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97/73/1 Condom, washable, in box with directions, 'Reliance De-Luxe Sheath', rubber / talcum powder / paper / cardboard, possibly made by Reliance Rubberware, England, 1930-1940. Click to enlarge.

Washable condom with packaging

Made
Washable rubber condoms are no longer sold, but some pharmacists can remember stocking them as recently as the 1960s. Using a washable condom was a matter of caution (they were thicker than ordinary condoms) and thriftiness (they could be re-used). This 'Reliance De-Luxe Sheath' probably dates from the 1930s. It comes in its own box and is coated with talcum powder to protect the rubber. The accompanying instruction sheet explains how to wash and dry it after use and adds, 'Should it become …

Summary

Object No.

97/73/1

Object Statement

Condom, washable, in box with directions, 'Reliance De-Luxe Sheath', rubber / talcum powder / paper / cardboard, possibly made by Reliance Rubberware, England, 1930-1940

Physical Description

Rubber condom of the type that could be washed and re-used, liberally coated with talcum powder and packaged in a blue cardboard box together with a leaflet entitled "Seamless Paragon protective" that includes "Directions for use".

Marks

Sticker on box lid, red, printed in black, 'RELIANCE DE-LUXE SHEATH / Seamless. Guaranteed Perfect in quality and make / Powder and directions enclosed.'

Dimensions

Width

70 mm

Depth

25 mm

Production

Possibly made

Notes

The box is labelled "Reliance De-Luxe Sheath" but the instruction sheet is headed "Seamless Paragon Protective" and states that the "appliance" is "made by British Labour only".

Curator and Mr Hill estimate that the product was manufactured in the 1930s.

History

Notes

The two condoms in this acquisition were purchased in England in 1996 by Mr Brian Hill, an apothecary collector and dealer, and subsequently sold to the Powerhouse Museum for possible use in the 'Taking precautions' exhibition. Both condoms (the washable condom, and the latex condom in a brown envelope) were in the "Reliance" box when Mr Hill purchased them from another dealer. The relationship between the two condoms is not known. Possibly they were both kept for safekeeping in the same box by the original owner/user.

Source

Credit Line

Purchased 1997

Acquisition Date

19 March 1997

Cite this Object

Harvard

Washable condom with packaging 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 6 August 2021, <https://ma.as/158914>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/158914 |title=Washable condom with packaging |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=6 August 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}