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 From Surgery Antiseptic to Modern Mouthwash

Ever wondered where LISTERINE® rinse got its name? Dr. Joseph Lawrence, the creator of LISTERINE® mouthwash, wanted to name his work after a scientist who paved the way. Lister, an English doctor and surgeon, became the first surgeon to perform an operation in a chamber sterilized with pulverized antiseptic. The result? More patients survived than ever before. Inspired, Lawrence created a unique formulation of his own that was perfect for killing germs in tissues, like your mouth.

The history of LISTERINE® goes back more than 130 years, to the beginnings of modern medicine.

It all started in 1860, with the work of Sir Joseph Lister.

The English doctor and surgeon were at that time applying the theories of the famous scientist Louis Pasteur: theories according to which invisible germs could be the cause of numerous infections.

In 1865, Sir Joseph Lister became the first surgeon to carry out an operation in a chamber sterilised by pulverising antiseptic in the air. During the 19th century, this resulted in a significant fall in mortality rates in patients.

A MAN TO BE REMEMBERED

In 1876, following a conference on his research activities, Sir Joseph Lister drew attention to the work of two men who were to play an active part in the history of LISTERINE®:

  • Doctor Joseph Lawrence, creator of the brand
  • Robert Wood Johnson, founder of the Johnson & Johnson group which markets the product today

TWO MEN, ONE AIM: TO MODERNISE SURGICAL PRACTICE

In 1879, Doctor Joseph Lawrence created a unique formulation in his laboratories, inspired by the research of Sir Joseph Lister, and called it LISTERINE®.

He then formed a partnership with the pharmacist Jordan Wheat Lambert, and together they created the Lambert Pharmaceutical Company. 

In this company they produced and sold LISTERINE®, used as a disinfectant in operating theatres and as a solution for bathing wounds.

TODAY…

LISTERINE® is used today as a daily mouthwash. Our product is aimed at improving oral hygiene for everyone, by supplementing the brushing action.

LISTERINE® has been taken up by more than a billion people throughout the world.

From Surgery Antiseptic to Modern Mouthwash

1860

Louis Pasteur’s theory that invisible germs are the cause of numerous infections inspires an English doctor named Joseph Lister.

Louis Pasteur

1865

Lister becomes the first surgeon to perform an operation in a chamber sterilized by pulverizing antiseptic in the air. Mortality rates begin to fall.

1876

Lister publicly recognizes the work of 2 men working to modernize surgical practices: Dr. Joseph Lawrence and Robert Wood Johnson, founder of Johnson & Johnson.

1879

Inspired by Lister, Lawrence creates LISTERINE® mouthwash, a unique antiseptic for use in surgeries and bathing wounds.

Inspired by Lister, Lawrence creates LISTERINE®

1881

Lambert Pharmaceutical Co. buys the rights to the LISTERINE® formula and begins to produce and market it.

1895

Studies show that LISTERINE® rinse is effective at killing germs in the mouth, and it catches the attention of dentists.

1914

LISTERINE® mouthwash becomes the first prescription product in the United States to also be sold over the counter and is marketed as an oral germ killer.

1920

LISTERINE® mouthwash renames bad breath “halitosis” and sales rise.

1997

LISTERINE® mouthwash puts the tooth fairy out of a job in an iconic commercial.

2006

LISTERINE® mouthwash makes a bold statement: rinsing with LISTERINE® mouthwash reduces plaque
by up to 56% more than brushing alone.

2008

LISTERINE SMART RINSE® and LISTERINE® HEALTHY WHITE™ VIBRANT launch in the U.S. market.

2009 - 2011

LISTERINE® rinse launches the TOTAL CARE line in the US market.

LISTERINE® rinse launches TOTAL CARE

2012

LISTERINE® rinse releases ULTRACLEAN® line to replace the ADVANCED mouthwash line.

LISTERINE® rinse releases ULTRACLEAN

2012

LISTERINE® rinse launches Fluoride Defense to replace LISTERINE® RESTORING.

LISTERINE® rinse launches Fluoride Defense

2014

LISTERINE® mouthwash launches floss and NATURALS line in the U.S. market.

LISTERINE® mouthwash launches floss and NATURALS

2014

LISTERINE® brand extends its healthy mouth offerings by launching 5 new floss products into the market.

2014

LISTERINE® rinse introduces HEALTHY WHITE™, a way to safely whiten and restore enamel.

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