The History of Baby Diapers

The word "diaper" originally referred to the fabric, which was linen, instead of its usage. The first known mention of a diaper was in William Shakespeare's, The Taming of the Shrew, "Another bear the ewer, the third a diaper". The U.S. and Canada still use the word diaper, but Britain uses the word nappy, which is short for "baby napkin".

The cloth baby diaper was used until the emergence of the disposable baby diaper in the 1960s. The first idea for the disposable baby diaper came in 1947 by Vic Mills, which eventually became the Pampers baby diaper. Pampers was launched in the spring of 1961. Using cellulose instead of paper improved the performance of the diaper. Interestingly, the first baby diaper did not have means for attachment. This was problematic for the consumer because one needed to have tape ready for each diaper change. Disposable diapers were so new, supermarkets and drugstores did not know where to stock Pampers!

The disposable diaper industry felt the explosion of the baby boomers in the 1970s. The upsurge led to quick diaper design improvements and lower prices to the consumers. The 1970s also introduced a new fastening system with new paper types.

Adding an elastic stretch to the waist of disposable diapers in the early 1980s helped the fit of the diaper. The 1990s added many new features to the baby diaper, such as mechanical tapes in the form of Velcro, and other types of hook and loop. In March of the year 2000, the first degradable diaper was introduced.