It is believed that a form of modern-day condoms were used by the Egyptians as far back as 1,000 B.C.
The earliest evidence of condom use in Europe are scenes from cave paintings at Combarelles in France. Dated 100 to 200 AD.
The first known published description and trials regarding prophylactic condom use were recorded by the Italian Gabrielle Fallopius in the 1500's. He claimed to have invented a sheath made of linen and conducted trials amongst 1,100 men using the condom - none of who became infected with syphilis.
The origin of the word 'condom' is still unknown. Folklore attributes the invention to Dr. Condom or Conton, who was at the court of King Charles II in the 1600's. It is more likely, however, that the name derives from the Latin "condus", meaning receptacle.
The condom, made of animal gut, became well known and increased in popularity in the 1700's. Literature of that time suggests that the condom's contraceptive (rather than just prophylactic) properties had already been realised. By 1766 many shops were producing handbills and advertisements.
Japanese are known to have used two types of condom. The 'Kawagata' or 'Kyotai' was made of thin leather and the 'Kabutogata' was made from tortoiseshell or horn.
Documentation also suggests that legendary 19th Century lover Casanova was a regular user of this type of contraception. He referred to condoms as 'Redingote Anglaise' (English Riding Coat).
The rubber condom was developed shortly after the creation of vulcanized rubber in the 1840's, by Goodyear and Hancock. Vulcanisation is the method or process of treating crude rubber with sulphur and subjecting it to intense heat. This process turns the rubber into a strong elastic material.
In the 1930's liquid latex manufacturing superseded crepe rubber. It is still the basis for manufacture today.
In the 1990's new technology has considerably improved the condom and enabled the production of far more sophisticated versions. To see out the latest in condom technology CLICK HERE!
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