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HomeLatest newsOur heritageTaking a trip back in time: 10 ways Johnson & Johnson has helped make vacationing easier since 1887
1949 advertisement for Johnson & Johnson's surgical dressings in The Saturday Evening Post

Taking a trip back in time: 10 ways Johnson & Johnson has helped make vacationing easier since 1887

Packing the right essentials can make or break your summer getaway. But did you know many of those must-haves have been Johnson & Johnson innovations?

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Beach days, bike riding and let’s not forget lots of BBQ. Certain traditions are just synonymous with summer vacation—and for more than 130 years, Johnson & Johnson has created products that have gone hand in hand with safe summer fun.

With company historian Margaret Gurowitz as our guide, we’re taking you on a historical road trip of inventions that have helped vacationers make the most of the summer season.
  • Johnson & Johnson Papoid Tablets
    Image courtesy of Johnson & Johnson Archives

    Papoid Tablets

    Whether you’ve had one too many hot dogs at the ballpark or overindulged on a summer cruise, indigestion can easily derail a day meant for R&R. In the late 1800s, Johnson & Johnson stepped in to help by creating tablets that contained stomach-soothing extracts of papaya enzymes. A later product, Johnson’s® Digestive Tablets, also featured papaya extract, notes Gurowitz.

    Over 130 years later, Johnson & Johnson is still helping travelers get relief from tummy troubles with products like Original Strength Pepcid AC®, Maximum Strength Pepcid AC® and Pepcid Complete®.
  • Red Cross® Kidney Plasters
    Image courtesy of Johnson & Johnson Archives

    Red Cross® Kidney Plasters

    Cycling tours were a big draw in the late 1800s, and along with the new sights and sounds experienced on the road came new aches and pains.

    Fortunately, Johnson & Johnson introduced Red Cross® Kidney Plasters, which were rubber medicated patches that helped alleviate pain. Their distinctive kidney shape made them ideal for dealing with lower back soreness (as shown at right).

    “The plasters were also popular with hikers and other kinds of athletes,” Gurowitz adds.
  • Johnson & Johnson Mosquitoons
    Image courtesy of Johnson & Johnson Archives


    Bloodthirsty insects can easily put a damper on your vacation. Prior to the invention of bug spray, people turned to Mosquitoons kits from Johnson & Johnson. Each kit contained small candles that produced fumes designed to combat mosquitoes.
  • Lister’s Sanitary Diapers
    Image courtesy of Johnson & Johnson Archives

    Lister’s Sanitary Diapers

    Johnson & Johnson was responsible for pioneering disposable diapers, says Gurowitz. Its debut product was made from layers of absorbent cotton, cellulose sheets and gauze—and it was sterilized to help ward off disease.

    So what’s the vacation connection? Lister’s Sanitary Diapers was marketed as being “indispensable when taking baby out for the day or when traveling,” Gurowitz notes.
  • Ad for Johnson & Johnson bandages
    Image courtesy of Johnson & Johnson Archives

    DryBak Bandages

    This was the first BAND-AID® Brand adhesive bandage specifically designed to protect your skin from water, notes Gurowitz. DryBak bandages featured an innovative waterproof coating with a strong adhesive to keep them from curling or becoming soggy.

    “The great thing about these and other bandages from Johnson & Johnson at the time,” she adds, “was that, in addition to being sold in tins, they were available in small packets that could easily fit into a pocket.”
  • Johnson & Johnson First Aid Cream
    Image courtesy of Johnson & Johnson Archives

    Johnson & Johnson First Aid Cream

    Smart travelers knew to prepare for minor vacation scrapes and scratches by packing a tube of this soothing, greaseless cream that contained protective emollients to help shield wounds from infection.
  • Johnson & Johnson Marine First Aid Kit
    Image courtesy of Johnson & Johnson Archives

    Marine First Aid Kit

    This waterproof, buoyant kit was a must-have on the high seas: It contained medications for seasickness and heat exhaustion—as well as Johnson & Johnson’s then newly developed Resusitube® Airway, an S-shaped plastic tube that could help revive victims of drowning.

    The Marine First Aid Kit was one in a long line of specialized kits that the company produced after founder Robert Wood Johnson created the original first aid kit in 1888.
  • 1-Day Acuvue® Brand Contact Lenses
    Image courtesy of Johnson & Johnson Archives

    1-Day Acuvue® Brand Contact Lenses

    Travel got a lot easier for corrective lens wearers with the launch of these very first daily disposable contact lenses. For vacationers, this meant you didn’t need to pack additional contact lens cleaning and storage products—you could just pop in new lenses every morning and go.
  • Zyrtec®


    Achoo! Fighting off a reaction to summer allergies got easier when Zyrtec® became available as an over-the-counter, 24-hour treatment in 2008. The medication helps relieve indoor and outdoor allergy symptoms, including sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes.
  • Acuvue® Oasys with Transitions™ Light Intelligent Technology™ contact lenses; Neutrogena® Ultra Sheer® Liquid Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 70; BAND-AID® Brand HYDRO SEAL® waterproof bandages
    Johnson & Johnson still has your back on vacation—literally in the case of sun protection products like Neutrogena® Ultra Sheer® Liquid Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 70. Summer first aid essentials are also a mainstay to this day—including BAND-AID® Brand HYDRO SEAL® waterproof bandages—and eye care, too, with the brand-new, first-of-their-kind Acuvue® Oasys with Transitions™ Light Intelligent Technology™ contact lenses, which darken automatically when exposed to bright light.

When you’ve been innovating for over 135 years …

Johnson & Johnson has a virtual museum where you can learn more fun facts about its rich history.

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