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Before the Pill: The Rythmeter

Created in 1944, before the Pill was invented, the nifty little Rythmeter you see here helped to estimate a woman's likelihood of fertility by way of complicated instructions.

The Rythmeter was invented by a man who was deeply invested in the idea that women should be in control of their own reproductive systems: John C. Rock, a professor of gynecology who taught clinical obstetrics for three decades at Harvard Medical School. The first in vitro fertilization procedure happened at his lab, as did the first trials of hormone-based birth control.

I'll stick to the modern methods of birth control — but this thing is pretty darn cute.


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