Bandage / Bandaid / Band-aid Tins

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Bandage Tins

by Mike Reilly

     The September issue of Yesteryear, in thecolumn Yesterday’s Collectibles by Robert Reed was written on the subject of”Colorful Bandage Tins”. I thought it was an interesting article, and if I knew how to contact him I would have asked to have it reprinted here for you. Perhaps hiscolumn appears in other tabloid style antique newspapers and you’ve read it.

     (ban·dage: Pronunciation: ‘ban-dij,Function: noun, Etymology: Middle French, from bande, Date: 1599, 1 : a strip of fabricused especially to dress and bind up wounds., 2 : a flexible strip or band used to cover,strengthen, or compress something )

      Basically he explains how thebandaid ( Band-Aid: Pronunciation: ‘ban-‘dAd, Function: trademark — used for a smalladhesive strip with a gauze pad for covering minor wounds) came to be in 1920; invented byan employee of the Johnson & Johnson Co.  The inventor, Earle Dickson, laterretired a VP from J&J in 1957. W. Johnson Kenyon, another employee, suggested the nameBAND-AID. The company marketed their product in the flip-open lid tins from early on.(From A Reader – FYI – the original (pre patent) Band-Aid container was a paperbox.)

    The many tins they were sold in haven’t beendiscussed much at all in any collector book. In fact, he only cites two, Advertising byDawn Reno and Drugstore Collectibles by Patricia McDaniels. And in each, only one of thetins is mentioned.

     Mr. Reed talks of Johnson & Johnson; Parke, Davis & Company, and Curad as a few of the major producers. Manydrugstore chains like Rexall also carried their own private label brands.

    When I read this I immediately brought out DavidZimmerman’s, The Encyclopedia of Advertising Tins: Smalls & Samples, thinking therewould be a host of them there.

     Alas, there were none to be found. Theclosest I could get was the adhesive tape and plaster coated strip tins, the type used totape or stick cotton or cloth over a wound.

Not a single bandaid tin to be found! They’re “smalls”!

     There are probably dozens of them outthere. Many newer ones with recent movie release cartoons on them show the Lion King, 101 Dalmatians, and of course Mickey Mouse and friends. These Mr. Reed shows in his columnalong with a couple of others.

     Of course, like so many other items soldin tins, bandaids soon found their way into the now more familiar cardboard boxes. Iremember my mother storing small sewing objects, like buttons in one of them, and keepingthe tin in the sewing basket.

     For the heck of it I went looking for someof them at a local antique mall. I found two, one is a Rexall Quik-Bands, and the other isactually one that contained waterproof adhesive plaster from Physicians and Surgeons. Ithought I had purchased one with adhesive tape not plaster. Some of each of these latteritems are listed in Zimmerman’s. Both cost me what Mr. Reed said, a couple of bucks each.

    The Rexall tin I bought was manufactured byCANCO. The tin held plastic plain padded bandaids or as they calledthem, “Quik-Bands”. In Mr. Reed’s article another Rexall tin from the 1960’s ispictured with graphics of four different style Quik-Bands inside.

    That tire-shaped tin I purchased containingplaster, actually held a 1/2 in wide by 2 1/2 yard long strip coated with a plasteradhesive. I don’t know how long this product was used, especially by retail customers. I’mgoing to say that this was a fore-runner of the adhesive tape that I’ve had used on me inthe past. The Physicians & Surgeons brand was distributed by Valentine Laboratories,Inc., Chicago, IL.

  Anyone know of a more formal name for this type of tin?

They would make good companion pieces to go with your bandaidtins.

    Let me say that I’m not advocating that you goout and buy these all up. Mr. Reed’s column prompted my natural curiosity and I had tolook a little closer.

    If any of you have an interest in this type oftin (the bandaid variety) and would like to share some information with other readers,please contact me.

Additional Information from Dawn E. Reno’s book, “Advertising:Identification and Price Guide”.

