If there's one thing that everyone can agree on, it's that war is horrible. Nothing kills the mood faster than a bloody, painful death for a political agenda that you probably don't even fully understand. But you can't deny that armed conflicts gave us some pretty good things, such as major advances in everything from rockets to microwave ovens.
Oh, and also there's this stuff.
5Feminine Pads and Tampons (World War I)
The biggest problem with war is that it tends to put holes in people, thus encouraging blood to take a scenic stroll through places it's not supposed to visit. Especially during World War I, when the dead and wounded toll hit the double-digit millions. And especially when a cotton shortage made the bandaging of dying soldiers a pain in the neck.
At the time, Kimberly-Clark was a paper mill company that realized you could do more with wood pulp besides just make it into paper. In fact, if you prepared the right combination of pulp, you could get a material that was five times more absorbent than cotton, yet significantly cheaper to produce. Kimberly-Clark named their newly discovered material cellucotton and the Allied Forces were on it like white on rice.
Or gangrene on trenchfoot.
Guess who else was on cellucotton like white on rice? Allied nurses on their lady-days. It turned out those super absorbent bandages worked really well as disposable sanitary napkins, something that was not readily available to women at that point. Back then, most women were forced to use literal rags, sponges or a whole mess of nothing during their periods.
So once the war ended, Kimberly-Clark had a ton of blood bandages on their hands and no one's blood to soak up. Until someone remembered that unlike the war, menstruation wasn't going to end anytime soon, and that those nurses LOVED using their bandages during their periods. With a quick re-branding that actually capitalized on their product's origin, Kimbery-Clark packaged cellucotton as feminine hygiene products and was hailed as the saviors of women everywhere.
And the bane of whipped boyfriends everywhere.