Story: Contraception and sterilisation

Early reusable condom (1st of 6)

Early reusable condom

This reusable condom dates from the 1950s. Condom manufacturing was revolutionised by the invention of rubber vulcanisation by Charles Goodyear (founder of the Goodyear tyre company) and Thomas Hancock in 1844. This made it possible to mass-produce rubber goods, including condoms, quickly and cheaply. Vulcanisation turns rubber into a strong elastic material. However, the rubber on finer condoms tended to perish on the sea journey to New Zealand. Thicker condoms such as this one were more reliable but less comfortable to wear.

Courtesy of Family Planning, Dame Margaret Sparrow Collection

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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Photograph by Marguerite Hill

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How to cite this page:

Jane Tolerton, 'Contraception and sterilisation - Early 20th-century methods', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 18 April 2024)

Story by Jane Tolerton, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 7 Dec 2018