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The Scientific Director

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By Margaret Gurowitz
Jul 20, 2006

Dr. Fred B. Kilmer

One of the most fascinating people behind Johnson & Johnson was Dr. Fred B. Kilmer, who was the Director of Scientific Affairs for Johnson & Johnson for 40 years, starting in 1889.  Company Founder Robert Wood Johnson (who lived as well as worked in New Brunswick) became friendly with Dr. Kilmer when he visited Kilmer’s pharmacy -- the Opera House Pharmacy -- in downtown New Brunswick.  Besides being a scientist, Dr. Kilmer (a president of the New Jersey Pharmaceutical Association) understood marketing and promotion, and was a writer. Another of Kilmer’s customers at the pharmacy was the inventor Thomas Alva Edison, who bought supplies to use in his experiments at his lab in Menlo Park. 


Modern Methods of Antiseptic Wound Treatment

In 1888, Kilmer and Johnson collaborated on “Modern Methods of Antiseptic Wound Treatment."  The booklet was a groundbreaking summary of the latest views of the medical profession on wound treatment…and contained a catalogue of Johnson & Johnson products that could be used in the antiseptic treatment of wounds.

Red Cross Notes 

Dr. Kilmer furthered the scientific direction of the Company and helped make its expanding product lines trusted by physicians and patients.  He was instrumental in early Johnson & Johnson publications such as Red Cross Notes, a scholarly journal directed toward the medical profession; and Red Cross Messenger, a trade publication whose audience was pharmacists. Dr. Kilmer was also responsible for preserving the Company’s early history, including the products, documents and photographs seen on this site. Dr. Kilmer was the father of renowned poet Joyce Kilmer, who was killed in World War I.  His house (where Joyce was born) is still standing, at 17 Joyce Kilmer Avenue in New Brunswick. 

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Homero Rodriguez
AUGUST 21, 2007 12:23 PM


By reviewing the annual report 2006, I notice that there may be an error on page 3. The graph is showing earnings in billions of dollars and the data table underneath, first line "Sales to Customers" is in millions.



AUGUST 21, 2007 05:28 PM


I took a look at page 3 of the 2006 Annual Report. There's no error, but it can be a bit confusing. The graph shows sales in billions of dollars. On first glance, the data in the table seems to be incompatible because it says "Sales to customers (in millions)." But if you look at the numbers, it gives 2006 sales as $53,324 million, which is the same as $53.3 billion. If you wrote the entire number out, with all of the zeroes, it would be the same. It's just two different ways of writing the same thing.


Don Logan
SEPTEMBER 03, 2008 10:24 AM

Fred Kilmer
Another great man from the beginings of Johnson&Johnson, worked long hours alongside Robert Wood Johnson. Great to see him honoured by having the museam named after him. Someday, i hope i get the oppertunity to visit his museam and see the history.