|Tracing the History of the Condom
Many people make the mistake of concluding that condoms are of fairly recent origin. In fact, precursors to the modern day condom can be traced back thousands of years. In fact, the earliest evidence of condom usage goes back to ancient Egypt some four to five thousand years ago. The ancient Egyptians utilized condoms to prevent the spread of diseases and infections.
Interestingly, during these ancient times it was the prevention of disease and infection that the use of condoms focused on – a goal of the use of condoms that is extremely important in this day and age as well. During the early years of condom usage, there were numerous schools of thought as to the cause of pregnancy and the use of condoms was not always intertwined with preventing pregnancy by all doctors or experts in the field.
Condoms likely were used in Europe from the time the earliest people started settling in the area. By the 16th century, the use of linen sheaths by European doctors was recommended to protect against syphilis. While linen sheaths were commonplace, other materials also were in fairly wide use when it came to 16th century condoms, including tortoiseshell and leather, fish bladders, animal gut and oiled paper. The effectiveness of these different materials varied.
There are two schools of thought pertaining to the manner in which the condom got its name. One theory is that its name is derived from the Latin word for receptacle, which is condus. The second theory is that condom got its name from the physician to English King Charles II, Dr. Quondam or Dr. Condom. He made condoms for the King using animal gut.
Casanova, the legendary lady's man, is said to have called his condom “redingote anglaise,” which translates most accurately to English riding coat (which supports the idea that the condom may indeed have been named after the King's doctor).
When the rubber Vulcanization process was created by Goodyear, it became possible to mass produce condoms in a very inexpensive fashion. Vulcanization turns rubber into a strong, elastic material which is ideal for condoms, of course. As a result of condoms being made through the rubber Vulcanization process, these products won over a new moniker: rubber. Indeed, many people to this very day still refer to condoms as rubbers.
Liquid latex eventually supplanted Vulcanized rubber when it came to the mass production of condoms. Indeed, this is the favored process for manufacturing the vast majority of condoms used in most countries the world over in the 21st century. Latex condoms are considered to be the best type of condom when it comes to preventing pregnancy and preventing the spread of disease.
Research continues today to find manufacturing processes through which even better condoms can be created. The goal of course is to create the most durable and effective condom possible to ensure the prevention of disease and pregnancy. Research and development remains a significant commitment on the part of a number of leading condom manufacturers in the world today.
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