Other Uses of the “band-aid” Name(Band-Aid Brand®)

Band-Aids® is a registered trademark of the Johnson &Johnson Corporation. Even though a trademark, it has been used to mean other things, usedin other context, to a point where people don’t ask for a bandage to cover a wound, theyask for a “bandaid”.

In reference to their supply of professional staff to (first) aid you.

Band-aidGolf Instruction

“No-Stitch- Bandaid Surgery”

star fever by patti smith [from a copy of Todd Rundgren’s 1973album A Wizard, A True Star, which includes a Patti “Band-Aid” poem.

Nina’s Poem

Shannon’sPoem”A Man Burned His Foot”

by Shannon

     One time, there was a beach and the manfound a place with fire and he burned his foot. And he was cooking some birdie meat and heburned his foot.

     His name was Jim. I put a bandaid on hisfoot and it was a nice Dalmatian bandaid. I put the bandaid on his foot and he said,”that’s nice of you

The End

(Editor’s Note: I really liked this one.)

Romancing the Tin

by Mike Reilly

(Reprinted from the TIN GATHERING™Vol.2 No.26. 1/23/98)

     Isn’t love wonderful? For the past twoweeks I’ve been a courting, and it’s been a wild ride with several pot-holes run over.

      A while back I wrote a briefarticle (the one above) about collecting bandage tins and from that smothering interestburst forth flames of desire. Or maybe you didn’t notice (especially if you haven’tvisited the web site lately-shame on you).

      I’ve been oohing and aahing allkinds of bandage tins lately. Yes, I’m fickle, a two-timer, not willing to settle downwith just one. I’m running want ads all over the place, participating in frenzy bidding oneBay, and buying from all over the country. Writing back and forth with other new foundsuitors (collectors) and scouring the internet for personals about my new found love.

Yes, that “mikepppta” is me, your editor. I admit it!

      From a couple examples sitting onthe shelf to over 33 and more coming in the mail every day. Is this infatuation? I hopeso, my chip tins seem to be taking on a glow of jealousy.

      Actually the last couple of weekshave seem to be a blur. With all of the activity going on, the days have flown by. Ifyou’ve been a frequent web site visitor (thank you), you probably noticed the mountinginformation on bandage tins; it has been almost a daily update.

     Settling down for a moment ofseriousness. I did get caught up in collecting something different and like many other tincollectors, at one time or another, went berserk over it. And it hasn’t been withoutpitfalls. Part of the reason leads back to Robert Reed’s original article last September.In it he talks of the bandage tin disappearing from store shelves; like never to make areappearance. Well that isn’t exactly true. Most of those KID CARE Disney character tinsare still readily available in stores but you have to search for them. This I found outafter paying up to twice the retail cost for them. And I found this out accidentally whilegrocery shopping. Went over to the medicine aisle, just looking for manufacturerinformation off of cardboard boxes and I see Pocahontas and the Lion King staring at me.Oh boy!

      I violated a cardinal rule ofcollecting, look (for information) before you leap (buy). Collecting bandage tins covers atime period of the 1920’s up to the present, if you don’t include gauze tins (or similar).Since there’s been little written, you depend on the insight of others, especiallysellers, thinking they know (sometimes) more than you. There’s also the problem ofcommunication. I’ve purchased 99.9% of my other tins from antique shops and flea markets.When someone says to me that I have to check it out at the store, I’m thinking antiqueshop/mall, not a grocery store.

      You collectors of modern tins areprobably grinning like crazy at this, but you would probably feel just as out of placewondering around an antique shop or trying to get information about about a 75 year oldtin. We all make mistakes. Fortunately, mine weren’t over-whelming costly. I regroupedand you can now all learn from my mistakes.

      Besides the KID CARE tins, Iunderstand that the Olympics tin is still available (probably around Atlanta) and I foundat least 6 different examples of BAND-AID brand lying around on grocery/drugstore shelves.If you want them, you have to look, they are indeed phasing out. Except for some specialadvertising promotion, I’m sure that most will be eliminated. Manufacturers do realizethat people are interested in this kind of thing and have carried their advertising overto bandages in colorful, character cardboard and plastic boxes (next collectibles?).

