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Mid-Nineteenth-Century Condom

Historical societies collect and preserve a number of strange items, but Ohio Historical Society owns one of the more shocking objects: a reusable condom made circa 1860.

The condom above, discovered in an account book, presumably belonged to the Muskingum River steamboat captain, Monroe Ayers. This particular condom was made around 1860 from either sheep skin or sheep intestine, but rubber condoms were also commercially available at the time. Why did Ayers save it? Many condoms at the time were designed to be reused.

Should you want to see the condom in person, it’s part of an exhibit at Ohio Historical Society entitled “Controversy,” consisting unsurprisingly of a selection of controversial items from U.S. history.

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