A little history…

Statuete égyptienne vieille de 6.000 ans
The use of the condom goes back to several millenia. 6.000 years an old Egyptian statuette shows already an Egyptian provided with a "case" anti-contraceptive. During the XIX dynasty (1350 - 1200 before our era) the "condom" in flax was intended to protect itself from the diseases.
Egyptian statuette
6.000 year old

Egyptien de la XIX Dynastie
Case Egyptian anti-contraceptive of the XIX Dynasty (1350 - 1200 before our era)
The first obviousness of the use of the "condom" in Europe goes up towards 100-200 of our era, on cave paintings at Combarelles in France.
The existence of the condom is specified around 10th century of our era in Asia. The Chinese choose the tissue paper oiled and the Japanese know under the name of Kabuta-gata, of the accessories manufactured in scales of tortoises or leather which one arranged in "merry boxes". These condoms could, thanks to their rigidity, just as easily to serve as godemichés
Boîte Joyeuse
    Merry box with in the center the "Kabuta-gata" in scale of tortoise
Gabriel Fallope
The first publication known concerning the description of tests of prophylactic use of condoms comes from Italy. It is the anatomist and Italian surgeon Gabriel Fallopio, born in Modena in 1523, which is the inventor of the "light fabric sleeve, made to measure, to protect from the venereal diseases". It also carried out tests on 1.100 men using the condom, any of these men not having been infected by the "French decay" or syphilis. Until his death in 1562, this surgeon raises of Vesale, occupied in Padoue the pulpit of anatomy and surgery; he was called Esculape of his century and had to look after Jules II and François 1st.

The Spallanzani abbot, towards the end of the XVIII° century had observed that the installation on male frogs of small pants of waxed flax did not prevent the coupling but prohibited any fecundation. On the other hand, the addition to the eggs of the male fluid contained in the pants involved fecundation… It forms to him also part of the découvreurs of the male condom.

Having been recognized useful for the prevention of the infections, it is only later than its utility against the nondesired pregnancies will be recognized later in the current of the century, an improvement will be brought to the condom, when the flax is soaked in a chemical solution and then dried before employment. They were the first spermicides on the condoms.

Préservatif de 1700
Condom in flax of the beginning
18th century

All started, on the commercial level, with the international conference opened in Utrecht in 1712 and which was to succeed, one year later, with the signature of a treaty putting an end at the war of succession of Spain. The town of Utrecht, literally invaded several months by statesmen and high-ranking persons from Spain, of England, of France etc… attracted a crowd of gallant ladies. These ladies came to distract these Messrs, they opened houses or accepted the diplomats in their apartments.
Unfortunately, several of them had brought, in their luggage, some venereal diseases. The thing not being a secrecy, a craftsman have the idea to treat with its way the caecum of sheep, whose parchment manufacturers drew from the fine and transparent films to facilitate the cicatrization of the ulcerated wounds and the burns. Taking again an old process, it used this caecum of sheep by preserving its shape of sleeve to him and by closing it on a side; it obtained a condom thus. Thanks to him, one can then buy this article in a shop located at the angle of Beynijn Hof…
Préservatif du 18ème siècle en boyau de mouton
Condom in caecum of sheep decorated with a ribbon

As soon as the conference was finished, all the diplomats regained their countries and several British personalities brought back, in remembering, some specimens of these small protective armours.

Industrialists and businessmen decided to manufacture and put on sale, under the name of "Condom", these apparatuses of hygiene. "Condom" was a transcription of the Latin verb "Condere" which means "to hide or protect ".


In 1725, French, L-M. Marie went on a journey in England and told on his return in France that it had seen in London "two large and beautiful shops in the busiest streets, with young ladies who dealt openly with the manufacture of these small bags".

In 1736, in its De Morbis venereis, Doctor Jean Astruc speaks about these discharged which "' for some time uses made bags of a fine membrane and without seam, about the called shape of a case… English hoods".

An English engraving of 1744 shows workmen preparing of the Condoms. In 1750, a hawker named Jardin was condemned to relegation after seven months of imprisonment to be found carrying "28 Condoms of bladder bordered of a small red ribbon".

Publicité du Gros Millan pour sa maison de confiance fondée en 1780
The word “préservatif” appeared in a discrete advertisement in 1780, when the "House of Large Millan" opened its doors in Paris to the 22 of the street Beaujolais, in the Palais Royal, significant center of prostitution at the time. Its leaflet gives the following precise details:"Fabric of condoms of any safety… bindings, suspending rods, articles of hygiene… discrete exportation in France and the foreigner".

The "préservatif" word was quickly replaced by "English Frock coat". One finds this name in the first edition of the "Correspondence of Mrs Gourdan". Mrs Gourdan, known as the "Small Countess" was one of the most famous tenancières of house of vice of the XVIII° century and one will not be astonished by reading in this work a letter which addressed to him an advised tradesman on April 7, 1783:

" I have with your service, Madam, a preservative water for venereal diseases etc… and of the Frock coats of England".

This famous correspondence of Gourdan was actually only one lampoon but the text of this false letter proves that the customers of this matrone, noble lords and ecclesiastical dignitaries, used readily condoms which

Gravure de 1760
"A la capote angloise", first condomery!
Engraving of 1760

they called "Frock coats of England".

