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Band-Aid History

Wherever life takes you in the world, the bandage is an icon synonymous with healing, comfort and protection. BAND-AID® Brand is proud to have led the way in bandage innovation for nearly a century, helping people of all ages get back up from the cuts and scrapes that might otherwise have held them back. 

Yet while nearly everyone, everywhere knows the power of an adhesive bandage today, these convenient solutions haven’t always been around. In fact, it wasn’t until 1920, when a clever couple – Earle and Josephine Dickson – recognized an unmet need right in their own home, that adhesive bandages were born.

While Earle spent his days as a cotton buyer at Johnson & Johnson, Josephine was a young, active housewife who spent her time working tirelessly to keep their home and family operating at top speed. As every stay-at-home mom can attest, housework is no easy task. Josephine would often suffer minor cuts and burns that she and Earle would then work to protect each night by wrapping in cotton gauze and pieces of adhesive tape. But what was a mundane and time consuming task actually illuminated a brilliant idea.

Earle cut up many pieces of gauze and placed them at intervals on a long piece of tape so Josephine could simply cut off a strip and apply it herself throughout the day. It wasn’t long before they realized that others, too, could probably benefit from the convenience of an adhesive bandage, and Earle soon shared their invention with his boss, James Johnson.

Shortly thereafter, the first adhesive bandages were produced and sold under what is now the world famous BAND-AID® trademark. While sales were initially less than remarkable – only $3,000 were sold in the first year – a few improvements were made to their size and the bandages quickly took off. Earle, now a successful inventor, was rewarded with a role as Vice President until his retirement in 1957.

Band-Aid History Together, Earle and Josephine Dickson had crafted a truly revolutionary product that would not only become a staple of every family’s first-aid kit, but that also paved the way for decades more innovation. In fact, BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages have seen numerous incarnations including plastic, decorative, sheer, with antibiotic ointment, and even liquid form. Most recently, the brand launched SKIN-FLEX™ Bandages, the only BAND-AID® Brand adhesive bandage designed for long lasting durability with exceptional comfort.

To date, more than one hundred billion BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages have been made and the BAND-AID® Brand has grown from producing strictly bandages to offering a wide variety of products that meet the dynamic needs of today’s active families around the globe. Click here to view a timeline of BAND-AID® Brand’s history of healing.

Download this pdf for a list of the products your family should always have on hand to treat minor emergencies.

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