Strange But True: The Baby Powder that Helped Launch a Rocket
1. JOHNSON’S® Baby Powder was used by NASA to help insure the successful launch of the Apollo 8 spacecraft in 1968. The rocket had a rubber strip holding together a covering that protected a measuring instrument. NASA needed a means to insure that the rubber strip could slide off freely during the rocket’s launch. A NASA engineer used some JOHNSON’S® Baby Powder that he brought in from home. It did the job so well that he planned to use it on all subsequent Apollo launches. [The Bulletin, The J&J Employee Magazine, February/March 1969, Vol. XXVII, No. 2, p. 10]
2. In 1970, advice columnist Ann Landers noted in her nationally syndicated newspaper column that Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick, N.J. had “the most immaculate and best laid out ladies room I’ve ever seen anywhere….” Ann Landers presumably travelled quite a bit, so that recognition was a singular honor. [The Bulletin, the Johnson & Johnson Employee Magazine, August 1970, Volume 28, No. 6]
Some of the Company’s Early Medicated Plasters
3. Medicated plasters, one of our earliest products in the 1800s, could not be manufactured on very humid days, because the humidity interfered with the manufacturing process. (Which must have been challenging in the pre-air conditioning days over 100 years ago in humid Central New Jersey, where the plasters were manufactured.)
James Wood Johnson
4. In 1918 Company president James Wood Johnson was presented with an award by the Russian government for supplying something that helped the Russian army during World War I. (Russia and the U.S. were allies during World War I.) Was it sterile bandages or dressings? No: it was horseshoes. Johnson had bought an interest in the Neverslip Horseshoe Company in New Brunswick, which had filled the largest order in its history for the Russian cavalry. We still have one of the horseshoes in our archives today.
McNeil family pharmacy: the origin of one of our operating companies
5. Company founder Robert Wood Johnson, Scientific Director Fred Kilmer, Revra DePuy (founder of our affiliate company DePuy, Inc.), and the McNeil family (founders of McNeil Laboratories, which became part of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies in 1959) all had one thing in common. What was it? They all started their careers in retail pharmacies.
Philip B. Hofmann
6. Philip B. Hofmann, chairman and chief executive officer of Johnson & Johnson from 1963 to 1973, spent part of his early career here successfully selling the Company’s most notoriously hard to sell product: Lister’s Dog Soap. And by the way, Hofmann’s father — who steered his son toward joining Johnson & Johnson — was a retail pharmacist too.
7. When television became part of American life in the early 1950s, Johnson & Johnson became one of its first major sponsors with TV ads and sponsorship of specific shows. Some of the early shows the Company sponsored were The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Donna Reed Show, Cheyenne and Gunsmoke.