Military medicine: Bandage developed in First World War gave rise to sanitary towels

Sanitary towels came about thanks to dressings used in the First World War

Medical breakthroughs that began on the battlefield.

This week: Sanitary towels

AS THE First World War started taking its brutal toll, a US manufacturer of paper products came up with a new bandage that was five times more absorbent than ordinary cotton, and a lot cheaper to make.

The dressings were made of wood pulp and were hugely popular with doctors treating the wounded.

As the war drew to a close in 1918 and demand for bandages fell, the company began to receive letters from army nurses saying that the dressings also made excellent sanitary towels for women.

So the company rebranded the bandage and then sold it as female sanitary product in the US in 1920, and worldwide soon after.

This was the first product available to women specifically to help with menstruation.

© Solo dmg media

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