An adhesive bandage, also called a sticking plaster (or simply plaster) in British English, is a small medical dressing used for injuries not serious enough to require a full-size bandage. They are also known by the genericized trademarks Band-Aid (as “band-aid” or “band aid” in the US) or Elastoplast (in the UK).
The first adhesive bandage was invented in 1920 by Earle Dickson, a cotton buyer for the Johnson & Johnson Company in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
The company sold them with the brand name “Band-Aids”, and when introduced, they were the first dressings for small wounds that users could apply themselves.
Many other companies now make these small adhesive bandages, but the brand name “Band-Aid” is the word that most people know them as.
The Origin of Plaster
- Earle Dickson’s wife, Josephine was known to frequently cut and burn herself while cooking. He made the Band-Aid prototype for her by placing a small piece of gauze on top of a strip of tape. Then, he covered the surrounding sticky parts with crinoline, a stiff fabric. This kept the gauze sterile and prevented the adhesive from sticking to itself. His wife could unroll the tape and tear off a length of it as needed. Josephine liked the invention, and she found it offered excellent mobility and staying power.
- Band-Aids were not very successful during their first year. By the end of 1920, only three thousand dollars in sales had been made.
- The first Band-Aids that Johnson & Johnson sold were made by hand, and came in large strips that were two and a half inches wide and eighteen inches long.
- In 1924, Johnson & Johnson developed a machine that mass-produced Band-Aids in great quantity. They were cut down to a smaller size, and new packages were made with red pull-strings that made the wrappers easy to open.
- 1938, Band-Aids became completely sterilized. When the United States entered World War II, Johnson & Johnson joined the war effort and sent millions of Band-Aids overseas. The bandages were even included in soldiers’ standard mess kits.
Culled from: http://www.softschools.com/inventions/history/band_aids_history/17/
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