In his "Memories Secrecies", Louis Petit of Bachaumont specifies that on October 3, 1783, during a gallant supper, the hostess had delicacy to make distribute of the "Redingottes of England" to her guests…

Préservatif brodé
Made of an animal intestine, this French condom of approximately 20 centimeters and dating from the beginning of XIX century has a silk ribbon enabling him to be maintained on the sex. But what makes this piece a historical part is the scene present on the condom: a nun the finger pointing to three ecclesiastics in erection, announces his future lover: "Here is my choice!"
Casanova soufflant dans un condom

The Marquis de Sade, Casanova and the libertines of the XVIII° century served of the idea as preventive antivénérien but well quickly the object passed from the "evil hauntes" and the alcove of adultery to the marital bed where it replaced the "withdrawal".

Sade uses the term of "Condom" in the third dialogue of "Philosophy in the Boudoir":

Above, Casanova surrounded well breath in a condom. Below, on this engraving of 1744, the lady blows into a condom to check its reliability.
Gravure de 1744

Others oblige their lovers to use a small bag of skin of bladder, vulgarly named Condom, in which the seed runs without risk to achieve the goal…!".

In 1776, certain Mrs. Philipps published in London an advertisement announcing that its shop was always equipped with these "safety devices which ensured the health of its customers"…


Out of animal membrane, the condoms could be reparable. The following text, going back to 1908, is the proof: "If the worked membrane were slightly perforated, then one stops the holes by sticking membranous scraps top and similar condoms are often sold without guarantees. One realizes these recoveries with the particular glare of the adhesive when one examines the membrane on the side of the final improvements inside the hood. Moisture often detaches during the coitus, the parts stuck on the holes and the membrane even best mended can then tear completely at the time when are integrity imports more ".

Nobody had thought of discussing the etymology of the substantive "Condom" when in 1817, the German doctor François Xavier Swediaur, born in Austria in 1748, affirmed that this name of Condom was that of the inventor of the ustensil, Doctor Condom, English doctor of the XVIII° century. This Doctor Swediaur Was Famous; he was installed in Paris since the first days of the Revolution, after having worked in London and having published many French and English, Latin works. Bound with Danton, it was made naturalize French. Specialist in the venereal diseases, his oe uvre principal published in 1798 is a "complete Treaty of the syphilitic diseases". There was no question of refusing the version of such an eminent specialist and the history of the Doctor condom was adopted by the encyclopedists and authors of Dictionaries: Pierre Larousse, Louis-Nicolas Bescherelle, Emile Littré… It is known today that this Doctor Condom never existed elsewhere than in the inventive spirit of Swediaur.

Another version of the etymological origin of the condom affirms that this invention would be the fact of the butchers of the slaughter-houses of the town of Condom, with the coe ur of Gers (crossed by the Baïse river) which had the idea, thanks to pieces of intestines of animals, to be guarded against the venereal diseases. If the slaughter-houses, and thus the butchers, were particularly numerous in the area, nothing makes it possible to affirm that the latter responsible for are discovered word or object which is attached to it.
The name condom given to its sleeves would be, in fact, the simple transcription of the name condum, chosen by the English and coming from the Latin verb condere, which means to hide, to protect.

The names of "Condom" and "English Frock coat" in the language running were replaced by "English Hood", still employed nowadays. One meets it as of the Second Empire in the first towards one of poetries of Theophilus Gautier, published clandestinely in Brussels in 1864, under the title/titre of "Parnassus satyric of the XIX° century ".In 1887, this name "Hoods English" appears in the "Newspaper of Goncourt" in connection with Victor Hugo:
" Leon Daudet, who accompanies me and which attended the opening of the house of Hugo, said that the cupboards were crammed " English Hoods "of a gigantic format… and that it was awkward to make them disappear in the presence from Mrs Hugo…!".

Publicité pour l'Inusable
The rubber condom was born him after the invention from vulcanization by Goodyear in 1839. In 1844 Goodyear and Hancock the mass production of condoms starts makes containing vulcanized rubber. Vulcanization is a process which makes the raw rubber in product elastic very resistant. The rubber condoms of the beginning of the century were washable and reusable "… if one wants to be useful oneself of a rubber condom on several occasions, it is necessary initially to choose it larger because of its contracting and to wash it in a solution of sublimated and to wipe it with each time one was useful oneself about it. After a blowing of air to make sure of his integrity and his resistance and to remove the folds, one powders the condom using lyocopode bought with pharmacy or of talc which one gets in the merchant of color, and after having turned and having turned over the condom in this powder, one rolls up it on two fingers
to preserve it safe from the light, of heat and the cold excessive. It is also necessary to preserve the rubber of the contact with the greasy substances (oils, greases, petroleum jelly, paraffin), the phenic acid, etc, which would dissolve it… "(Lip Tay, work of 1908 on sexual safeguarding).
About 1880, the first latex condom is produced but it would be necessary to wait the years 1930 so that its use is spread.
Préservatif 1880
At the beginning of the 20th century "the Practice existed also a female condom" which known a great success. Meanwhile disappeared to reappear in 1992 under the name of "Femidon".
Préservatif féminin du début du siècle