Like many successful, global companies, Johnson & Johnson was started in 1886 with a single product in mind: The brothers Johnson – Robert, James and Edward – heard a speech by antiseptic advocate Joseph Lister and wanted to produce ready-to-use surgical bandages.
Two years later the company published “Modern Methods of Antiseptic Wound Treatment,’’ to further the company’s mission. More than a century later, the company is one of the largest and most profitable in the world, with hundreds of subsidiaries that have produced some of its most iconic brands: Johnson’s Baby Powder, Band-Aid, Tylenol, Acuvue contact lenses.
Along the way, the company pioneered products ranging from dental floss to contraceptives to pharmaceuticals to medical devices such as coronary stents.
Headquartered in New Brunswick, N.J., Johnson & Johnson today has some 128,000 employees spread across the globe. Early on the company established a culture of giving back to the community by donating goods and money to victims of a deadly hurricane in Galveston, Texas, in 1900 and the disastrous San Francisco earthquake in 1906. More recently, the company has committed to helping advance United Nations sustainable development goals around the world.
By Bob Warren