In China, glans condoms may have been made of oiled silk paper, or of lamb intestines.In Japan, they were made of tortoise shell or animal horn. As Jared Diamond describes it, "when syphilis was first definitely recorded in Europe in 1495, its pustules often covered the body from the head to the knees, caused flesh to fall from people's faces, and led to death within a few months." (The disease is less frequently fatal today.
Written references to condom use became much more common during the 18th century.
Not all of the attention was positive: in 1708, John Campbell unsuccessfully asked Parliament to make the devices illegal.
Condoms have also become increasingly important in efforts to fight the AIDS pandemic.
The oldest condoms ever excavated were found in a cesspit located in the grounds of Dudley Castle and were made from animal membrane, the condoms dated back to as early as 1642.
Prior to the 15th century, some use of glans condoms (devices covering only the head of the penis) is recorded in Asia.
Glans condoms seem to have been used for birth control, and to have been known only by members of the upper classes.
In 16th century Italy, Gabriele Falloppio authored the earliest uncontested description of condom use.
De Morbo Gallico ("The French Disease", referring to syphilis) was published in 1564, two years after Fallopio's death.
In this tract, he recommended use of a device he claimed to have invented: linen sheaths soaked in a chemical solution and allowed to dry before use.