Earle Dickson


Earle Dickson was born on October 10, 1892 and died on September 21, 1961. He born in Grand View, Tennessee and died in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Earle Dickson was a cotton buyer for the Johnson & Johnson Company when he invented the Band-aid in 1921. His wife was always cutting her fingers in the kitchen while preparing food.

At that time, bandages were made by cutting a piece of gauze, placing it on the sore and then taping the gauze in place.

Mr. Dickson noticed that the gauze and tape that his wife used would quickly fall off of her active fingers. He decided to invent something that would stay in place and protect small wounds better.

Earle Dickson took a piece of gauze and attached it to the center of a piece of tape. Then he covered the gauze with a piece of cloth called crinoline to keep the tape from sticking to itself. Once you peeled the crinoline off, it would stick to protect the wound.

His boss, James Johnson, saw the invention and decided to manufacture "Band-Aids" and sell them to the public. Earle Dickson was made a vice-president of the Johnson & Johnson Company.

Sale of Band-Aids were slow until Johnson & Johnson decided to give Boy Scout Troops free Band-Aids as a publicity gimmick. By 1924, Band-Aids were machine made. In 1939, they were advertised as being sterile. In 1958, they were made with plastic adhesive (tape) strips.

At the time of Mr. Dickson's death, Johnson & Johnson's was selling $30,000,000.00 worth of Band-aids each year.