the original patent drawing for Petroleum Jelly purification

A breakthrough discovery

Robert Augustus Chesebrough, a 22-year-old chemist, traveled to Titusville, Pennsylvania and discovered something amazing. He learned about a natural, waxy ingredient, rich in minerals from deep within the earth, which had visible skin-repairing properties.

Inspired by this, Chesebrough brought samples of the substance back to his chemistry lab in Brooklyn and began experimenting and re-formulating it, hoping to find a solution to heal and protect the skin.

After several years of testing and perfecting the extracting technique, in 1865 Chesebrough patented his purification method, marking the birth of the triple purification process unique to the Vaseline® brand.

Vintage bottles of Vaseline

The VASELINE® Brand Is Born

In 1870, the product we know and use today was officially born as Chesebrough began to distribute this pure petroleum jelly under the brand name of Vaseline® – one of the first branded products in North America.

In the same year, Chesebrough opened a factory in Brooklyn, New York and toured the entire state in a horse-drawn carriage to promote this "miracle" product.

By 1874, just two years after its branding, one tin per minute of Vaseline® Jelly was being sold throughout the United States. That's over 1,400 tins a day!

A vintage ad from 1880s of Vaseline's Petroleum Jelly

Trusted by All

People started to discover the safe and diverse uses of pure Vaseline® petroleum jelly, and soon nearly every household in North America had a jar in their medicine cabinet.

New mothers used it on their babies for diaper rash, while workers exposed to extreme cold weather used it to relieve their dry, chapped skin.

A box of Vaseline products from 1900s

A Wartime Staple

Vaseline® became a staple for the American soldiers fighting in Europe.

Ideal for soothing sore feet in the trenches, it was in such high demand that many young men would write home, asking their families to send more.

A vintage ad from 1920s of Vaseline's Petroleum Jelly

“Handiest Thing In The House”

Used both for first aid and cosmetically, it became a ubiquitous household brand.
an example of Vaseline's sterile antiseptic dressing fabricated in 1930s

Supporting The Frontline

During WWII, soldiers sustained serious injuries from burns, so Chesebrough Manufacturing Company was commissioned by the Surgeon General to produce a sterile antiseptic dressing containing petroleum jelly.
A vintage ad from 1950s of Vaseline's Petroleum Jelly

"The Wonder Jelly"

Reader's Digest called Vaseline® "The Wonder Jelly".
A vintage ad from 1970s of Vaseline's Lotions

Vaseline® Lotion Is Launched

Vaseline® Intensive Care™ Lotion was launched in the USA in 1968, for both dry skin, and as an after-sun moisturizer.

A few years later, a new era was born with the development of the Vaseline® Intensive Care™ "Working Hands of America" campaign featuring people from all walks of life with different occupations, all clapping and joining hands across mountains and valleys.

A vintage ad from 1980s of Vaseline's hand cream and lip balm

Vaseline for Lips and Hands

After the great success with body lotions, Vaseline® began to expand its offering by introducing Vaseline® Lip Therapy® and Vaseline® Hand & Nail Formula.
Woman using Vaseline Healing Jelly

Taking Steps Towards Sustainability

We switched the plastic material used in our Vaseline® Healing Jelly jars from polystyrene (PS) to polypropelene (PP).

Since 2011, polypropylene plastic (PP) has had recycling challenges and our Healing Jelly jars currently include a “check locally” How 2 Recycle label. However, in July 2022, How 2 Recycle upgraded the status of certain PP formats (like the kind used in our Healing Jelly Jars) to “widely recyclable”. So our Healing Jelly jars are now considered recyclable pursuant to the How 2 Recycle program and our labelling will be updated shortly to reflect this change. To learn more about H2R’s 2022 decision to upgrade PP’s status from “check locally” to “widely recyclable”, visit this page (https://how2recycle.info/news/2022/how2recycle-upgrades-recyclability-of-certain-rigid-polypropylene-pp-formats).

a woman applying Vaseline Jelly on a kid

Bringing Skin Healing Where It’s Needed The Most

Aiming to provide skin healthcare to every body, everywhere, the Vaseline® brand partnered with Direct Relief to create the Vaseline® Healing Project.

Since the program was launched, we’ve been providing people around the world access to critical skin health care in areas with acute needs or in the wake of natural disasters.

Old bottles and New Bottles

Less Plastic per Lotion Bottle

Lotion packs were reengineered to use less plastic, avoiding the equivalent of 2.3M of Vaseline® 20.3oz bottles (the redesigned format) (130 metric tons of plastic) in the US from 2018 to 2022.

two kids smiling

Skin Health For All

Vaseline® reached its first goal of helping to heal the skin of over five million people worldwide through The Vaseline® Healing Project (VHP).
Hand holding Vaseline bottle

Increasing the Usage of Recycled Plastic

Vaseline®'s Intensive Care Lotions were relaunched with new packaging, improved formulas and bottles made of 50% recycled plastic. More details on our approach to plastic here.