tassaway

Below: a newspaper Tassaway ad from its first year, in the Reno [Nevada] Evening Gazette, November 4, 1970. More ads: 1971 and 1972, 1972 & 1973 Dutch ads, and instructions for use of the cup.
Below: The Tassaway mark in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, filed Aug. 9. 1966 but described as having been in use since 1963.

It's a short story.

In 1970, Tassette, Inc., the maker of the now-defunct Tassette menstrual cup, launched its first promotion since the early 1960s, this time for its new disposable cup, Tassaway (bottom of page), which was made of a non-absorbent elastomeric polymer (patent drawing at left). Robert Oreck, the president of the company, hoped the new cup would generate more money than the old one by solving the two problems Oreck thought were at the heart of the failure of Tassette: women did not want to wash and re-use the cup, and satisfied customers would not quickly buy another one because they could use them for several years.

Eduardo F. Peña, M.D., Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, tested the Tassette at the company's request in 1961 (the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology published his report "Advantages of the Menstrual Cup" - Tassette, Inc. funded the study - in the May 1962 issue), and talked with a Barron's reporter in 1970 before a talk he gave about Tassette (not the new Tassaway) at the Sixth World Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Peña's judgment was positive, including "[u]se of the cup is hygienic in that it avoids the infections commonly associated with sanitary napkins and tampons." What he meant were mostly infections caused by the Trichomonas vaginalis protozoan (he said that Trichomonas caused 80% of vaginal infections he saw in his practice in Miami) and the Candida albicans fungus, which causes moniliasis, which thrives in Florida's subtropical climate. Cystitis is also a problem with women using pads, because feces on the napkin can bring Esherichia coli bacteria to the urethra. (Read the Dickinson Report from 1945 about these very problems.) The doctor recommended that users dip the cup into a weak solution of chlorine bleach after the period to kill any adhering bacteria.

(In an article from the "toxic shock era," which started with menstrual products in the late 1970s, in Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology (2:140-145, 1994), Philip M. Tierno, Jr., and Bruce A. Hanna of the Departments of Microbiology and Pathology of the New York University School of Medicine, wrote that "S[taphylococcus] aureus MN8 produced no TSST-1 when grown in the presence of Tassaway," thus absolving Tassaway of any charge of promoting toxic shock.)

Barron's reporter Alan Abelson, who wrote the column "Up and Down Wall Street," criticized the doctor's statement that the cup was "an economically viable product." He said it was a judgment for the consumer to make.

He was only partly right. Suspicions of fraud involving shares in the company surfaced. (See a share from 1971.) Tassette, Inc., reported selling thousands of Tassaways, but not nearly enough to justify the high value of each share.

On July 17, 1972, a federal judge in Los Angeles issued an order permanently enjoining Robert Oreck and Tassette, Inc., from violating the registration provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 and the anti-fraud provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Interestingly enough, apparently women could still buy the cup in The Netherlands in 1972 and 1973, as these ads here and here show. (More ads: 1971 and 1972, and instructions for use of the cup.)

Tassette, Inc., was essentially dead, but it had hardly lived. Just as with Tassette, the company never made a profit. The company owed J. Walter Thompson, the advertising agency, a little over $1 million, while having assets of only $228,829; a Tassette lawyer lowered that value to $30,000, partly because the unusual nature of the equipment reduced its attractiveness.

Not until the late 1980s did The Cup reappear. This time it has succeeded modestly. I'm talking about The Keeper (Part 4).

(Most of the information above about Tassette, Tassaway and Chalmer's patent came from Advertising Age, Barron's, Drug Trade News, Editor and Publisher, Investment Dealer's Digest from the 1960s and 1970s; and from a Stock Prospectus dated 28 August 1961. Mr. Oreck refused my request for an interview, referring me to another company official; I could not find her.)

NEXT (The Keeper cup)
Introduction to the History of the Menstrual Cup, first cup, Tassette, The Keeper, Daintette, Foldene), OPINIONS about cups.

© 1997-2006 Harry Finley. It is illegal to reproduce or distribute any of the work on this Web site in any manner or medium without written permission of the author. Please report suspected violations to