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BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages

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By Margaret Gurowitz
Jul 20, 2006

Early BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages 

BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages are one of the most recognizable of the Company’s products.   They were invented in 1920 by an employee named Earle Dickson, who worked as a cotton buyer.  His wife Josephine was prone to kitchen accidents.  Earle wanted a bandage his wife could apply herself, so he took two of the Company’s early products – adhesive tape and gauze – and combined them by laying out a long piece of surgical tape and placing a strip of gauze down the middle. To keep the adhesive from sticking, he covered it with crinoline fabric.  Whenever his wife cut herself, she cut a piece of the tape and gauze pad and used it as a bandage.  Dickson mentioned his invention at work, and a new product was born.   The first BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages went on the market in 1921, and were the first ready-made adhesive bandages that consumers could apply themselves.  Earle Dickson was made a vice president at Johnson & Johnson.

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Simone Elwood
DECEMBER 24, 2007 04:03 PM

My child is doing a science project on different types of bandages.
If you could send me any other information other then what is on the computer?
Thank you,
Simone Elwood
804 Avenue C
Westwego, LA 70094

JANUARY 02, 2008 11:16 AM


I'm not sure what kind of information your child needs for the science project, but here's a link to the BAND-AID® Brand website, which has a lot more information. It's got a timeline with more history, a section on proper wound care and first aid. Here's a link to the section on first aid history:

Also, Johnson & Johnson manufactured and sold the first-ever sterile surgical dressings in the U.S., which are bandages too. Here's a link to a Kilmer House post that has more on that: I hope you find what you need!

FEBRUARY 08, 2008 03:52 PM


I don't know the answer to that one. It's probably proprietary and not something we would give out publicly, though.


Adhesive Adam
SEPTEMBER 03, 2008 10:19 AM

It's weird I never knew band-aid was a brand name instead of the actual name of the product. Like a kleenex. Do you know any other products that are brand names but we use them as the product name? If that makes sense.

SEPTEMBER 03, 2008 12:34 PM


BAND-AID® is indeed a brand name! The proper name of the branded trademarked product is BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandage. (The broader category of products is adhesive bandages.) That's something the Company has worked tirelessly to protect since the product was invented in the 1920s. There have been some famous instances of companies not protecting their trademarks, only to lose them, as I believe was the case with "escalator," which originally referred to a brand of moving staircase, not all moving staircases. Here's an article on trademarks if you're interested in reading more:

DECEMBER 03, 2009 09:26 PM

I am working on a project called national history day and my friend jessie and i are doing band-aids and how they innovated the world of first aid. We have been looking for some direct quotes from Earle himself but were unlucky. and were looking for some more information. if you could help us out on that,that would be appreciated and helpful. we have already have collected all the information possible at and have looked at several wiki sites and were still unfortunate. if you could get back to me asap it would be great. thanks.

DECEMBER 04, 2009 11:14 AM


Unfortunately we don't have any direct quotes from Earle Dickson, but if you do a Google search on him, you will come up with some older newspaper articles online that have a quote or two from him. There's also a lot of information on this blog about BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages, so please feel free to use that as well.

Best of luck with your project!


JANUARY 07, 2010 10:33 AM

I am also doing Band Aid brand bandages for our history day project, do you have anyother interesting information on the bandage, Earle and Josephine, or the Johnson & Johnson company that you think would be a good asset to my project?

JANUARY 07, 2010 11:47 AM

In reply to by Natalie


All the information I have is on the blog. Here's a post with more information on BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages:

Here's a video post that talks about BAND-AID®, as well as some early history of Johnson & Johnson:

My other suggestion is just to search the blog. If you scroll down the right hand column, there's a search window that you can use. The two products that Earle Dickson used to make the first BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages were two of the earliest Johnson & Johnson products: gauze and adhesive tape. Johnson & Johnson was founded in 1886 to make the first mass-produced sterile surgical dressings, and sterile sutures. This helped cut down on the horrible surgical mortality rates due to infection, because at that time, in the late 1800s, surgical dressings weren't sterile, and neither was the way doctors performed surgery. You can find all of this on the blog if you search the posts. Earle Dickson, who was a cotton buyer when he invented BAND-AID®, later was made a vice president and was named to our board of directors because of his invention. BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages were the first ready made bandages that people could apply themselves. Before that, they mainly used pieces of household rags to tie around their fingers to cover cuts.

Best of luck on your project!


APRIL 30, 2010 11:14 AM

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