How period products have evolved over the past 100 years

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How period products have evolved over the past 100 years

We’re going on a journey through time to explore the remarkable evolution of period products over the past 100 years. From the roaring 20’s to the modern era, get ready to be amazed by the advancements that have transformed the way we manage our periods.

Period products through time

1920s: The Age of the Humble Cloth

Our adventure begins in the roaring 1920s, an era when period products were far from what we know today. Back then, reusable cloth pads were the go-to option for managing menstrual flow. These washable cotton or linen pads were folded, secured with safety pins, and placed inside a specially designed belt. It was like an intricate origami project every month!

1930s – 1950s: Hello, Adhesive and Hello, Tampons!

As we journey through the mid-20th century, we reach a monumental breakthrough: The invention of the Tampon! In 1931 Earle Haas patented the first applicator tampon, which was soon purchased by female entrepreneur Gertrude Tendrich (founder of Tampax!). 

During this time, we also saw adhesive strips for sanitary products join the market. In the 1940s and 1950s, adhesive-backed pads hit the market, eliminating the need for belts and safety pins. This development brought newfound freedom and ease, making it simpler for women to go about their daily lives during their periods.

1960s-1970s: The Rise of Tampons

The 1960s and 1970s witnessed the rise in popularity of tampons, providing an alternative to pads. With compact, discreet designs and applicators, tampons offered greater mobility and convenience. 

The introduction of tampons with plastic applicators in the 1970s made insertion even easier and more comfortable. Women were no longer limited in their activities during that time of the month. They were free to dance, swim, and do whatever made them feel empowered!

1980s-1990s: Innovation and Choices

As we approach the colourful era of the 1980s and 1990s, period products continued to evolve with innovations and an expanding range of choices. 

Menstrual cups, made of medical-grade silicone, gained popularity as a sustainable and reusable option. These flexible cups collect menstrual fluid internally, providing a longer-lasting and eco-friendly alternative to disposable pads and tampons.

Thinner and more absorbent pads entered the market, providing enhanced comfort and discretion. Wings on the sides of pads also made their debut, ensuring better leak protection. 

The world of period products was opening up, and women had more options than ever before to suit their unique needs and preferences.

The 21st Century: High-Tech Helpers

Welcome to the modern era, where period products have gone high-tech! In recent years, menstrual innovations have taken a futuristic turn, offering an array of cutting-edge options. 

Period underwear, designed with absorbent layers and moisture-wicking properties, has gained popularity for its comfort and convenience. These innovative undies eliminate the need for additional products, providing a hassle-free and sustainable solution.

Another revolutionary development is the rise of period tracking apps, which help women keep tabs on their cycles, predict ovulation, and track symptoms. With just a few taps on a smartphone, you can now have valuable insights into your menstrual health at your fingertips.


As we gaze into the future, it’s clear that the period product landscape will continue to evolve. We can expect to see even more sustainable options, increased focus on comfort and customisation, and greater accessibility for all menstruators worldwide.

From washable cloths to high-tech wonders, the journey of period products over the past century is truly remarkable. We’ve come a long way, breaking barriers and empowering women to embrace their periods with confidence and comfort.

So, let’s celebrate the progress made and the options available to us today. Whether you’re a fan of disposable pads and tampons or prefer more sustainable cost-effective solutions like menstrual cups or period pants, there’s a period product out there for every unique individual.

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