The first condoms manufactured by Julius Schmid were formed from the cecum of lambs. As of 1990, condoms made from lamb cecum accounted for 5.5% of the market, and because of their higher price, for 20% of retail sales. This manufacturing process remains relatively unchanged since Schmid first manufactured condoms: the cecums are washed, defatted, and salted. The raw skins are then shipped to the finishing plants. New Zealand, which raises large numbers of sheep, is the primary source and initial processing center for most “skin” condoms.
Latex condoms account for most of today’s market. Because rubber latex is a natural material, it can vary greatly in strength and elasticity. Manufacturers add chemicals to the latex to stabilize and standardize the composition of the latex. Many brands also add talc, lubricants, or spermicides to the condoms before they are packaged.