"The condom is an armor against enjoyment and a spider web against danger."
Madame de Sevigne, writer
The Italian anatomist Gabriele Falloppio (1523-1562) posthumously published the first description of the condom in De Morbo Gallico (1564), a treatise on syphilis. To help counter the spread of the sexually transmitted disease, Falloppio invented a linen sheath that, when dipped in a solution of salt, formed a protective barrier during intercourse. To attract the ladies, the condoms were secured by pink ribbons. Falloppio claimed that none of the 1,100 men who used the device became infected with syphilis.
This is not to say Falloppio's condom was the first. Cave paintings from Combarelles in France and drawings from ancient Egypt have been found depicting men wearing condoms. Over the years condoms have been made from oiled paper, thin leather, fish bladders, and even tortoiseshell.
By 1844 Charles Goodyear (of tire fame) had patented more...