Who Was The Inventor Of Vaseline and How Was It Founded?

Vaseline is owned by the multinational company Unilever, as an American brand of petroleum jelly based products. Its products range from lotions, creams, deodorants, cleansers, and soaps, all available for men and women. The popularity of Vaseline products extends even outside the United States to various countries around the world.

The Father of Vaseline

Have you ever wonder who the inventor of Vaseline is? To cut the intrigue, the inventor of this petroleum jelly-based product is Sir Robert Augustus Chesebrough. He is an American chemist who clarified kerosene from the oil of sperm whales in 1859.

Birth of Vaseline

Back then, he traveled to the oil fields of Titusville, Pennsylvania, where he learned a residue from oil rig pumps called rod wax. Chesebrough noticed that the oil rig workers have been using the rod wax to heal their cuts and burns after strenuous work at the site. He got curious about the unusual remedy, so he took samples of this rod wax back to Brooklyn. He extracted the petroleum jelly and later manufactured it into a medicinal product that he called Vaseline.

As a product invented by Chesebrough, Vaseline patented his creation in the US in 1872 and England in 1877. While the name Vaseline, as he described it, was derived from German words meaning water and olive oil. Although Vaseline is an American brand in the United States, that same name is used in other countries as a generic name for petroleum jelly, especially in Spanish-speaking countries.

Mass Production of Vaseline

Chesebrough knew that his invention of Vaseline will benefit many people, especially for medicinal purposes. So, in that same year in 1959, when he invented his product, he also established his company that he called Chesebrough Manufacturing Company. This company will focus on producing Vaseline and other petroleum jelly-based products marketed in the United States.

The first manufacturing plant for Vaseline was in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, in 1870. In this plant, the Vaseline was mass-produced for the consumption of Americans. However, the Great Depression in the United States hit Chesebrough’s company hard to merge with Ponds in 1955. Then a couple of decades later, the Chesebrough-Ponds Company was purchased by an Anglo-Dutch company Unilever, in 1987.

Applications of Vaseline

As a petroleum jelly-based product, Vaseline is commonly used as a lubricant by many people. And if a person has tissue dehydration, Vaseline can be a quick remedy to insulate moisture from the skin. Some uses of Vaseline, which is beneficial to the physical body, are listed below.

  • Moisture Loss Prevention. Skin moisture is naturally escaping the skin into the surrounding atmosphere. That is why sometimes lips and hands are chapped and soften nail cuticles. But, the application of Vaseline to these body parts helps maintain moisture in the skin.
  • Heat Insulation for the Skin. This is common for swimmers who need to heat their body or skin while in training. Once the swimmer is in water for training, there is a tendency to lower the body temperature due to constant heat transfer from the swimmer to the surrounding water. To prevent this from happening, swimmers can use Vaseline to insulate the heat in their bodies while maintaining an average body temperature.
  • Lubricant for the Skin. For athletes that have problems with extreme friction during workouts or sport. Vaseline can significantly reduce the friction made between the skin and clothing of athletes. So, runners, footballers, and even wrestlers never forget to apply some Vaseline on a particular skin to avoid unnecessary friction during an activity.
  • Hair Grooming. Back in the twentieth century, there are no best hair grooming applications other than Vaseline. This is the most commonly used petroleum jelly to groom hairs, mustaches, and beards of men.
  • Pet Care. Vaseline can also be used with certain animals, especially with domestic pets. In most cases, this can help pets moisturize the skin, paws, and bellies of some pets. It can also be a remedy for hairball in some cat pets.

Overall Health Concern

According to the European Food Safety Authority in 2015, Vaseline products have Mineral Oil Aromatic Hydrocarbons  (MOAH) that consist up to nine percent of their typical products. And this MOAH is said to be carcinogenic in nature.