... and since you can't buy the Inventions back issue at the online store (it's one of my favorites, but sold out, unfortunately), I figured I'd do another post from Maggie Koerth's wonderful cover story. This one's on Band-Aids and the ridiculous reason we have them. Enjoy!
Earle Dickson, his clumsy wife, and the story of the BAND-AID
(IN CASE YOU'VE FORGOTTEN): It's that thing that usually sports a lovely dinosaur print while clinging to the knees of tow-headed grade-school ruffians. BAND-AIDS are also very handy for adult injuries, but you never really see anyone older than 13 wearing them—even the ones without cartoons. BAND-AIDS, it seems, are something relegated to the backwaters of childhood. Now that you're a big kid, you're far too cool to display to the world that you can, in fact, be injured. But your foolish pride is single-handedly diminishing the importance of this invention, and contributing to the downfall of one of America's greatest achievements. Don't you think it's time to heal this wound?
YOU SHOULD THANK: hardworking Johnson & Johnson employee Earle Dickson "¦ and his wife. After all, it's like they say; behind every great man is a woman who burns herself a lot.
IT ALL STARTED: in 1920, when Dickson wed his sweetheart, Josephine, and quickly discovered she wasn't exactly Little Mary Homemaker. Turns out, she had a rather unnerving habit of kitchen klutziness. Every day, Dickson would come home to find another cut or burn that needed patching up. He was sympathetic at first, but as time passed, the score increased to Kitchen: 500, Josephine: 0, and he grew more and more frustrated. Finally, Dickson came up with a way for his wife to fix her wounds without having to wait on him. He took a roll of Johnson & Johnson surgical tape and spaced out squares of gauze down the length of it. To keep the tape from sticking to itself, he covered it in a layer of removable crinoline. Forever after, when Josephine injured herself, she simply cut a length from the roll and patched up the damage. Thus, BAND-AIDS were born. No word on the final outcome of Josephine vs. Kitchen, but we're hoping no news is good news.