Condoms began to be called the number two rubber product in the Soviet Union. The fact is that the label of this product read "Size No. 2, OTK". What did this marking mean?
Where did the name come from
There are several opinions regarding the origin of the name. One of them says that in the USSR various types of rubber were numbered, differing from each other in density. So, "Rubber product No. 1" was called a gas mask, "Rubber product No. 2" - a condom, No. 3 - an eraser, and "Rubber product No. 4" - galoshes. There is also a version that in pharmaceuticals the number of items in the package was indicated by the “No.” sign. For example, if there are 10 tablets in a plate, then there will be No. 10 on the blister, and in those days one package contained 2 condoms. But in fact, marking # 2 only meant the size of the product.
The first condoms were produced in 1936 at the Bakovsky plant. This was due to Stalin's decree banning abortion. There were three types of products, differing in size: No. 1 - small, No. 2 - medium, and No. 3 - large. Products No. 1 were not in demand for obvious reasons: not every man calmly admits that his dignity is below average size, and women in those days were considered shameful to purchase this product. Condoms number three were too large, so condom number 2 became the most popular product, and the rest of the types, most likely, simply stopped being imported and then released. By the way, the average size was suitable for almost all men, because was designed for a length of 180 mm and a width of 54 mm, which is comparable to the European XXL - above average.
Condoms were about 2-3 times thicker than modern ones, but they withstood a load of up to 200 kg per square centimeter.
Forms of issue
The quality of the goods and packaging have not changed for decades, as well as the production technology. The product was sold only in pharmacies, it was made of dense, tough rubber, and talcum powder was sprinkled to prevent sticking. The rubber was yellowish in color and smelled rather unpleasant. Condoms were packaged in 2 pieces in a cardboard box, which cost 43 kopecks, and after the 1961 reform - 4 kopecks. At that time, the people called them that - “4 kopecks”. In the mid-60s, protective equipment began to be made in individual packages, and in the 70s, the first domestic copies appeared, similar to the modern version: with a sperm accumulator, in silicone grease and foil packaging. The new GOST for condoms was adopted in 1981 - now the size marking was letter - A, B and C. And during perestroika, they began to produce multi-colored versions: red, blue and green.
In our country at the end of the 1980s, about 200 million pieces of rubber products were sold annually.
"Rubber product No. 2" was in great demand, despite all the inconveniences and disadvantages, especially in times of shortage. We bought condoms for future use, 10 or more pieces. If there was an opportunity to get imported counterparts, then they were even presented as a presentation for the holidays.