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Just For The Fun Of It
August 18, 2012 6:30 AM   Subscribe

Collector's Weekly offers us a history of the condom in the United States.
posted by gman (22 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
I sometimes wonder how different American History might be if Comstock had decided to obsessively fixate on ridding the world of dysentery rather than sex.
posted by The Whelk at 6:38 AM on August 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Those tin designs are great. Bet every guy out there bought Sphinx, uh, toothbrushes...
posted by Foci for Analysis at 6:39 AM on August 18, 2012


"Collector's Weekly"? Are there people who collect condoms?
posted by madcaptenor at 6:43 AM on August 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Please. Who doesn't have a Conquest Jar? Oh, you mean unopened ones.
posted by gman at 6:47 AM on August 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


mom-and-pop condom companies

YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!
posted by yoink at 7:14 AM on August 18, 2012 [19 favorites]


Recently went to a little hole-in-the-wall bar wherein the toilet was pretty much a literal hole in the wall, with a door on it. It had the oldest condom machine I had ever seen -- from at least the '60s -- covered with graffiti. On the dispenser slot, someone had written FOR REFUND, INSERT BABY HERE.

As a woman, I always found something strangely dehumanizing about "explicit" sexual ads and pop illustration from before the 1960s. (There's plenty depressing about it post-1960s, too, but that's neither here nor there.) It evokes this wonderland of heterosexuality that doesn't seem to have any sentient women in it. I'm particularly disturbed by the image of Donald Duck just coming upon a pinup-quality woman lying half-asleep in the woods, all "And me without a PRO!" The idea of Donald Duck having sex with this woman is bad enough as it is, but she was just lying there, not apparently cognizant of the existence of cartoon ducks at all, while said duck laments to the Fourth Wall that it would be unsafe to him to copulate with her.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:30 AM on August 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


Who doesn't have a Conquest Jar?

Anyone with a nose, I assume.
posted by Mezentian at 8:13 AM on August 18, 2012


Brandon Blatcher: Jesus, trigger warning please!

I've thought and I've looked, and okay, I give. What are the triggers there, and what are they triggering?

Countess Elena: Your comment reminded me of this propaganda poster, which always struck me as creepy, though not for the same reasons. And searching for it on-line turned this one and this one, both from this amazing thread. (Authenticity not guaranteed.)
posted by benito.strauss at 8:58 AM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Many years ago I had cause to use American condoms. Trojans, I believe they were. They were TOO SMALL.

The amazing thing is, I'm not even kidding. I'm going to assume you guys aren't less-than-well endowed, you just like your Johnnies tight as fuck and only over the top 2/3 of your dick. Must be something like that because I'm no giant. You really are odd people.
posted by Decani at 9:06 AM on August 18, 2012


I have always thought this is the most memorable "WTF?" condom of yore. The "for prevention of disease" line gives me the cold shivers.

There's another brand on the site--whether for condoms or for "potency" suppositories or the Radioendocrinator, I can't remember which--that uses the marketing line "Strength of iron; energy of radium."

I always end up contemplating those "health enhancers" in quiet horror.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 9:24 AM on August 18, 2012


Condom production ballooned after 1839

Oh come now!
posted by Splunge at 9:25 AM on August 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Condom production ballooned after 1839, when Charles Goodyear’s method of rubber vulcanization kick-started modern latex technologies in the United States.

My undergrad Western Civ professor honest-to-god maintained that the vulcanization of rubber was the most important historical event (in terms of socio-cultural influence) of the last 200 years.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:44 AM on August 18, 2012


+1 on the American condom conundrum. My experience of them is similar - and also, alas, includes the only catastrophic failure I've had (and no morning-after pill available in the US at the time, leading to a close friend doing some emergency Fedexing at some considerable cost to her dignity).

There are various tales of condom size being used to intimidate groups of people - labelling large condoms as small before sending them as medical supplies, for example, but I don't know if any of those are true. It's a rich source of comedy, mind.
posted by Devonian at 10:39 AM on August 18, 2012


America sure got a raw deal in the Comstock Act, huh? Few bills have had such lasting negative consequence for this country, I think. Prohibition, perhaps. The Controlled Substances Act, perhaps. It's funny how the ones that come to mind are all moralizing attempts to tell people what they should and shouldn't do on the basis of some nebulous idea that it's anti-social or otherwise morally unacceptable.
posted by Scientist at 12:30 PM on August 18, 2012


Who doesn't have a Conquest Jar?

Anyone with a nose, I assume.


Or anyone who is not so self-centered and disdainful of his/her partners as to view sex as an act of conquest.

I know you were joking, gman. No hate.
posted by Scientist at 12:36 PM on August 18, 2012


The idea of Donald Duck having sex with this woman is bad enough as it is

I think it was a sly reference to Leda and the swan.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:13 PM on August 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


What are the triggers there, and what are they triggering

The conquest jar.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:16 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Excellent history, but it sort of ends in the 70's. In the early 90's the condom became a prop in a sideshow stunt still being performed to this day.
posted by Tube at 1:23 PM on August 18, 2012


The conquest jar.

I guess some comments have been removed?
posted by benito.strauss at 1:58 PM on August 18, 2012


No, they're in your knapsack.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:04 PM on August 18, 2012


Or a smelly jar of fail.
posted by Splunge at 7:35 PM on August 18, 2012


Those tins are pretty awesome; it would be nice if they were readily available now.

Decani writes "I'm going to assume you guys aren't less-than-well endowed, you just like your Johnnies tight as fuck and only over the top 2/3 of your dick. Must be something like that because I'm no giant. "

Trojan condoms are 7-8" long. If that's only covering 2/3rds of your dick you are well above average.
posted by Mitheral at 11:45 PM on August 18, 2012


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