More Midol: Midol ad, 1938
See its competitor from Kotex, Kurb.
See Midols ads from newspapers, 1911-1961.
Midol tins
CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
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Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.

Midol menstrual pain reliever magazine ads, U.S.A.,
1939, 1948 and 1960 &
The pain-killer Gay (during and before the 1940s?)

The woman in the 1939 ad, below left, can't be picking out her first Midol pill because she's already feeling great - she's smiling! Poor Betty (far right below, 1960), on the other hand, hasn't had her first one yet - but scroll down and look what happens to her after she takes a few: she's GAY! But she's smiling so it can't be that bad.

The word "Gay" appears in the 1948 ad but not so personally. And strangely enough, the closest the '48 text gets to "menstruation" is "periodic," whereas the other two use "menstruation."

There's been a tremendous change in the everyday meaning of the word "gay" in the past 58 years. Midol would not have dared to use the word if it had implied homosexuality to the average person, a taboo subject then. And I'd bet you a million bucks they would not use the word today. But the word did indeed mean homosexual to some people in the 1960s and way before then. The Online Etymology Dictionary (here) traces the fascinating history of the word, which often had undertones of sex and promiscuity reaching back to the 19th century. And it meant "brilliant, showy" as far back as around 1300.

Not only did Midol make Betty gay - see the ad below right - but a whole brand named Gay made swallowers gay; see below. Not necessarily homosexual but happy. What fodder for the arguments about the origins of homosexuality!

After 21 years Midol still showed an open tin of pills with one already out. But note that Betty's "outed" pill - oh, that's a good one, huh? - doesn't come from right behind it in the tin box: there's no space. Why do I worry about such things?

Midol took care to conceal menstrual topics; it states that it will send the reader a booklet explaining menstruation in a "plain wrapper." Today people get junk mailings of menstrual pads and tampons.

See Midols ads from newspapers, 1911-1961, and two Midol containers.
See Midol tins, 1911-1970s.
I thank the person who generously sent the scan of the 1939 ad.
 1939 1948   1960

Below: Is this drug responsible for lesbians?? How could it be any more explicit? Even the color is purple. Except that its only ingredient, acetphenetidin, is "analgesic, antipyretic and [has] cardiac depressant effects" according to the 1913 handbook quoted at right. And, of course, "gay" decades ago meant cheerful - most of the time (see discussion at the top of this page).
My guess is that Gay was produced during or before the early 1940s because there is no number code in the address (which started in the early 40s) and the logo typography looks art deco to me, which flourished in the 1930s.
And the word analgesic required explanation, which I don't think would have happened in the past few decades.
And 13 cents is an oddball price but maybe not when pennies were worth a lot more than today.

Once, in first grade, I found a roll of 50 pennies on the ground. Oh, boy, I cashed it in for a huge amount of candy! Did I tell anyone? Chicken got teeth? I won't say what year but a penny was a penny then.

Lessee, where was I.

Oh: the package, which I didn't open, contains many pills.
The paper packet measures 2 1/4 x 3 1/2" (5.6 x 8.9 cm).
I thank Procter & Gamble, which donated this and many other items from its archives.
Below: The ingredient, acetphenetidin, "occurs as white, crystalline scales or a crystalline powder. It is odorless and tasteless. It is only slightly soluble in water (1:925) but soluble in alcohol (1:12). . . .
"Action and Uses: These are similar to those of acetanilid, but it is supposed to be somewhat safer. Its analgesic, antipyretic and cardiac depressant effects, like those of acetanilid, are due to the formation of paraaminophenol, and its possible advantage over acetanilid is probably due to the fact that this decomposition occurs more slowly. It is best administered in the form of powders, cachets or capsules.
"Since the enactment of the Food and Drugs Act, June 30, 1906, acetphenetidin has frequently displaced acetanilid as the active agent in proprietary mixtures for the relief of headache and other pain. Its relation to acetanilid suggests similar caution in its use.
"Dosage: A full dose is 0.50 gm. or 712 grains. It is well to begin with 0.30 gm. or 5 grains, and repeat every three hours if needed for a few doses. When small doses fail to relieve headache, larger doses are also usually ineffective." (From A Handbook of Useful Drugs, 1913, at
Handbook-of-Useful-Drugs/Acetphenetidinum-Acetphenetidin-U-S-P-Phenacet.html )

See more Midol newspaper ads, 1911-1961, and excerpts from a Midol booklet, 1959. See its competitor from Kotex, Kurb.
See Midol tins, 1911-1970s.