Back to Home

10 Things You Didn't Know About J&J

Profile picture for user mgurowi
By Margaret Gurowitz
Apr 30, 2008

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 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.

Share this article

Read 4 comments
Full name will be displayed as entered.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
By submitting your comments, you agree that your comments may be made available to the public. All comments will be reviewed before posting, and if approved, will be shared publicly on the site. Please do not include any information and/or comments that you would like to remain private. 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.. Issues not related to the history of J&J, including any product complaints, will be forwarded to the appropriate Johnson & Johnson team for follow-up as appropriate. This site will not publish any comments that have inappropriate language... so be nice! We will use the information you submit in accordance with our  Privacy Policy.
Toby Huynh
JUNE 20, 2008 04:50 AM

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

JUNE 23, 2008 10:46 AM

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 [email protected].


Carrie E. Dupre
NOVEMBER 09, 2008 09:16 PM

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!