February 25, 2017

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Gauze + Tape = The First Band-Aid

I was trying to decide which invention to cover in today’s blog post.  Honestly, I was blanking.

So I started poking around the Why Didn’t I Think of That? site, and I ended up in the Inspiration Hall of Fame. If you didn’t know already, Bob and Greg are big history fans. So, for the Inspiration Hall of Fame, they’ve assembled some great historical anecdotes about the creation of household inventions, appliances, and other things that have become so common place today that we take them for granted.

Like this story:

How did an accident-prone wife inspire one of the most popular first aid products?

Her name was Josephine Dickson, the wife of Earle Dickson, a Johnson & Johnson employee. She was repeatedly cutting and burning herself while cooking. Her husband Earle brought home gauze and tape, which his company manufactured in sterilized form. But Earle found that Josephine’s dressings fell off regularly after they were applied. To help her treat her own wounds unassisted — while he was at work — Earle unrolled some surgical tape added squares of gauze to the tape at intervals, and then covered it with a thin fabric. Then rolled the tape and gauze back up. That way, Josephine could unwind the bandage and scissor off what she needed. When Dickson mentioned his creation to co-workers at Johnson & Johnson, they liked the idea and the BAND-AID® was born. It led to a successful career for Earle, who eventually became a vice president at Johnson & Johnson. Band-Aids were introduced in 1921, were pre-cut in 1924, sterilized by 1930, and manufactured in sheer vinyl by 1958.

If you like that story, poke around the Inspiration Hall of Fame.  There’s plenty more like it.

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