      Anyway, I’m glad you visited this web site and looked over the info on bandage tins. If you can add to it, pleasewrite. I hope this will be of interest and help to others.



     My co-worker Ootmar is the Chief Engineerat a major cable TV station. Ootmar is a real iconoclast. He’ll always march to hisown drummer and I respect him for it. Anyway one day as I walked into his incredibly messyoffice, I noticed about 20 different band-aid boxes, all in the kids motif.

     I said, “Ootmar what’s with theband-aids.”

     He replied, “some people collectcoins and some collect stamps, I decided to collect something different, inexpensive andfun.”

     I thought about it for a few moments andthought to myself, how cool it was. I decided I finally found my calling. No longer do Ihave to spend hundred of dollars for a rare coin that could have 10 different versions ofuncirculated.

     I weighed my response carefully and thenthrew down the gauntlet. “Ootmar, is this the best you can do, there’s got to bedozens of different boxes, I bet I can get more band-aid boxes than you.”

     “You’re on,” he responded.

     So for the next 12 months Ootmar and Isearched every drug store, Wal-mart, Target and grocery store for kid band-aid boxes.Since it was a friendly bet when ever we found a new box, we bought 2, one box for eachother. What we found was not surprising. Any blockbuster kids movie will generally have anassociated band-aid box. Disney Films of course are represented in large numbers, but sois Space Jam, Anastasia, Flipper, Sesame Street, Bugs Bunny, etc.

     When Ootmar and I were on a business tripto Las Vegas, we spent the evening checking out the stores for boxes. When my wife askedme what I did in the evening in Las Vegas, I told her I hit the casinos. I didn’twant to have her me committed. Some people think spending 3 night in the exciting town ofLas Vegas looking for band-aids is rather strange.

     Well this hobby is now an obsession. Ileft poor Ootmar in the dust. I have well over 100 band-aid boxes. But now when I go to astore 99 times out of 100 there is nothing new. So I decided to look for older and foreignboxes.

     When friends, co-workers or friends travelthey are on the lookout for me. I have have representatives from France, Spain, Israel,Italy, Holland, Greece and Canada. Shown below are some of the band-aid boxes I havecollected from foreign countries. I’m going to France in April, I’ll come backwith some new ones.

     If any of the readers have something oldor foreign, please write me at “” I will pay a fair price.

The roots of the Kendall Company can be traced back to 1903,when Henry P. Kendall bought the Lewis Batting Company in Walpole,Massachusetts. The Lewis Batting mill produced cotton batts, carpet linings andabsorbent cotton. Mr. Kendall later transformed production to focus on healthand hygienic products, which would later become catalysts for his company’sfuture growth. As business burgeoned, Henry Kendall recognized the wisdom ofmanufacturing his own cloth instead of buying it from an outside source; hepurchased a cotton mill in Camden, South Carolina in 1916, helping his companyto become one of the first American companies to integrate its operations fromspinning, weaving and finishing the broadwoven fabrics used in dressings.

World War I was a catalyst for growth for the company; the battlefield created atremendous need for surgical dressings made from the company’s absorbent cottongauze. When the end of the war saw a fall-off in demand for dressings, Kendall was prompted to diversify. Soon the company was producing hospital dressings,cheesecloth, sanitary napkin gauze and other coarse-mesh products, and acquiring additional spinning and weaving plants to keep up with demand. Many of these products were marketed under the now legendary CURITY trademark.

The advent of World War II brought a renewed demand for surgical dressings andfirst aid products. During this same time period, the company acquired a manufacturer of elastic stockings, and introduced its first nonwoven fabrics and industrial tapes.

In 1972, Kendall became a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Colgate-PalmoliveCompany, and during its 16-year association with the consumer products giant continued to grow both domestically and internationally. In late 1988, a newcompany formed by management and outside vendors purchased Kendall. Kendall wasultimately acquired by Tyco International, Ltd. in October of 1994, becoming part of their Disposable & Specialty Division.