Why Did Earle Dickson Invent the Band-Aid?


Quick Answer

Josephine Dickson often cut and burned herself while cooking for her husband. Mr. Dickson came home each day and tended to his wife's wounds with gauze and adhesive tape. Tired of this routine, Earle created ready-made bandages for Josephine by placing squares of gauze covered with crinoline at intervals along a strip of adhesive tape. Earle told his boss about his invention, and the Band-AID was born.

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Full Answer

The year was 1920, and Earle Dickson was a cotton buyer for Johnson and Johnson, a medical equipment and pharmaceutical company based out of New Brunswick, New Jersey. When Earle told his boss, James Woods Johnson, about his solution to his wife's predicament, the company soon began manufacturing Band-AID Brand Adhesives. Earle was promoted to Vice President at Johnson and Johnson, where he remained until his retirement.

The original Band-AIDs were handmade and not popular among consumers. The Band-AID did not gain popularity until the company decided to give free Band-AIDs to the Boy Scouts of America as a publicity stunt. Sales soon skyrocketed, and by 1924, the Band-AID was being mass-produced via machines. In 1939, Dickson's invention was being sterilized during manufacturing, and millions of Band-AIDS were sent overseas during World War II. Vinyl tape replaced adhesive tape in 1958.

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