Johnson & Johnson History

Since 1886, generations of Johnson & Johnson employees have brought forth transformative ideas and products. Every invention, every product, every breakthrough has been and will be powered by people and inspired by their caring. On this page you will find an interactive timeline that showcases our company history.
Our History
  • Intro
1886 to 1910
  • 1886
  • 1888
  • 1888
  • 1894
  • 1896-1897
  • 1898
  • 1900
  • 1901
  • 1906
  • 1910
  • 1886

    Three brothers, Robert Wood Johnson, James Wood Johnson and Edward Mead Johnson, found Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick, New Jersey, U.S.

  • 1888

    The Company publishes "Modern Methods of Antiseptic Wound Treatment," which quickly becomes one of the standard teaching texts for antiseptic surgery. It helps spread the practice of sterile surgery in the U.S. and around the world.

  • 1888

    Johnson & Johnson pioneers the first commercial first aid kits. The initial kits are designed to help railroad workers, but soon become the standard in treating injuries.

  • 1894

    Johnson & Johnson launches maternity kits to make childbirth safer for mothers and babies. JOHNSON'S® Baby Powder goes on the market. Its success leads to the Company's heritage Baby business.

  • 1896-1897

    Employees manufacture the first mass-produced sanitary protection products for women, a huge step forward in women's health.

  • 1898

    The Company is the first to mass produce dental floss to make it affordable so that people can take better care of their teeth. The floss is originally made from leftover suture silk.

  • 1900

    The tradition of providing disaster relief begins when the Company donates products and money to help the citizens of Galveston, Texas, in the aftermath of a hurricane.

  • 1901

    As part of its commitment to first aid, Johnson & Johnson publishes the first First Aid Manuals, using proven best practices from leading physicians. The manuals are packaged with the Company's First Aid Kits.

  • 1906

    Within hours of the San Francisco Earthquake, Johnson & Johnson donates products and money to help the citizens of San Francisco, the largest amount of help from any organization.

  • 1910

    James Wood Johnson takes over the leadership of Johnson & Johnson until 1932.

1917 to 1949
  • 1921
  • 1924
  • 1930-1931
  • 1931
  • 1932
  • 1937
  • 1943
  • 1944
  • 1949
  • 1921

    BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages, invented by employee Earle Dickson in 1920, go on the market. They are the first commercial dressings for small wounds that consumers can apply themselves.

  • 1924

    Our first overseas operating company opens in the United Kingdom.

  • 1930-1931

    The Company expands to Mexico and South Africa (1930) and to Australia (1931).

  • 1931

    A Johnson & Johnson operating company pioneers family planning products with ORTHO-GYNOL®, the first prescription contraceptive gel. This was based on the need for trusted family planning products.

  • 1932

    Robert Wood Johnson II, son of the Company founder by the same name, begins leadership of Johnson & Johnson. Known as General Johnson, he transforms the Company into a global decentralized Family of Companies.

  • 1937

    The Company expands to Argentina and Brazil. Ortho Research Laboratories, Inc. is established in Linden, New Jersey, to make women's health products.

  • 1943

    General Robert Wood Johnson writes Our Credo, which remains the guiding philosophy of Johnson & Johnson.

  • 1944

    Dr. Philip Levine, the discoverer of the human rH factor, joins Ortho Research Laboratories, creating the beginnings of the worldwide diagnostics business. Johnson & Johnson goes public, with a listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

  • 1949

    Ethicon, Inc. is formed from the Company's heritage suture business.

1954 to 1989
  • 1954
  • 1957
  • 1959
  • 1961
  • 1963-1973
  • 1978
  • 1976-1989
  • 1987
  • 1987
  • 1989-2002
  • 1954

    JOHNSON'S® Baby Shampoo with NO MORE TEARS® formula enters the market as the first mild and soap-free shampoo designed to be gentle enough to clean babies' hair but not irritate their eyes.

  • 1957

    The first Johnson & Johnson operating company opens in India.

