Robert Wood Johnson was born in 1845 in
Carbondale, PA. At the age of sixteen, he left his family home to become
an apprentice at his uncle’s apothecary in Poughkeepsie, NY. As an
apothecary apprentice, Robert learned the art of mixing medicinal
plasters before he became a retail pharmacist at a New York City drug
firm. In 1885, he created the world’s first ready-made surgical
dressing. As a proponent of Sir Joseph Lister’s theory of airborne
bacteria, Robert believed that sterile wound dressings could lessen the
chance of infection in surgical wounds, thereby speeding healing.
In 1886, Robert joined with brothers James Wood
Johnson and Edward Mead Johnson to form Johnson & Johnson. The newly
incorporated company’s first products were medicinal plasters and
ready-made, antiseptic surgical dressings. These products were the early
forerunners of the Johnson & Johnson RED CROSS® First Aid Brand gauze pads, covers, tapes, and other first aid items now used and recommended by doctors throughout the world.
In 1888, Johnson & Johnson published the
book “Modern Methods of Antiseptic Wound Treatment.” This book was a
collaborative effort between Johnson & Johnson and the top
physicians at the turn of the century. It became widely recognized by
physicians across the United States as the authoritative source of wound
care. This early effort underscored the emphasis Johnson & Johnson
would place on collaboration with physicians and the professional
Today, more than 120 years after Robert Wood
Johnson invented the first ready-made surgical dressing, the Johnson
& Johnson RED CROSS® First Aid Brand continues to focus
on innovation and collaboration with the professional medical community
to bring your family the highest quality first aid products and
information to meet your wound care needs.
Timeline of Infection Control and Wound Care Management
- 1885 -
- After 24 years as a pharmacist, Robert Wood Johnson develops the world's first ready-made surgical dressings.
- 1886 -
- Robert Wood Johnson joins with brothers, James Wood Johnson and Edward Mead Johnson, to manufacture medicinal plasters.
- 1887 -
- The Johnson brothers incorporate as Johnson & Johnson. Johnson & Johnson ships the world's first ready-made cotton and gauze surgical dressings to doctors and pharmacists throughout the United States.
- 1888 -
- Johnson & Johnson publishes "Modern Methods of Antiseptic Wound Treatment" which becomes widely recognized by physicians as the authoritative source of wound care information in the United States.
- 1890 -
- The world's first First Aid Kit is brought to market by Johnson & Johnson. Called "Johnson's First Aid Cabinet," the kit included antiseptic dressings, surgical supplies, wound care implements, and a first aid guide.
- 1893 -
- Johnson & Johnson produces more than 3.5 million yards of gauze dressings in one year.
- 1894 -
- Johnson & Johnson talcum powder, used to relieve skin irritations resulting from medicinal plasters, is sold separately for the first time as baby powder.
- 1897 -
- Johnson & Johnson develops improved sterilization techniques, enabling physicians to use a variety of silk sutures instead of everyday sewing thread for stitching wounds.
- 1900 -
- Johnson & Johnson partners with leading surgeons to develop the leading adhesive plaster.
- 1906 -
- In the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, Johnson & Johnson donates first aid supplies and wound care treatments to more than 80% of San Francisco residents.
- 1921 -
- BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages are invented and introduced by Johnson & Johnson.
- 1968 -
- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is established as one of the largest private charitable organizations dedicated to improving health in the United States.
- 2000 -
- Johnson & Johnson RED CROSS® First Aid Brand introduces patented HURT-FREE® technology to tape products, enabling easier removal and providing relief for people with sensitive skin.
- 2001 -
- Johnson & Johnson RED CROSS® First Aid Brand transfers hydrocolloid technology to the consumer wound care market, forging a breakthrough in faster and better healing of wounds while minimizing the appearance of scars.
- 2005 -
- Johnson & Johnson RED CROSS® First Aid Brand celebrates 120 years of delivering the highest quality first aid products to meet consumers' wound care needs.
- 2007 -
- Johnson & Johnson RED CROSS® First Aid Brand innovates the treatment of burns with the introduction of the only self-adhering hydrogel pad available to consumers. This unique hydrogel adhesive dressing product employs the same technology used in hospitals to immediately soothe painful burns and protect skin all day long.