Vintage Pampers (Historical Diaper Pictures)

Of all the collectibles in the world, one of the quirkiest is the collection of Vintage Pampers.  Some might not realize that there are people out there in Diaper Land who are willing to pay top dollar for them.  Admittedly,  I would rather collect something more interesting, such as  Pez containers or handsome bachelors. Still, the vintage Pampers craze continues to boom,  especially given that an unopened pack can sell for as much as $1000!

Vintage Pampers Photos

Pampers were launched in 1970. Let’s travel through time and take a peek at what they used to look like!

1974 Pampers – almost the oldest you can find!

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Photo of a 1974 box of Pampers

These diapers are simply squares of plastic with absorptive material. They aren’t even cut to shape!

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However, they were pleated so they could be unfolded in sort of a “fan” shape to better fit the baby.

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That seems like a lot of work until I realized that the parent would definitely prefer this over cleaning a cloth diaper!

Vintage Pampers from the 1980s

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This box of Pampers is from 1981!

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And here’s a pattern from 1987.

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In the 1980s, some brands had different diapers for girls and boys.

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Pampers Premium

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Check out that diaper in the top left! My guess is this one is from the early 1990s.

Vintage Pampers Baby Dry Extra

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This one looks pretty early 1990s to me too!

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Even the decorations on the “belt” were an ad for the diapers!

Vintage Pampers Ultra Dry Thins

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Check out the sizing on these. “Walker 2.” Nothing like our standard number sizing of today!

Diaper Interiors

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Look at how yellow the diapers look on the inside! I wonder if they were that yellow back in the 1980s, or if they yellowed over time. I’m guessing that they yellowed over time!

Pampers from the 1990s

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These 1999 diapers have Mickey on them! Now Mickey is associated with Huggies.

Vintage Diaper Instructions

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I just love reading these types of things!

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You can find lots more photos of vintage diapers on Flickr!

Why do people collect things in general?

Some start collections for sentimental reasons, such as recalling good times with family and friends as they were growing up. Others collect things for the sake of learning. They will research the histories, and the manufacturing details, and will, at times, try to collect specific designs or models, as a sort of game. Others do it simply because they enjoy collecting things.  People can also collect things with a view toward selling them later. As it turned out, and for whatever reason, vintage Pampers collecting turned into a modern-day fad and a worthwhile investment. 

Why collect vintage Pampers?

Pampers were developed by a chemical engineer named Victor Mills, who created them because he disliked changing cloth diapers for his grandchildren…and who could blame him?  Cloth diapers were inconvenient, smelly, didn’t retain liquids or solids, and encouraged the bacteria that caused diaper rash.  The soiled cloth diapers were inconvenient to clean and even more inconvenient to store while waiting to be laundered. 

Soiled cloth diapers were typically stored in a lidded, plastic container in a baby’s nursery. When the lid was opened, the odor could be horrific.  Thank goodness Mr. Mills decided to do something about it!  His invention changed the course of diaperhood as we knew it. Pampers took the diaper world by storm as mothers of infants flocked to stores to buy them, and this explains why they have become a popular collector’s item. They signified a significant change in child-rearing.  

On their 175th anniversary, Proctor and Gamble produced a short film called “The birth of an icon: Pampers,” in which they noted that Pampers was their first $10 billion brand.  The disposables quickly became one of the nation’s fastest-growing products, earning Procter & Gamble an 80% profit.

What were the first Pampers like?

The first versions of Pampers were quite different from the Papers of today.  Proctor and Gamble first developed a 2-piece style that featured an insert that was folded to fit inside the diaper to improve its absorbency and fit.  After further test marketing, the company decided to focus on the design of a 1-piece, simple, rectangular product that consisted of a hydrophobic liner made of rayon to wick moisture away from the baby’s skin.  

These Pampers replaced both cloth diapers and plastic pants after a soft plastic cover was added.  The edges were pleated, which made them fit better. This diaper, however, was attached with safety pins.  Adhesive tapes came later. 

How much did Pampers cost in 1970?

In 1970, Pampers were available to consumers in a couple of different sizes at around $0.10 each (that’s $0.75 each in today’s prices!).  At that time, they were largely considered an extravagance that the average person could not afford, at least not for everyday use. Some people bought them as overnight diapers or used them while traveling, but the thought of their babies wearing them seemed too far out of reach at first.  Considering this, Proctor & Gamble tried to find ways to produce them at more rapid speeds and with greater efficiencies.

A few years later, an article about Pampers appeared in the February 25, 1973 edition of the New York Times.  At that time, the brand was the only one-piece disposable diaper sold in every state and was marketed through drugstores and grocery store chains. The diapers were available in four sizes; newborn, daytime, and two different thicknesses of their overnight size, for babies above 11 pounds in weight and toddlers weighing more than 23 pounds.  They were available in the customer’s choice of boxes that contained 12, 15, or 30 diapers—depending on the size chosen, a pack of 12 of the overnight style sold for between $0.69 and $0.99 (that’s $4.54-$6.52 for a pack of diapers in today’s dollars, after inflation!) to in the metropolitan New York area. That works out to $0.38-$0.54 per diaper in today’s terms.

In comparison, earlier this year, Forbes Magazine published an article that listed Pampers Baby Dry style at $0.28 per diaper, and Pampers Swaddlers at $0.30 per diaper. 

Can you buy vintage Pampers diapers today?

As with any collectibles, vintage Pampers can be purchased online at venues that cater to collectors.   eBay lists a package of vintage Pampers from the 1990s at more than $200, and a pack of vintage 1974 Pampers at around $115.  They can be found on a website called, PicClick at prices ranging from $39 to more than $300.  Vintage Pampers can also be found on Etsy for around $140.00.

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