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2000/21/1 Menstrual cup, with packaging, disposable, 'Instead SoftCup', thermoplastic, Ultrafem Inc, United States of America, 1996. Click to enlarge.

'Instead SoftCup' disposable menstrual cup

'Instead SoftCup' is one of the most recent menstrual products to have been developed. Made of modern thermoplastic material it is, however, based on an idea that is not new. Different kinds of menstrual cups have been manufactured since at least the 1930s, but generally have not been a marketing success. 'Instead' cups were first released in the USA in 1996, and the manufacturer's main claims were that they moulded to a woman's internal shape, creating a seal that protected against leakage, …


Object No.


Object Statement

Menstrual cup, with packaging, disposable, 'Instead SoftCup', thermoplastic, Ultrafem Inc, United States of America, 1996

Physical Description

Menstrual cup, disposable, 'Instead SoftCup', thermoplastic, Ultrafem Inc., United States of America, 1996.

The cup consists of a firm but flexible pink ring to which is attached, a loose, translucent diaphragm or 'cup'. The object is considered disposable, for single use only. The purple wrapper is square in shape having first been folded and heat sealed to create a centre fold, then each open end heat sealed to form a packet. It was originally one in a box of six individually wrapped cups. The wrapper has been cut open along one edge to access the cup.

Photocopied advertising material is included in the blue file.



When the 'Instead SoftCup' was first released in the USA in 1996, the manufacturer sent a packet to Harry Finley for his Museum of Menstruation in Washington DC. As a consequence of his correspondence with the curator of health and medicine, Megan Hicks, Mr Finley donated one of the individually wrapped cups from this packet to the Powerhouse.


Credit Line

Gift of Mr Harry Finley, Museum of Menstruation, USA

Acquisition Date

13 February 2000

Cite this Object


'Instead SoftCup' disposable menstrual cup 2022, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 28 November 2022, <>


{{cite web |url= |title='Instead SoftCup' disposable menstrual cup |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=28 November 2022 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}