An ad from “The Gentleman’s Directory” for French Imported Male Safes, aka condoms.
Measuring under 5″ tall – small enough for a man to slip discreetly into his breast pocket – “The Gentleman’s Directory” was an invaluable resource for a man looking for a certain kind of evening entertainment in 1870. The 55-page guide book reviewed 150 New York City brothels and was sold at newsstands amongst the newspapers and magazines of the day. How did the authors get away with this, especially since prostitution was just as illegal then as it is now? This side note on page three may have been what relinquished the book’s publisher from any wrongdoing:
“But we point out the location of these places in order that the reader may know how to avoid them, and that he may not select one of them for his boarding house when he comes to the city. Our book will, therefore, be like a warning voice to the unwary – like a buoy attached to a sunken rock, which warns the inexperienced mariner to sheer off, lest he should be wrested on a dangerous and unknown coast.”