A condom (1640 CE) made from ‘Pig Intestines’, was found during archaeological excavations in city of Lund, Sweden. It is considered as the oldest specimen of condom in the world.

Margie Jones
30/11/2023

Condoms are the oldest form of barrier contraception used by men.

The artefact in the image is conservated in The Pharmacy Museum of Lisboa. Image by I’m an Explorer

The earliest description of them was made by the Italian anatomist Gabrielle Falloppio in 1564, who claimed to have invented a linen sheet made to fit the glans and it was worn to protect from syphilis.

The oldest condoms ever found so far are dated between 1642 and 1647. They were probably made from pig or sheep intestines. They were found during an Archaeological excavation in the cesspit of Dudley Castle in West Midlands, England.

Casanova mentioned condoms several times in his memories calling them the English Overcoat. By the 18th century, condoms have gained certain popularity both for their prophylactic function and as a contraceptive.

The condoms were made from animal intestines, they were quite expensive and they were reused over and over again.

This is the mid-19th century recipe for condoms: “Take the caecum of the sheep; soak it first in water, turn it on both sides, then repeat the operation in a weak ley (solution) of soda, which must be changed every four or five hours, for five or six successive times; then remove the mucous membrane with the nail; sulphur, wash in clean water, and then in soap and water; rinse, inflate and dry. Next, cut it to the required length and attach a piece of ribbon to the open end. Used to prevent infection or pregnancy.”

The cheap production of condoms started in 1844 with the vulcanization of the rubber, latex was then introduced in 1930.

 

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