Many belts, sanitary aprons & underpants from the Butler,
Smyth and Savage catalogs, early 20th century.
See 3 ads for American belts, 1949 and 1955,
and a booklet for girls by Beltx.
Ad for Hickory menstrual pad belts, 1926
A. Stein & Company, U.S.A.
sanitary napkin, tampon,
pad, belts, menstruation,
hygiene, women's health, ads for teenagers, menstrual
period, cycle, panty
Belts holding menstrual pads were the main way women dealt with menstruation
until the 1970s, when adhesive pads appeared.
Tampons appeared a few years after this ad but took decades to catch on for many reasons that Tampax
discusses in its company history.
Hickory made beautiful ads for its line - but ads of the era could be
beautiful anyway, even for other menstrual products.
The year before, 1925, a Hickory ad also
showed a woman stretching a belt with her hands but as a drawing. It would
be many years before ads showed women actually wearing
Below: The ad, reduced. See
enlargements below this picture.
Below: Two stylish Vassar students - Vassar
College was most people's idea
of a college for women for much of the 20th century, thus the pennant -
calmly assess a piece of menstrual gear, something
I doubt two "chums"
would do in the 1920s and rarely even today. But this is the
world of advertising.
Women visitors to the museum in my house
often told me MUM was the first occasion they
took to ever discuss menstruation
with anybody. Many had had no or little discussion with their mothers.
A future Museum of Menstruation could change that.
The belt is enormous, resembling the tool belt the men wore who
replaced my windows. But women had been used to wearing
clunky, restrictive things under their clothing and would wear them
for years to come.
And the pads of the time were very large,
nothing like today's smaller, high performance ones.
Below: Two text references, "a trying physical condition" and "sanitary pads" relate
the ad to menstruation but any women would know right away what it was about.
(Read more words and expressions
Ah, yes! The "time-honored [and hated] safety pin" disappeared
in tampons just a few years after this ad.
Sponges and cups also
lacked pins. But pins and pads marched on until the
near demise of belts in the 1970s. Certain panties replaced pins with other devices.
Read opinions from students in another
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