A pair of beige pants with a blue glow on a red background with yellow polka dots.

From papyrus to pads: How well do you know the history of period products?

Periods are a natural bodily function that usually start around the age of 12, but this varies from person to person. Periods are caused by the hormones changing in your body as part of a cycle (called a menstrual cycle), and it happens as you grow.

Over the years, the design world has been very innovative in coming up with products that work for people. Historically, menstruating people have tried all sorts of options during their period to make their cycle comfortable and practical for their lifestyle. From papyrus to sanitary pads – are you ready to learn about the history of period products? 

Question 1 out of 10:

What would people use during their period in Ancient Greece?

A close up of ancient columns on a building
Question 2 out of 10:

The adjustable sanitary belt was a new invention in the 1950s. But who created it?

Question 3 out of 10:

In what year do you think the world’s first medical-grade silicone menstrual cup became available?

Question 4 out of 10:

A sanitary apron was once a must-have product…The apron was made from a rubber material to make it waterproof. It was marketed as a product that would make women feel comfortable in their clothes. Can you guess which decade this period product was used?

Women working
Question 5 out of 10:

In 1969 a new period product became available, do you know which it was?

Sanitary products
Just a quick random question – you don’t have to answer it if you don’t want to.

Have you heard of the V&A Museum (or Young V&A)?

[This doesn’t affect your result]
A photo of the V&A collection of a toy Jabba the Glob made by Hasbro for the Star Wars film The Phantom Menace. The toy is green and shows Jabba with a frog hanging out of his mouth next to a tub of Star Wars slime.

Yes and I love it! 15%

I already knew about it. 11%

Nope, it’s new to me! 38%

Not really sure what it is? 36%

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Question 6 out of 10:

Which ancient civilisation used papyrus as a plant based period product?

Question 7 out of 10:

Two brands have often fought over the title of the ‘first to create commercial sanitary towels’. Which two brands are they?

Decorated sanitary products
Question 8 out of 10:

The tampon tax (sometimes known as the period tax) was added onto all menstrual products in the UK. It meant that consumers had to pay for the product, and they’d also have to pay an extra tax on top. But do you know when the tampon tax was first introduced?

Question 9 out of 10:

Periods have always been considered a taboo subject, even though it’s a very natural part of being human. Which company was revolutionary and the first to use the word “period” on a TV advert?

Reusable pads
Question 10 out of 10:

Arikara people are a native American tribe, what did the Arikara people use during their period?

Buffalos in a field

Are you ready to get your results?