These vintage home pregnancy test kits used test tubes & had a two-hour wait (1978-1987)

Old test tube pregnancy test kits from 1979 (3)

Note: This article may feature affiliate links, and purchases made may earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. Find out more here.


On the way to achieving today’s super-simple, one-piece home pregnancy tests that give results in two or three minutes, women needed to spend many years playing amateur chemist with test tubes, then wait a very tense two hours for a result (assuming they performed the test perfectly).

Over the years, the amount of time you needed to wait decreased, but the overall simplicity wasn’t on par with what we have today. Here a look back at the evolution of home pregnancy tests!

What some of the first vintage home pregnancy test kits looked like (1970s)

Vintage EPT test tube pregnancy test from 1978

Vintage EPT (Early Pregnancy Test): March 1978

The E.P.T. In-Home Early Pregnancy Test is a private little revolution any woman can easily buy at her drugstore.

It is highly accurate. Millions of women today in 13 European countries use this testing method. Now its high accuracy rate has been verified here in America by doctors who clinically confirmed the results of tests performed by women themselves in their own homes.

That means you can confidently do this easy pregnancy test yourself — privately — right at home without waiting for appointments or delays. That simple difference is the result of many years of costly research. And it’s worth every penny.

At last, early knowledge of pregnancy belongs easily and accurately to us all. It’s simple. Fast. And there is no risk, no physical danger whatever, in doing it, because a sample of your first morning urine is all that’s needed for the test.

As soon as you become pregnant, your body starts to produce a special hormone HCG. Starting on the 9th day after the date you expected your menstrual period to begin, there should be sufficient concentration of HCG in your urine to give an accurate reading of pregnancy.

And that’s all there is to it. Follow the test directions with care, and three drops of urine can tell you quickly and easily what you want to know.

See back when they debuted the easy-to-read pregnancy test sticks (1987)

If you get a positive reading, you can assume you are pregnant. Such positive pregnancy readings in our clinical tests proved to be 97% accurate. If your reading is negative, your overdue period should begin soon. If a week passes and you still have not started menstruating, you should take a second E.P.T. test because there may not have been sufficient HCG in your urine at the time of the first test, or you may have miscalculated your period.

Negative readings on a first test are about 80% accurate; on repeat testing one week later they are 91% accurate. If your second test result is still negative and your period has not begun, we urge you to consult your doctor as soon as possible.

E.P.T. is very simple to do, but it is important that you follow the instructions carefully to insure an accurate reading.

E.P.T. Early Pregnancy Test gives women new power — the power of time to help control the quality of their pregnancies. The first 60 days are critical in fetal development. Improper nutrition, cigarettes, alcohol, even commonly used household medications can be harmful in these crucial first 60 days before most women even know for sure that they ore pregnant. Now with E.P.T., you can know.

Now, when you call your doctor, you have the results of your test to report. And time is on your side at last.

EPT test tube home pregnancy test kit from 1978

Pregnant? Compare in-home tests. You’ll choose Predictor. (1979)

1979 Predictor in-home early pregnancy test kit

EPT – The first home pregnancy test kits with test tube result (October 1979)

e.p.t. is the only in-home pregnancy test proven accurate by more than a million women. (Results in two hours.)

In-home early pregnancy test kits from 1979

Mom didn't know she was pregnant: The first big news story about a surprise baby (1915)

Close-up look at vintage lab setup for the first home pregnancy test kits in the 1970s

Old test tube pregnancy test kits from 1979 (2)

Instructions for droppers and test tubes for the first home pregnancy test kits

Old test tube pregnancy test kit directions from 1979

Vintage early home pregnancy test: Positive and negative results

Old test tube pregnancy test kits from 1979 (3)

Daisy 2 pregnancy test kit: August 1982

No other pregnancy test gives you all this: 1 hour test time (most home tests require 2 hours). — A toll-free number so you can talk to our registered nurse to ask a question… get advice and counsel. — Our double-check system with 2 tests in every kit so you can reassure yourself as to the accuracy of your test result.

Vintage one-hour home pregnancy test kit from 1982

EPT test-tube home pregnancy test kits (1981)

EPT test tube home pregnancy test kit from 1982

Warner-Lambert made one of the first home pregnancy test kits (1982)

EPT test tube home pregnancy test kits from 1982

First Response home diagnostic kit (1985)

Am I pregnant? New First Response. The truth in 20 minutes.

New First Response Pregnancy Test is the most sensitive ever perfected. It’s based on breakthrough technology from the makers of Tampax tampons.

The test is simple to do and easy to read. You’re pregnant if the liquid turns a distinct blue, and not pregnant if it remains clear. Results cannot be affected by vibration or movement as they can with ordinary tests.

First response test tube 20-minute color-changing liquid pregnancy tests from 1985

Old-school color-changing liquid pregnancy tests & ovulation predictors (1980s)

Vintage color-changing liquid pregnancy tests (1987)

“Darling, of course I’m sure. I just did my First Response pregnancy test.”

“But how can you be so sure, so soon?”

“Darling, with First Response, you don’t have to wait days or weeks to find out the truth anymore. I just did the test, and today’s the day I’m due! It took only minutes, and it’s as accurate as any lab. And I know I can rely on my result. Because First Response is simple to do, and so easy to read. I’m pregnant if the liquid turns blue; not pregnant if it stays clear. That’s it. There’s no second-guessing.”

First Response pregnancy test 1987 - color-changing liquid pregnancy tests

EPT Early Pregnancy Test TV commercial (1984)

This television ad for color-changing liquid pregnancy tests features actress Dana Delaney

Vintage First Response Ovulation Predictors (1987)

When your heart’s set on having a baby… First Response Ovulation Predictor Test predicts the day you’re most able to become pregnant

First Response can be a big help when you want to have your baby. That’s because there’s only one day in the month a woman can become pregnant — the day she ovulates.

First Response predicts that day in advance, so you and your husband know when to try. This is very important if you’re having difficulty conceiving a baby, or don’t want to spend months trying.

First Response Ovulation Predictor Tests (1987)

Michael Bascones is living proof… FIRST RESPONSE ovulation predictor can help women become pregnant (1987)

Ovulation predictor kits from 1987

Chemistry-set-like pregnancy test kits available in 1987

EPT plus, QTest and Fact pregnancy test kits

1987 Vintage pregnancy test kits

First Response with results in 10 minutes (1988)

First Response pregnancy test 1988

PS: If you liked this article, please share it! You can also get our free newsletter, follow us on Facebook & Pinterest, plus see exclusive retro-inspired products in our shop. Thanks for visiting!


More stories you might like

Because the fun never ends!

Comments on this story

Leave a comment here!

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

See some of our books!