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Band-Aid - Invented by Earle Dickson

Earle Dickson-Band-Aid
: 1921
: United States
: Medicine & Healthcare

About Invention

Band-Aid is a brand name of American pharmaceutical and medical devices giant Johnson & Johnson's line of adhesive bandages and related products.

Band-Aids. I am struggling to write an introduction for the history of Band-Aids since, frankly, these adhesive strips speak for themselves. For me, the klutz magnet, Band-Aids have always played an intricate role in my life. It is to the point where just thinking about my klutziness actually makes me bleed. To combat my random cuts and lacerations, I stock up on the newest and greatest Band-Aids available. I am even adult-enough to admit that my favorites are the recently released Mickey Mouse ones! But I, of course, digress. The point is it is hard to believe that these everyday necessities are not even a century old.

They were created in 1920 to be exact. Earle Dickson, a cotton buyer for Johnson & Johnson, invented the Band-Aid, but the credit should really go to his wife Josephine. Perhaps I am distantly related or a reincarnation of her since she sounds like a major butterfingers herself! According to Johnson & Johnson, Josephine tended to injure herself frequently through cooking and housekeeping tasks.Earle found it difficult and cumbersome to continue to use cotton balls and wrapping on Josephine’s minor cuts, so he sought an easier way for a person to bandage themselves up. The Band-Aid was born.

When they hit the market in 1920, Band-Aids were handmade and came in strips that were two and a half inches wide and eighteen inches long. The person would cut the Band-Aid to the specifications they needed. However, in the early years, this new and improved bandage did not sell very well. Only $3,000 worth of Band-aids sold in the first year.

Johnson & Johnson decided to use a different marketing strategy. Deciding that their main clients were families, mainly mothers, they distributed free Band-Aids to the people they felt would need them the most – Boy Scouts. After giving away an unlimited number to Boy Scout troops across the U.S., Band-Aid sales began to increase.


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