Friday, March 19, 2010

What Took So Long?

The microwave was invented in 1946. Pacemakers were invented in 1959. ATMs were introduced in 1967. 

Why the heck did it take until 1970 to invent sanitary napkins with adhesive?  Were all the engineers busy helping the astronauts land on the moon in 1969?  

I can just hear the conversation in late 1969.  "We landed a man on the moon, what's next?  I guess we should move on to that stupid sanitary napkin project we've been procrastinating for 25 years." 

For those of you who have never experienced the (non tampon) alternative to sanitary napkins with adhesive, let me describe the contraption women were forced to use until 1970: the sanitary napkin belt.

It was basically an elastic belt with hooks in the front and back.  "Users” threaded the long ends that protruded from the pad through the hooks on the belt. The pad would then be suspended in proximity to the destination, not unlike a suspension bridge.

The one and only thing this contraption did was keep the pad from falling off. The problem was that the pad would never stay put on the intended destination. It would inevitably slide forward and back...especially when the woman would walk, or attempt anything more physical than sitting still. (Unlike Tampons, manufacturers did not claim these products would make figure skating and horseback riding possible.)   

And 1970... someone invented sanitary napkins with adhesive.  And needless to say, after this invention, the belts became obsolete.  Duh!

Seriously.  Why didn't someone think of sticking a strip of tape on the back of sanitary pads before 1970? Did they not conduct market research? Surely focus groups would have uncovered the issue within 5 minutes. Talk about an unmet consumer need!

I'd like to find the inventor of this product.  I've spent hours searching on the internet.  No luck so far.  I would like to nominate her for sainthood...or at least for the Nobel Peace Prize. 

Or maybe just go horseback riding or ice skating with her.

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