First rubber condoms were as thick as bicycle inner tubes and reused

Charles Goodyear patented vulcanised rubber in 1844 and in 1855 the first primary rubber condom was made. Prior to this, condoms were made of various materials; animal intestines, linen, leather, silk and even tortoiseshell sheaths.

The first rubber condoms were as thick as the inner tubes of bicycles, had to be fitted and were reusable. They also only covered the glans or 'head' of the penis.

After this period, much progress was made in the production of condoms to prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Condoms are now popularly made of latex, a product of the suspension of rubber in water.