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Condom History


The invention of the condom is controversial. The most popular story says that the condom was named for a British physician who lived during the reign of Charles II (1660-85). Some suggest "condom" come from Italian "guanto" (glove). Condom also may be derived from the Latin word Condus, Latin for receptacle.

There is evidence that condoms were used by the ancient Egyptians and in Roman times. In 1500's when the syphilis epidemic spread across Europe. The predecessor to the modern condom was to be first developed by the personal physcian of King Charles II (1660-85), the Earl of Condom, as a prophylactic for syphilis. The condoms were made of fish oil and sheep intestine. Condoms made out of animal intestines were available around 1700 AD.

Charles Goodyear invented the process of vulcanization in 1837. In the 19th century condoms began to be manufactured from vulcanized rubber. Condoms were washed after sex to reuse them again and again until they cracked or split.

Latex manufacturing processes improved in the 1930s to produce a thin, pliant and inexpensive product. From then on, condoms could be cheaply mass-produced and meant for single use.

In the early 50's condoms were made more consumer friendly with the introduction of the reservoir tip and the sensation-deadening condom designed to end premature ejaculation.

Condom use declined markedly during the 1960s as the birth control pill was introduced and contraceptive devices such as IUDs became more widely accepted.

With the emergence of HIV/AIDS in the 1980's condom became recognized as an important means of disease prevention.