The Powerhouse acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the ancestral homelands upon which our museums are situated. We respect their Elders, past, present and future and recognise their continuous connection to Country.
2002/112/1 Sanitary pads, box of 12, 'Modess', paper / textile, Johnson & Johnson Pty Ltd, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1940-1950. Click to enlarge.

Box of 'Modess' sanitary pads by Johnson & Johnson Pty Ltd

Made
Modess sanitary towels were introduced to the Australian market by Johnson & Johnson in 1932. Disposable sanitary napkins were not entirely new, but Modess was an 'improved' product from the USA. A huge marketing campaign saw advertisements placed in leading women's magazines and the principal daily newspapers in all Australian states.

Johnson & Johnson also developed a set of coloured showcards for chemist shop window displays. The essence of the advertisements was 'style and quality', …

Summary

Object No.

2002/112/1

Object Statement

Sanitary pads, box of 12, 'Modess', paper / textile, Johnson & Johnson Pty Ltd, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1940-1950

Physical Description

Sanitary pads, box of 12, 'Modess', paper and textile, Johnson & Johnson Pty Ltd, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1940-1950.

A rectangular cardboard box containing 12 menstrual pads (also known as sanitary napkins or sanitary towels). The box is made of plain brown, unbleached cardboard and has a blue stenciled inscription on one side. The box is unopened but the pads are visible where the perforations of the box opening are coming apart. They are made of white absorbent material covered with white gauze.

Marks

Inscription on one side of box, stencilled or screenprinted in blue outline text"Modess / CONTENTS: 1 DOZEN PADS / WAR TIME CONTAINER / IN ORDER TO AVOID DISCLOSING / NATURE OF CONTENTS, TEAR AT / PERFORATION. / Johnson & Johnson / PTY. LTD. SYDNEY".

Dimensions

Width

174 mm

Depth

75 mm

Production

Notes

Made by Johnson & Johnson Pty Ltd, Sydney, Australia. The catalogue of the auction where this item was purchased lists it as '1941 army issue unopened "Modezz" [sic]'. Certainly the makers' label on the box states that it is a 'War Time Container', but there is no evidence to suggest it is army issue.

The label on the box states that it is a 'War Time Container', putting its date of manufacture in the vicinity of World War II, 1939-1945. Modess were first marekted in Australia in 1932 (ref. Red Chain Messenger, February 1932, p.2).

History

Notes

Purchased at an auction of mainly women's toiletries, accessories and ephemera in the Melbourne suburb of Bulleen on 28 July 2002. The material in this auction came from the collection of one Clement Graham, a private collector of ephemera.

Source

Credit Line

Purchased 2002

Acquisition Date

12 September 2002

Cite this Object

Harvard

Box of 'Modess' sanitary pads by Johnson & Johnson Pty Ltd 2022, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 9 February 2023, <https://ma.as/11080>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/11080 |title=Box of 'Modess' sanitary pads by Johnson & Johnson Pty Ltd |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=9 February 2023 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}