CONTRIBUTE to Humor,
and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop
menstruating if you could?
The Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health
pad (Kotex?) and holder, 1920s-1930s?
|A Canadian offered
MUM this holder and pad. He found it with items
labeled from the early 1930s in the possessions of a
woman in Canada who died in 2001. He said she was in
her forties in the 1940s.
Through Sherlock-Holmes-like reasoning I believe the absorbent part of the pad is made of Cellucotton and therefore a Kotex product. (See this reasoning in the lowest picture.) In the 1930s women could buy Kotex in Canada as well as in many countries world wide. Look at Kotex booklets from Canada, Australia and America from the 1930s. And see how-to-dispose-of-Kotex instructions from 1928.
The holder is another question. The words "DO NOT PIN GAUZE" stamped on one end make it seem commercial as do the three types of fabric and careful stitching - at least it seems to me. But there's nothing on the holder to indicate who made it.
Women had big problems with twisting and slipping pads, and discomfort - and still do -, and companies have often tried to improve their comfort.
See many other holders from the 19th through the end of the 20th century.
holder from the far ends of the pink sections
measures 19 7/8" (50.4 cm).
The pad at the center of the picture measures 3 3/8" wide (here, high) - 8.6 cm
and is about 3/8" (0.9 cm) thick. I took a section of the covering off to look
at the filling - see the last picture, below.
Back of the holder. A stretch material
connects the pink end at right to the canvas-like
fabric holding the body of the menstrual pad.
|Below: Pinning gauze wouldn't hold
the pad well. The end of the
menstrual pad covers the stretch material.
|Below: The brown material is a
tough canvas-like material, the pink much softer
and more flexible.
The pad mesh covering (top) is coarse like that of early Kotex. Read how college students complained about similar pads!
|Below: My conscience, although troubled,
allowed me to cut through the gauze covering (the
you see) to find out what the furshlugginer pad was made of, thereby giving a clue to
who made it.
AHA! Many discrete layers of material sitting on top of each other, each looking like
the magnificent enlargement below, reveal themselves to be (I think) Cellucotton, the cellulose
Kimberly-Clark made into bandages for the allies in the First World War and afterwards turned
into Kotex! If it were cotton, as in Modess pads, we would see long tangles of cotton.