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The story of the menstrual cup

If the menstrual cup has been democratized in the last few years, in reality, it is a very old periodic protection.
Ready to learn more about the history of the cup?

End of the 19th century: the ancestors.

At the end of the 19th century, several patents were registered. All in the United States, all by men, concerning “catamenial receptacles” – this is obviously what future menstrual cups were called at the time.

For the small etymological information, catamenial comes from the ancient Greek cata- (prefix used to form words with the idea of decay, resorption, as in catastrophe or cataclysm…) and -menial (derived from the month). That’s it.

Come on, let’s show you these wonders:

In 1867, a patent was filed by S.L. Hockert, a Chicago-based inventor, for a container ending in a string connected to a belt. We have not found any information about other inventions of this person. We do not know if this device was really manufactured, but it is considered to be the first ancestor of the menstrual cup.

In 1884, a patent is filed by Hiram G. Farr, an eclectic inventor from Boston ( since he also owes cart wheels, an engine combining compressed air and steam and a device to reduce vehicle noise! ): this time, a “cup” is positioned in the vagina, but it ends with a pipe leading to a pocket in the panties. Ideal for (very) heavy periods!

In 1892, Julius J. Vernier also took up the subject. He begins by depositing a first patent, with an internal cup and an external flexible pocket, then he improves it in 1893 by offering a ‘support’ in the form of a belt with cables. Here again, it is impossible for us to know if this device was produced.

Finally, in 1901, Jacob R Lang is also interested in the subject and invents this jewel of technology. It is an asymmetrical cup, which the inventor tells us should have been made of hard rubber. It has an opening at its base, closed by a screw cap (mark B on the drawing). This menstrual cup is the first one that has no support as such, but which fits in the vagina thanks to the muscles.

1932 : the Daintette.

The company The Dainty Maid, based in Connecticut, USA, filed 2 patents in 1932 and 1935 and produced the Daintette cup in green opaque rubber.

This model is not marketed in Europe.

1935 : Leona W. Chalmers.

Leona W. Chalmers, an American actress, files a patent that makes her the acknowledged inventor of the menstrual cup. Perhaps because she had it produced before the Daintette, the documents remain rather vague on this subject? Leona W. Chalmers’ cup will begin to be produced just before the 2nd World War in vulcanized rubber.  But with the war, all the rubber will be requisitioned in the USA, and she will have to stop the production of her menstrual cups.

1959 : the Tassette.

Still in the United States, Robert P.Oreck bought the patent rights from Leona W.Chalmers and founded Tassette Inc.
He communicates massively (he even rents advertising billboards on Broadway), but he comes up against the puritanism of his fellow citizens.

The tape will be a “white operation” in the sense that he won’t make any money.

Production will stop in 1963, Oreck explaining its failure by 2 factors: first, the reluctance of the women of his time to wash and reuse a hygiene product (while we were in the middle of a period of unbridled consumption, the 30 Glorious), but also the durability of the product, which means that satisfied women don’t need to buy another one.
But the company Tassette Inc. is not dissolved for all that…

1970 : the Tassaway.

… Tassette Inc. launches the Tassaway, a single-use menstrual cup that is supposed to remove the developmental barriers to the menstrual cup as identified by Robert P.Oreck with the Tassette: women no longer have to wash it, and they have to renew their purchase. 

But in 1972, Tassette Inc. is suspected of financial fraud, which will lead to its downfall. The Tassaway cups will however continue to be marketed in the Netherlands until 1973.

1984 : the Keeper.

Lou H.Crawford launches The Keeper in Cincinatti, Ohio (USA). The company still exists. 

The Keeper menstrual cup is made of latex in the USA, and the company also makes the MoonCup USA, different from the European model but also made of silicone.

2000’s : multiplication of brands.

Dozens of brands are being created all over the world. Almost all of them are based on the first patents that have fallen into the public domain.

The main differences between brands are the design of the stem (solid or hollow, made of balls or stripes), the colours offered (all colours are available, even with glitter!), as well as the quality of the material used.

2015 : la Cup Luneale.

Teolab registers the patent that serves as the basis for La Cup Luneale: a new generation menstrual cup, without stem, more ergonomic. The stem is replaced by a “pre-pinched” gripping area called the MoonPad®. 

The top ring is also improved, with a drop-shaped profile for better sealing.

This Luneale patent, the first French innovation in terms of menstrual cup, is now registered in over 70 countries.

tomorrow?

First, congratulations if you have arrived at the bottom of this article (leave us a comment as a proof of your passage here, as we mark the summit of Everest with a flag!)

It’s really that you’re passionate about the subject, so we sincerely hope you enjoyed it and learned something.

So, do you have any idea what innovations in menstrual cups will happen in the years to come? What are you missing? What could be improved? In short, how could menstruation be made softer? Feel free to tell us, because after all, Luneale was built with the community !

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