See a set of the Daintette vaginal douche, with pamphlets, etc., 1928-29?, U.S.A.
The Perils of Vaginal Douching (essay by Luci Capo Rome) - the odor page
"Faultless Feminine Syringe," No. 240, made by the Faultless Rubber Company, Ashland, Ohio, U.S.A., perhaps from the 1960s or 1970s.
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.


Portable bidet (Paris, France, 1928)

A bidet has allowed men and women since possibly the Crusades (11th to the 13th centuries) to wash feet, hair, beards, genitals and perineum. The bather usually rides it like a pony; pony is what the word meant in the French of 400 or so years ago.


After taking off the lid, you can see how you would ride this bidet, at left, in the 1911 German guide for housewives Die Frau als Hausärztin (The Woman as Home Physician) by A. Fischer-Dückelman. Here's what the author says about washing during menstruation (my translation):

Every woman should be able to wash her genitals and the neighboring region with lukewarm water in order to get rid of adhering blood, which decomposes quickly, and unpleasant secretions.
The best way to do this is over a bidet by sitting with more or less separated legs and throwing water onto the genitals.


A bidet of today - left, with a toilet in the background, from the interesting site The Virtual Baguette, which apprently no longer deals with bidets - is made of porcelain, mounted in a bathroom next to a toilet, and features a jet of water squirting the genitals and between the buttocks. Although I believe the French have been the main users of the bidet, today one can buy them for bathrooms in at least North America and Europe, although American bidets are often devices mounted on toilets, removed after use. 

The beautiful bidet featured here, below,
seems to be made of oak, heavy enough to withstand water and usage, and metal painted a gold color. There are no fancy jets of water; the user poured water over her genitals - the old-fashioned way.

The donor (see below) said it belonged to her French mother, who bought it in Paris in 1928. Although heavy (about 31 pounds, about 14 kilos), it is portable, and collapses into a flat box-like form (second picture, below). I suspect the original owner, her mother, a wealthy woman from Nice, would have had servants carry it; it was a lot for your MUM to carry on the subway.
A metal plate under the right "wing" (see the wing here) reads
B[?] S.G.D.G
10, Rue Lacuée PARIS
[Mr. F. Reisner, of Bad Homburg, Germany, publisher of The German Plumbing & Sanitaryware Suppliers Guide, e-mailed the museum in November 2000, translating the plate as follows:
Bté. SGDG means "patented." Breveté Sans Garantie du Gouvernement means "Patented without State Guarantee." Name of the street in Paris is wrong (probably difficult to read). Diplôme d'Honneur means that the inventor has received some distinction, for instance, at the occasion of a World Fair or Inventors' Fairs (the most famous French Inventors Fair is called "Concours Lépine" - Lépine was in the last century a prefecture of Paris).

A woman born in France, living in the Washington, D.C., U.S.A., area, generously donated it to this museum in September of 1999 after having read about MUM in the Washington Post newspaper in 1995. Because of the war, she barely escaped France in 1939 with her mother and sister, leaving everything behind with friends and neighbors. After the war, she visited France to retrieve as many of the family's possessions as she could; some folks didn't want to give them to her, but she rescued the bidet, among other things.

After visiting this gentlelady, I took the bidet home on the subway, but not until after the donor insisted on wrapping it up in a black plastic garbage bag to protect it from the eyes of my fellow passengers. But I doubt they would have guessed what it was - I would have been glad to tell them had they asked, and start a general discussion in the car - since bidets are uncommon in America, but widely known to flourish in France.
And Americans have that divided attitude about France: she's (a telling pronoun) the source of taste and style, which we Puritans can somewhat accept, and the pit of naughtiness - a duality wonderfully exemplified by the bidet you see below.


With legs extended, the folded-up bidet looks like a piano bench and is just slightly smaller. This may have helped the traveling woman conceal it from visitors to her room, or simply made it look nice to the woman who could afford it - or both. Or something else.
(All photos by MUM director Harry Finley)


MEDS (also the name of the first Modess tampon), at right, is one of a litter of five interns at the museum. (Can the Smithsonian claim a litter of interns?) She is about to inspect the underside of the bidet, facing us, but, always the professional, she awaits a "go-ahead" sign from the photographer, the MUM director, before sniffing. Yeah, right. (Meds died of lymphoma in 2006.)
Notice the drain extending from the basin, the cylindrical, bluish object in the center (the metal is actually silver gray). I wonder if a drainage hose attached to it.

the bidet ready to use; then, how it was used, with dimensions.
See a set of the Daintette vaginal douche, with pamphlets, etc., 1928-29?, U.S.A.

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