10 Things You Didn’t Know About J&J

Margaret on April 30th, 2008 at 10:58AM

 Office Interior, 1940s

A Peek Inside One of Our Offices in the Mid-1940s


1. The Company started on the fourth floor of an old wallpaper factory.

2. In the Nineteen-teens, before air conditioning, Johnson & Johnson had a swimming pool for employees – at work! — so they could cool off in the summer heat.

3. When he was younger, Robert Wood Johnson the first was known to wear a stovepipe hat.  (We don’t have a picture of him wearing the hat in our archives, unfortunately.)

4. Barry Manilow wrote the “I Am Stuck on BAND-AID® Brand…” jingle.

5. John Travolta, Terri Garr and Brooke Shields all appeared in BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandage commercials before they became famous.

6. During World War II, Hollywood movie star Hedy Lamarr came to Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick for a war bonds rally.  She wasn’t just a pretty face; she invented a technology that made modern wireless communication possible.

7. We used to make duct tape.  Permacel, the company that invented duct tape, was a part of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies until 1982.

8. One of our most recently acquired consumer products, the BENGAY® Pain Relieving Patch, does the same thing that medicated plasters did in 1887 – it delivers pain relief directly through the skin. 

9. One of the founders of Johnson & Johnson (Robert Wood Johnson), the founder of DePuy, Inc., and one of the founders of our McNeil franchise all started out working as clerks in retail pharmacies.

10. We used to own a company that made sausage casings, which evolved from research into the possibility of developing collagen as an absorbable suture product.  Collagen never panned out as suture material, but Devro, the company that resulted from that research, is still going strong.  It was part of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies until 1991, when its management bought it out and spun it off. 

11. Okay, 11 things.  Here’s one more as a bonus.  We made a tooth-whitening tooth cream in 1887.

Open Response to 10 Things You Didn’t Know About J&J

  1. Hello Margaret,
    Have been browsing website a couple of times now and I think its wonderful as you have effectively kept the J&J legacy alive. My congratulations.
    I have a small glass tube containing 12-Inch long Horse-Hair suppossedly made by J&J contained in a solution.
    I would love to know what it is and what was it used for? Wondering if I could email you a couple of pictures for you to take a look at?
    Toby Huynh, Singapore

  2. Hi Toby,

    I’m glad you like Kilmer House, and I hope you keep reading! The old product you have is a tube of horse hair sutures, which were sold in glass bottles and tubes one hundred years ago. They would have been aseptic and packed in a sterile solution. If you want to e-mail me some pictures for further identification, you can send them to the blog’s e-mail, which is KilmerHouse@corus.jnj.com.


  3. Hello,
    My name is Carrie. I am a college student who is doing a project on Johnson and Johnson and just wanted to let whomever it may concern know that this website has been most helpful to me. I just wanted to say Wow… you were way ahead of the times as a whole… with product and business, its no wonder to me how your company has stayed so strong throughout the years. Congrats on being an ever-growing company and staying tried and true. Thanks also for making such an informative website with wonderful, useful history!

  4. Carrie,

    Glad to be of help. Thanks for your kind words! I hope you keep reading!

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All comments will be reviewed before posting. Since this blog is about history, topics that don’t directly relate to the history of Johnson & Johnson and its operating companies won’t be posted. Product comments generally will not be posted unless they are of historical interest. Some unrelated issues may be forwarded to Johnson & Johnson folks for follow-up as appropriate. I’m also not going to post any comments that have inappropriate language...so be nice!