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The mystery of the 3 Merry Widows

9 Oct

Trying to find more information on the 3 Merry Widows (3MW) condom tin I found (see my prior post) , I was shocked to discover that there isn’t much of it out on the web. It seems everybody who tries to date a 3MW tin runs into the same vague references.

I find it hard to believe that there is no information somewhere about the manufacturer of this prophylactic brand.  This is what I know for sure:

They were made in the U.S.
They came three to a tin.
There are at least three versions of the tin: with the 50 cent price, with the one dollar price, and without a price at all.

Yep, that’s it.

There is some controversy as to which one came first, with some web sites saying the one without the price is the earliest and some saying the one without the price is the latest one.

The only other hard reference to this brand of condoms I found is in William Faulkner’s novel, The Sound and the Fury, where one of the characters in the novel picks one of these tins off the ground believing it may be a quarter. The novel was published in 1929 so we can infer that these condoms were being sold in the late twenties.

There are two book titles I came across while researching this that may shed some light on the subject but I haven’t the books yet , the first is Devices and Desires, a History of Contraceptives in America by Andrea Tone and the second is Remember Your Rubbers, Collectible Condom Containers by G.K. Elliot, George Goehring, and Dennis O’Brien.

In what U.S. city were these condoms made?  When were they first made? What became of the company who made them?

More and more people are finding these and they are an excellent way to date a site and the time period of the soil level.

Thank you for looking!

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3 Responses to “The mystery of the 3 Merry Widows”

  1. Detecting Saxapahaw October 9, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

    Thanks for this post, and I hope you can solve it. I looked around when I found my first, and also came up with as little as you. I had considered making a similar blog post once I found another one. Hope we can find an answer!

  2. David April 25, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    I found a 3 merry widows without a date today i wasnt sure what it was which is why i kept it. It looked rare. I am not sure what to do with it but the story behind it is pretty cool. I am also finding alot of unusual cans

    • yaquigrande April 26, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

      David,
      This seems to be an item that we all find at one point or another. As popular as they were you’d think we would know more about them!
      Thanks for stopping by.

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