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Robert Wood Johnson was a New England druggist who was inspired from an idea from Joseph Lister's discovery that airborne germs were a source of infections in the operating room.

In 1886 Robert and his two brothers James Wood Johnson and Edward Mead Johnson would form the Johnson Brothers located in Brunswick, New Jersey. One year later the company incorporated as Johnson & Johnson.

The first product was an improvement of medical plaster that used medical compounds mixed in an adhesive. Shortly after, the company designed a soft absorbent cotton and gauze dressing. Mass production began and dressings were shipped in large quantities though out the United States.

The company changes the practice of antiseptic surgery producing surgical dressing and sterile sutures. In 1899 Johnson & Johnson was the first to put tooth paste in a tube. The product was called Zonweiss. By 1893 they introduced Johnson's Baby Powder and in 1921 the brand name Band Aid adhesive bandages. Both products are still being produced today along with countless other fine products.

Today the company is operating a network of 190 companies in 51 countries and has a marketing organization that sells to more than 175 counties.

Robert Wood Johnson died in 1910 and was succeeded by his brother James.

Johnson & Johnson was buying fruit jars from the Consolidated fruit Jar Manufacturing Company. This company was also located in Brunswick, New Jersey. The company used a fruit jar because they could package sterile surgical gauze and dressing hermetically sealed to keep the contents sterile.

Below are photos of a quart size and half pint size amber colored jars. The quart size could hold up to 5 yards of dressing. The half pint jar holds 1 yard of dressing. These jars are embossed JOHNSON & JOHNSON / NEW BRUNSWICK, N. J. USA. These jars have the J. I. Desteiger patented design Columbia Jar Closure with glass lid and wire clamp. The lid is embossed Patented Dec 29 1896.

johnson 2

johnson label 1.johnson label 3

Above is a half pint jar with labels and is still sealed.

There were other jars the company used. A newer style jar just like the one above with a smooth lip and a black plastic screw cap in a half pint size only.

There are jars that are embossed Johnson & Johnson / New York. These have a ground lip and a glass lid with a metal buckle clamp and or jars with a safety valve clamp. Both were offered in quart size and half pint size in an amber color.

There are jars embossed Johnson & Johnson / New York with a ground lip and a glass lid with a screw band. These jars were only offered in a quart size only. The colors were either amber or the sought after cobalt blue. Below is a Johnson & Johnson jar in cobalt blue color courtesy of Hoosier Jar.

johnson cobalt Courtesy of Hoosier Jar

Below is a newer Johnson & Johnson cotton jar you may have seen at your doctor's office in the 1960s & 1970s.

johnson jar 3

Below are some tax stamps.

johnson stamp

johnson stamp 2


Kilmer House, The Story of Johnson & Johnson Inc. International Directory of Company Histories 2001.

Fruit Jars Red Book #8 by Douglas M. Leybourne Jr. 1997.

Frank & Frank Jr. (Wicker) Jar Collection.

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