The History of the Menstrual Cup

Mar 062015
 

The History of the Menstrual CupMenstrual cups might seem like a totally new creation, but did you know that the modern menstrual cup and the disposable tampon were invented in the same decade? Women have been searching for the perfect period protection for millennia, but once we did find the ideal solution it still took nearly 80 years for menstrual cups to become popular. Here’s a quick rundown of the evolution of menstrual cups.

 

 

Early Devices

Women have been experimenting with internal period protection since ancient times – but in the late 19th and early 20th centuries the idea of using an internal cup to collect menstrual flow started to take hold. Many cup-like devices were patented in the US and abroad, some used flexible sacks to collect the fluid but others used metal cups – talk about uncomfortable! Most of the devices also required belts to hold them up, which meant they weren’t very discreet. Needless to say the majority of these devices were never sold commercially.

The 1930s – Leona Chalmers’ Patent

Leona Chalmers' Period Cup Patent

Leona Chalmers’ menstrual cup patent in 1937

In the 1930s several devices resembling the modern menstrual cup were patented. Leona Chalmers’s cup, patented in 1937, is regarded as the first commercial menstrual cup available for sale in the US. Her cup was made out of rubber and held in place by a woman’s pelvic floor muscles – no more bulky belts! The outbreak of World War II and the scarcity of rubber forced her to shut down production, and though she continued to sell the cups after the war it was difficult to convince women to make the switch. At the time menstruation, and indeed women’s bodies and sexuality in general, were a taboo subject, so touching your vagina was unthinkable for the majority of “proper” women.

The 1950s – A New Cup and an Education Plan

From the 1950s to the 1970s Chalmers partnered with a larger company to produce a new version of the cup called the Tassette, the company even created a disposable version of the cup (the Tassaway).  In order to combat the popularity of disposable pads and tampons, the company invested in a huge education campaign, sending discount offers to registered nurses and hiring them to give advice to women in drugstores around the country. They even had a 40 foot tall billboard in New York City’s Times Square, but women still weren’t comfortable being so intimate with their vaginas. Sadly in 1973 the company shut its doors and the cups were no longer available in the US.

The 1980s – A Slow Revival   

Over a decade after the Tassette company closed its doors a new latex rubber menstrual cup made its way on to the American market and beyond. The Keeper, made of brown rubber, carried on Leona Chalmers’ legacy and is still available today.

The 2000s – New Materials, Softer Menstrual Cups

The new millennium saw the rise of medical-grade silicone: a new material that is bacteria resistant and hypoallergenic – unlike latex, which many people are allergic to. This silicone was quickly adopted as the standard material for menstrual cups, both because of these benefits and because it is so much softer and more flexible, making the cup easier to fold and insert. Plus, the softer silicone makes the cup more comfortable to wear – no more hard rubber edges.

2014 – The Reinvention of the Menstrual Cup

The design of menstrual cups hadn’t changed much since the 1930s, and it wasn’t until Intimina’s 2012 introduction of the Lily Cup that menstrual cups began to evolve again. We completely rethought the shape of the cup so that it fit women better and found a medical-grade silicone that was much thinner, softer and, more flexible, making the Lily Cup so much more comfortable to wear.

However, the biggest evolution yet came in 2014 with our Lily Cup Compact – the first ever collapsible menstrual cup. This cup is made out of the same soft silicone, but it collapses flat and fits into a small case the size of a tin of lip balm, making it super easy to carry with you. It has brought menstrual cups into the mainstream and introduced more women to the benefits of reusable cups.

The Evolution of Menstrual Cups

Traditional cups vs Lily Cup and Lily Cup Compact.

So there you have it – the evolution of the menstrual cup from a bulky, belted device to a tiny compact that fits in your pocket. It took over 80 years for women to begin embracing cups, but now that they have the knowledge has spread like wildfire and there are finally better options for women. With this sudden burst of innovation who knows what menstrual cups will look like in 10 years? Keep an eye on this spot to find out.

 

Please note that advice offered by Intimina may not be relevant to your individual case. For specific concerns regarding your health, always consult your physician or other licensed medical practitioners.

