More Cool Things from Our Museum Call for Artifacts!
Our public call for artifacts for our Museum restoration is a few weeks old and, so far, Kilmer House readers have seen two of the coolest items – a Zonweiss clock and a Lister’s Fumigator – that have come back to Johnson & Johnson from employees and members of the public. Thanks to everyone who has answered the call so far! The artifacts and stories keep coming in, and they continue to amaze. Here are some more cool things from our artifacts drive.
1. A brick! But not just any brick – this one is from Kilmer House, an historical Johnson & Johnson building that shares a name with this blog. Built circa 1896 -- when Johnson & Johnson was only a decade old -- Kilmer House originally housed the Company’s offices and shipping department, but later grew to encompass, storage, packaging and even some manufacturing. The building eventually was named in honor of Fred Kilmer. During the building's tenure (from 1896 to 1993), Johnson & Johnson grew from a small medical products firm to a global healthcare company. If you want to know where Company founders Robert Wood Johnson and James Wood Johnson had their offices, they were in Kilmer House. How about General Robert Wood Johnson’s office? In Kilmer House as well.
When the building was removed, bricks from Kilmer House were given out to employees in recognition of how far Johnson & Johnson had come since 1896. Thanks to Kathy T. for donating this piece of Johnson & Johnson history!
2. Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies employee Vince P. donated an entire box of cool artifacts, including a 1950s BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages tin in fabulous condition; a rare and beautiful (and tiny!) ZONAS® Adhesive Plaster tin (adhesive plaster is adhesive tape, for all of us 21st century folks); an early metal flat container of RED CHAIN silk dental floss made for export; an art deco 1930s BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages box; a Johnson & Johnson book for the medical profession, Professional Uses of Adhesive Tape, first published in 1944; a Johnson & Johnson Standard Industrial First Aid Kit from 1980; and historical ads for classic first aid products from our consumer operating company from the 1940s to the 1960s.
3. From retired Johnson & Johnson executive F.B. comes two photographs from Johnson & Johnson history, one showing Johnson & Johnson Chairman and CEO from 1976-1989 James Burke and his brother, and the other showing Chairman and CEO from 1989-2002 Ralph Larsen, both of whom led Johnson & Johnson through times of tremendous transformation and growth.
4. From Johnson & Johnson retiree J.S. comes a very rare and beautiful Johnson & Johnson medicated plaster in its container from 1887, an extremely rare early first aid kit from 1903 in a paperboard container, and a very old Johnson & Johnson aseptic jar from the 1920s that would have been used to hold sterile bandages or gauze in a doctor’s office. The medicated plaster container displays the very early double “J” logo (which only appeared on the earliest Johnson & Johnson products) as well as the handwritten Johnson & Johnson logo at the bottom.
J’s grandfather worked for Johnson & Johnson too, in one of the historical buildings next to the Delaware & Raritan Canal and Raritan River, and he preserved the Johnson & Johnson aseptic jar and passed down through his family with a great deal of pride. It returns to Johnson & Johnson as a one-of-a-kind artifact from the Company’s early years, preserved for three generations.
J. also donated a rare 1926 BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages flat tin, and an incredibly gorgeous and rare Permacel tape tin from Australia. (Alert blog readers will remember Permacel as the historical Johnson & Johnson operating company that created Duct Tape.)
5. L.T. shared the amazing story that every generation of her family has worked for Johnson & Johnson since the company’s founding in 1886, and that one of them worked directly for James Wood Johnson. Her family is descended from James Ware, the freight master for the Pennsylvania Railroad in New Brunswick, to whom James Wood Johnson wrote Johnson & Johnson’s first check in March of 1886. Ware left the railroad and came to work for the Company and, 128 years later, two of his descendants continue their family tradition of working at Johnson & Johnson.
6. S.W. contributed some glass containers of historical Ethicon sutures that were donated by a retired product engineer, a reminder of the Company’s legacy in making surgery sterile. Sterile sutures remain one of the oldest continuous product lines in the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, dating back to 1887.
7. M.S. contributed this wonderful Johnson & Johnson Boy Scouts First Aid Kit from circa 1945, donated to Johnson & Johnson by the Boy Scouts of America.
8. And just in from employee S.D., this beautiful glass TYLENOL® physician’s sample bottle from circa 1978.
Our call for artifacts and stories continues, so if anyone has a Johnson & Johnson artifact you would like to donate or a story that you or your family have passed down, please let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s more information about our call for artifacts as we restore our Museum.