The three Johnson brothers, Robert Wood, James Wood, and Edward Mead together created a line of ready-to-use surgical dressings in 1885. They produced their first product the next year, and the company incorporated in 1887.
Johnson & Johnson started producing consumer products in the 1920s. The company created a separate division for surgical products in 1941. This division eventually became the pharmaceutical division.
Johnson & Johnson expanded into women’s sanitary products and toiletries in the 1970s and 1980s.
In recent years the company has diversified even further, into such areas as orthopedics, internet publishing, and biopharmaceuticals.
Johnson & Johnson’s most well-know brands are Band-Aid, Tylenol, Johnson’s baby products, Neutrogena, Clean & Clear, and Acuvue.
On December 31, 2012 the FDA approved Sirturo, the first new tuberculosis drug on the market in 40 years.
Today Johnson & Johnson has 250 subsidiaries with operations in 57 countries, sells products in 175 countries, is part of the S&P 500, has 118,000 employees, and had $65 billion in revenue in 2012.