Menstrual Cups Can Make You Stop Hating Your Period

According to Intimina Global Survey, women generally don’t like their period. Cramps, food cravings, bad mood, bursts of anger, bloating and decreased sex drive are just some of the side effects women experience during those days of the month. But not everything is so bad. The survey, in which more than a 1,000 women participated, [...]

Read more »

Are You Ready to Get Ziggy with It? Save 15%!

What do we love more than 12- hours of complete peace of mind when it comes to period protect? Why, a discount on the very cup that offers it!  We are, of course, talking about Ziggy Cup – the very first flat-fit cup from Intimina, and the only reusable menstrual cup that you can wear [...]

Read more »

Menstrual cup sketch

Can menstrual cup make sex better?

Period sex. It’s still a taboo for the most of us. Lots of ladies connect it with the worst – it’s bloody (literary), it’s messy, it’s just yucky, “what will my partner think if he sees it” awkward, and so on. Just a huge no-no. Better to just wait these few days, ignoring the heighten [...]

Read more »

Pink Week INTIMINA

Pink is the New Black – Grab an INTIMINA Menstrual Cup and Save During Pink Week!

Your period is a magical thing. It can nurture your self-care routine, create some seriously sizzling sexual chemistry, and help save the planet. So how, you might be wondering, can your monthly annoyance of cramps, bloating, and bleeding do all of this at once? It’s simple. Just switch from cumbersome pads or toxic tampons to [...]

Read more »

The Wacky PMS Symptoms Your Mom Never Warned You About

Does PMS really need some fancy introduction? Hell no! Anyone who’s menstruated already knows the basics of getting stuck with a case of pre-menstrual syndome, and we’ve boiled it down to simplicity: It. Freakin.’ Sucks! You’ve heard the stereotypical but oh-so-real symptoms of your Aunt Flo’s coming arrival: uterine cramps, headache, mood swings, bloating, back [...]

Read more »

Intimina Shares: Our First Period Stories

Ahh, menarche. It’s a beautiful moment that signals the beginning of our bodies’ maturation, and prepares us for our new lives as adults. Well, sorta, A first period will happen any time between 11 and 15 for most people* (though some will get theirs earlier or later, due to genetic or environmental reasons, including life [...]

Read more »

Gettin’ Ziggy With It! My First Time Trying a ‘Mess-Free Period Sex’ Menstrual Cup

Period sex– it’s the elephant in the (bed)room, the final frontier of vanilla intercourse, and quite possibly the big red stain on your pristine, white sheets. Your monthly flow has a thing for plot twists. One minute you’re running to the bathroom with cramps and constipation, the next you’re staring down your sex toy drawer [...]

Read more »

My First Time Trying Intimina Lily Cup One

Diary of a Leaky Lady: My First Time Trying Lily Cup One

The following is a personal review of Lily Cup One from one of our Intimina fans who tried one of our newest menstrual cups. As someone who can easily go through a regular tampon every 1.5 hours during the first 2 days of her period, you’d think that my first time using a menstrual cup [...]

Read more »

Natural_Cramp_Remedies

Dealing with Ouch Au Naturel – 5 Natural Remedies for Relieving Cramps

Are period cramps cramping your style? While reaching for a painkiller like ibuprofen can offer quick and efficient relief, you may have reasons to pass on the pills and be looking for natural remedies. (Certain painkillers, like Tylenol and Advil, can be rough on your liver and stomach (respectively) if taken in excess, but do [...]

Read more »

irregular-period

Irregular Periods & Ovulation: What You Need to Know

If you’re trying to conceive but wonder if your irregular periods will make it difficult, we have good news – irregular menstruation does not always mean you’re not ovulating regularly! While the average period comes every 28 days and lasts about 5, there is plenty of variation within this range that counts as ‘normal.’ When [...]

Read more »

  • Sign Up. It's Rewarding!
  • Join our newsletter list today.
  • Enjoy 10% off your first order.
  • *Email address
  •  Birthday
  • *Required field
      View our terms and conditions
INTIMINA uses cookies to improve our service to the customer. By continuing to browse our site, you agree to our use of cookies detailed here . ACCEPT