Colgate toothpaste was an adaptation of an earlier product, Creme Dentrifice, which was invented by Dr. Washington Sheffield. William Colgate adapted the formula and brought Colgate toothpaste on the market in 1873.
Toothpaste is, however, by no means a modern invention. It is believed that the first paste was used by early Egyptians to clean teeth in 5,000 BC. Ancient Greeks, Romans and Chinese people also used paste to clean their teeth.
The toothpaste company started by Dr. Sheffield is still in business today, making lotions, creams and ointments for both medical and dental use, as well as manufacturing toothpaste for the Colgate company.