Welcome to Kilmer House! Why start a blog about Company history, anyway? Well, one of the best ways to understand Johnson & Johnson is to know the Company’s heritage and the things that make it unique. One of those things is the fact that Johnson & Johnson is more than 130 years old. How many big companies can you think of that started in the 1800s and are still going strong today? And why Kilmer House? What does that have to do with Johnson & Johnson, anyway? Well, I’ll tell you: Frederick Barnett Kilmer (1851– 1934) was the Company’s first scientific director, starting in 1889.
Originally a pharmacist by trade, Kilmer was not only a scientist: he was a big believer in preserving the Company’s history and having an ongoing dialogue with the community, which included surgeons, doctors, consumers, patients and pharmacists. Most of the historical artifacts you see on this blog were preserved by Fred Kilmer, who started a museum and archive of everything he could save pertaining to Johnson & Johnson while he was here. Kilmer’s ongoing dialogue with the community resulted in a collaboration with American physicians about the importance of aseptic surgery and wound care, the first First-Aid Manual, and early leadership in public health. So in the spirit and tradition of Fred Kilmer, this blog is an attempt to start another conversation, and share some of the Company’s history. (Kilmer House was also the name of one of the historical Johnson & Johnson buildings — which was named after Fred Kilmer, of course.)
A 1901 photo of the Kilmer House building, built in the early 1890s — only one of two Johnson & Johnson buildings in New Brunswick, NJ to be named after a person.