Earle Dickson Band-Aid 1921

  • Not on view

The Band-Aid was developed in 1921 by Earle Dickson, a cotton buyer at the company Johnson & Johnson. He was inspired to create a new kind of bandage to aid his wife, who often cut and burned her fingers while cooking. She needed something that would be flexible and allow her to dress her own wounds.

Dickson noticed that traditional bandages—at the time made from gauze wrapping and applied adhesive—did not stick to his wife’s fingers for long, so he began experimenting with different materials. He took an adhesive strip, placed squares of cotton on it, and covered the whole thing in crinoline, a stiff fabric, to keep it sterile. He shared his idea with his boss, James Johnson, who decided to manufacture his invention. Since then, over 100 billion Band-Aids have been manufactured.

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc.
Adhesive bandage and cotton
unwrapped: 1 x 3" (2.5 x 7.6 cm) wrapped: 3 3/4 x 1 1/2" (9.5 x 3.8 cm)
Gift of the manufacturer
Object number
Architecture and Design

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