  • 1959

    Johnson & Johnson acquires McNeil Laboratories in the U.S. and Cilag Chemie, AG in Europe, giving the Company a significant presence in the growing field of pharmaceutical medicines. One McNeil product, TYLENOL® (acetaminophen) elixir for children, is the first prescription aspirin-free pain reliever. A year later, it becomes available without a prescription and earns status as the pain reliever doctors and pediatricians recommend most.

  • 1961

    Janssen Pharmaceutica N.V. in Belgium joins the Family of Companies. Its founder, Dr. Paul Janssen, is recognized as one of the most innovative and prolific pharmaceutical researchers of the 20th century.

  • 1963-1973

    Under Chairman and CEO Philip B. Hofmann's leadership, operating companies launch new treatments for schizophrenia, family planning and personal care. Also, 1963 marks the last year that JOHNSON'S® Baby Powder is sold in tins.

  • 1978

    Johnson & Johnson announces plans to build our new World Headquarters in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and forms a public-private partnership to revitalize the city.

  • 1976-1989

    During James E. Burke's tenure as Chairman and CEO, the Company enters new areas of health, such as vision care, mechanical wound closure and diabetes management, and opens the first operating companies in China and Egypt.

  • 1987

    Johnson & Johnson is a founding partner in Safe Kids Worldwide, the first national and then global campaign to reduce accidental childhood injury. By 2008, the campaign helps reduce the death rate for unintentional injury in children ages 14 and under in the U.S. by 45 percent.

  • 1987

    The vision care business introduces ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses, the first disposable contact lenses that can be worn for up to a week, thrown away and replaced with a fresh pair. The lenses eliminate the need for cleaning, disinfecting solutions and storage. Later, 1-DAY ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses become the first daily disposable contact lens.

  • 1989-2002

    Under Ralph S. Larsen's leadership as Chairman and CEO, Neutrogena Corporation, Kodak's Clinical Diagnostics business, Cordis Corporation and Centocor join the Family of Companies; Expansion continues into Russia and Eastern Europe.

1990 to 2013
  • 1990s
  • 1994
  • 2002
  • 2002
  • 2006
  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 1990s

    Ethicon Endo-Surgery pioneers minimally invasive surgery, which uses very small incisions and helps patients recover faster than with traditional surgery.

  • 1994

    The PALMAZ-SCHATZ® stent, the first coronary stent, revolutionizes cardiology. Coronary stents keep vessels open so blood can flow to the heart. Later, Cordis Corporation introduces the first drug-eluting stent, which helps prevent the arteries from re-clogging.

  • 2002

    William C. Weldon becomes Chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, only the eighth person to lead the Company since its founding. Under his leadership, the Company enters new therapeutic areas such as HIV/AIDS, and health and wellness.

  • 2002

    Johnson & Johnson acquires Tibotec-Virco BVBA to help address the vast unmet needs of patients with HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases such as tuberculosis.

  • 2006

    Johnson & Johnson acquires Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, which brings in heritage consumer brands such as LISTERINE® Antiseptic (first formulated in 1879), BENGAY®, BENADRYL® and more.

  • 2010

    The Company supports the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals to improve the health of mothers and children in developing countries. As a founding sponsor, Johnson & Johnson helps launch the United States’ first free mobile health service, providing health information via text messages for pregnant women and new mothers.

  • 2011

    Johnson & Johnson celebrates 125 years of caring and looks to the next 125 years of transforming care for patients, consumers and communities around the world.

  • 2012

    Alex Gorsky is appointed Chief Executive Officer of Johnson & Johnson. As only the seventh CEO in our history, he continues a legacy of leadership.

  • 2013

    1. Our First Aid Kits celebrated their
        125th anniversary.

    2. Opened innovation centers in
        Boston, MA; Menlo Park, CA;
        London, UK; and Shanghai, China.

    3. REMICADE ® (infliximab)
        celebrated 15 years on the market
        and advancing patient care.