24 March 2011

Contraceptive sponge. May be useful for treating athlete's foot...

From the collections of the Science Museum, London.
Sponges were widely used as contraceptives in the 1800s and 1900s. They were used in conjunction with liquids thought to have spermicidal properties... These included quinine and olive oil. This marine sponge was held in cotton netting to aid its extraction. During the 1950s and 1960s, sponges were often advertised under ‘feminine hygiene’ rather than contraception as for some parts of society contraception was a taboo. Many spermicidals were of little contraceptive value. Some even doubled as household cleaners. One was advertised as a dual treatment for ‘successful womanhood’ (contraception) and athlete’s foot.
And a hat tip to Kingdom Studies for finding this relevant advertisement.


  1. Lysol used to be used as a spermacide.

  2. I wonder if the 'household cleaner' bit was said the same way that people say 'personal massager' today. I'm going to assume no-one made the mistake of using such an item for both purposes!

  3. No, I think blitherypoop was correct - that Lysol was used both as a household cleaner and as a (relatively ineffective) spermicide.

  4. A site dedicated to the subject:


  5. Thanks, Kingdom Studies. I've added the link to the post.


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