Monday, July 30, 2018

Origins of Some Household Items


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What is it:
Kleenex is a brand name for a variety of paper-based products such as facial tissue, bathroom tissue, paper towels, tampons, and nappies (diapers, for US readers).  Often used informally as a genericized trademark for facial tissue in the United States, the name Kleenex is a registered trademark of Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.
Origin:
Kimberly, Clark and Co. was founded in 1872 in Wisconsin.  The group's first business was operating paper mills, which the collective expanded throughout the following decades. The company developed cellu-cotton in 1914, a cotton substitute used by the U.S. Army as surgical cotton during World War I. Army nurses used cellu-cotton pads as disposable sanitary napkins, and six years later the company introduced Kotex, the first disposable feminine hygiene product. 
Kleenex, a disposable handkerchief, followed in 1924 and was made from the same material. Originally marketed as an effective way to remove cold cream, the first Kleenex ads, placed in magazines in 1925, exclaimed that the product was, "the new secret of keeping a pretty skin as used by famous movie stars." 
The company originally rejected the idea of marketing them as a disposable alternative to handkerchiefs after their head researcher first made the suggestion. Nonetheless they decided to dedicate a small bit of ad space to the marketing concept and by the 1930’s the idea was popular enough that their main advertising slogan was “Don’t Carry a Cold in Your Pocket.”
More:
When a product becomes so well known or achieves such market dominance that that type of product generally becomes known by the trade name, it is said that the trademark has become genericized.  As a result the trademark protection may be lost in some countries.  Examples include: Thermos, Kleenex, ChapStick, Aspirin, Dumpster, Band-Aid, Velcro, Hoover, and Speedo.
n the USA, the Kleenex name has become—in common usage but not in law—genericized: the popularity of the product has led to the use of its name to refer to any facial tissue, regardless of the brand. Many dictionaries, including Merriam-Webster and Oxford, now include definitions in their publications defining it as such.

Gallery:

Some vintage ads:




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What is it:
Vaseline is a brand of petroleum jelly-based products owned by Anglo-Dutch company Unilever. Products include plain petroleum jelly and a selection of skin creams, soaps, lotions, cleansers, and deodorants.
Origin:
In 1859, Robert Chesebrough went to the oil fields in Titusville, Pennsylvania, and learned of a residue called "rod wax" that had to be periodically removed from oil rig pumps. The oil workers had been using the substance to heal cuts and burns. Chesebrough took samples of the rod wax back to Brooklyn, extracted the usable petroleum jelly, and began manufacturing the medicinal product he called Vaseline.
More:
Vaseline was made by the Chesebrough Manufacturing Company until the company was purchased by Unilever in 1987.
The name "vaseline" is said by the manufacturer to be derived from German Wasser "water" + Greek elaion "olive oil".
Cheeseborough believed so strongly in the health benefits of Vaseline that he swallowed a spoonful each day until his death at age 96.

Gallery:

Robert Cheseborough

Some ads . . .




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What is it:
WD-40 is the trademark name of a penetrating oil and water-displacing spray. The spray is manufactured by the WD-40 Company based in San Diego, California.
Origin:
The invention of WD-40 has been credited to either Iver Norman Lawson or Norman Larsen.  The spray, composed of various hydrocarbons, was originally designed to be used to protect the outer skin of the Atlas missile from rust and corrosion.  In other words, don’t let your nukes get rusty. The name  "WD-40" is abbreviated from the term "Water Displacement, 40th formula", being the result of the 40th attempt to create the product. 
Iver Norman Lawson came up with the water-displacing mixture after working at home, and turned it over to the Rocket Chemical Company for the sum of $500, which today (2018) is about $4,600. It was Norman Larsen, president of the company, who had the idea of packaging it in aerosol cans and marketed it in this way.
More:
WD-40 was later found to have many household uses and was made available to consumers in San Diego in 1958. The idea for this came after the company owners realised employees were sneaking cans of the product out of the building to use around the home.

Gallery:







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