Invention of Condoms
Many years after their emersion, things start to be considered as self-evident. One example is the condom: every year, more than 5 billion of the contraceptive get sold all over the world from which most of them are made out of latex. What many people don’t know: a German entrepeneur called Julius Fromm was the inventor of the first branded condom in the world. In 1919, the serial production of the first condoms without seam started – a revolutionary invention. A one man-company arose to a big company within only a few years. Who was the inventor of the condom and his company Fromm’s Act?
Julius Fromm immigrated from Poland to Berlin, Germany in 1893. In 1929, the chemist founded a company for manufacturing perfume and rubber goods. In 1922, Fromm’s company moved into a new factory building in Berlin-Friedrichshagen.
Due to the national socialist movement in the 1930s, the Jew Julius Fromm was confronted with many verbal and medial attacks against his product and company. Fromm decided, to sell Fromm’s Act and to emigrate with his family to another country. Especially the name Fromm’s Act was an attacking point not only for the national socialists, but also the so-called “Sittlichkeitsbewegung” ( = morality movement) in Berlin.
In 1938, Julius Fromm was – due to the circumstances – finally “forced” to sell Fromm’s Act. As it was not easy for him to find a buyer, he sold it to Elisabeth von Eppenstein-Mauternburg, who was the godmother of Hermann Göring, leading member of the nazi party. The amount was in total 200.000 Swiss franc, which was below the companies estimated value.
After Elisabeth von Eppenstein-Mauternburgs death, the company was passed down to Otto von Metz-Randa. Later on, the Fromm family tried to make company claims in Germany. In 1951, they made a settlement result with Otto von Metz-Randa. In 1974, the company was deleted from the German commercial register and is now part of the French Hutchinson Group.
In 1912, Fromm began producing the first transparent and seamless condoms in a Berlin backyard. As the only worker and employee of the factory, he dipped suitably shaped glass cylinders into liquefied natural rubber, vulcanized the thin-skinned coating, rolled it off and expelled the new condoms through the drugstore.
In the 1920s, Fromm’s act, Julius Fromm’s company, became market leader. The reason for the success was the high quality of the condoms due to the technical equipment (every condom was tested individually) and the agressive marketing strategy of the company. Between the 1920s and 1930s, the German company grew from 60 employees to 400. Next to condoms, the company also manufactured other products like surgical gloves or teething rings for babys, but 90 % of the companys revenues came from the sold condoms.