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Antiqibles Index > Tins Index > First Aid Tins > Bandage Tins Index


First Aid and Bandage Tins Index

by Michael R. Reilly c. October 2, 1995

Updated 06/25/2016

     The September issue of Yesteryear, in the column 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 his column 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 fabric used especially to dress and bind up wounds., 2 : a flexible strip or band used to cover, strengthen, or compress something )

      Basically he explains how the bandaid ( Band-Aid: Pronunciation: 'ban-'dAd, Function: trademark -- used for a small adhesive strip with a gauze pad for covering minor wounds) came to be in 1920; invented by an employee of the Johnson & Johnson Co.  The inventor, Earle Dickson, later retired a VP from J&J in 1957. W. Johnson Kenyon, another employee, suggested the name BAND-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 paper box.)

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

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

    When I read this I immediately brought out David Zimmerman's, The Encyclopedia of Advertising Tins: Smalls & Samples, thinking there would be a host of them there.

     Alas, there were none to be found. The closest I could get was the adhesive tape and plaster coated strip tins, the type used to tape 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 out there. 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 column along with a couple of others.

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

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

    The Rexall tin I bought was manufactured by CANCO. The tin held plastic plain padded bandaids or as they called them, "Quik-Bands". In Mr. Reed's article another Rexall tin from the 1960's is pictured with graphics of four different style Quik-Bands inside.

    That tire-shaped tin I purchased containing plaster, actually held a 1/2 in wide by 2 1/2 yard long strip coated with a plaster adhesive. I don't know how long this product was used, especially by retail customers. I'm going to say that this was a fore-runner of the adhesive tape that I've had used on me in the 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 bandaid tins.

    Let me say that I'm not advocating that you go out and buy these all up. Mr. Reed's column prompted my natural curiosity and I had to look a little closer.

    If any of you have an interest in this type of tin (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, used in other context, to a point where people don't ask for a bandage to cover a wound, they ask for a "bandaid".

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

Band-aid Golf Instruction

"No-Stitch - Bandaid Surgery"

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

Nina's Poem

Shannon's Poem"A Man Burned His Foot"

by Shannon

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

     His name was Jim. I put a bandaid on his foot 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 two weeks I've been a courting, and it's been a wild ride with several pot-holes run over.

      A while back I wrote a brief article (the one above) about collecting bandage tins and from that smothering interest burst forth flames of desire. Or maybe you didn't notice (especially if you haven't visited the web site lately-shame on you).

      I've been oohing and aahing all kinds of bandage tins lately. Yes, I'm fickle, a two-timer, not willing to settle down with just one. I'm running want ads all over the place, participating in frenzy bidding on eBay, and buying from all over the country. Writing back and forth with other new found suitors (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 on the shelf to over 33 and more coming in the mail every day. Is this infatuation? I hope so, my chip tins seem to be taking on a glow of jealousy.

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

     Settling down for a moment of seriousness. I did get caught up in collecting something different and like many other tin collectors, at one time or another, went berserk over it. And it hasn't been without pitfalls. 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 a reappearance. Well that isn't exactly true. Most of those KID CARE Disney character tins are still readily available in stores but you have to search for them. This I found out after paying up to twice the retail cost for them. And I found this out accidentally while grocery shopping. Went over to the medicine aisle, just looking for manufacturer information off of cardboard boxes and I see Pocahontas and the Lion King staring at me. Oh boy!

      I violated a cardinal rule of collecting, look (for information) before you leap (buy). Collecting bandage tins covers a time 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, especially sellers, thinking they know (sometimes) more than you. There's also the problem of communication. 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 antique shop/mall, not a grocery store.

      You collectors of modern tins are probably grinning like crazy at this, but you would probably feel just as out of place wondering around an antique shop or trying to get information about about a 75 year old tin. We all make mistakes. Fortunately, mine weren't over-whelming costly. I regrouped and you can now all learn from my mistakes.

      Besides the KID CARE tins, I understand that the Olympics tin is still available (probably around Atlanta) and I found at 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 special advertising promotion, I'm sure that most will be eliminated. Manufacturers do realize that people are interested in this kind of thing and have carried their advertising over to 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, please write. I hope this will be of interest and help to others.



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

     I said, "Ootmar what’s with the band-aids."

     He replied, "some people collect coins and some collect stamps, I decided to collect something different, inexpensive and fun."

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

     I weighed my response carefully and then threw down the gauntlet. "Ootmar, is this the best you can do, there’s got to be dozens 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 I searched 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 each other. What we found was not surprising. Any blockbuster kids movie will generally have an associated band-aid box. Disney Films of course are represented in large numbers, but so is Space Jam, Anastasia, Flipper, Sesame Street, Bugs Bunny, etc.

     When Ootmar and I were on a business trip to Las Vegas, we spent the evening checking out the stores for boxes. When my wife asked me what I did in the evening in Las Vegas, I told her I hit the casinos. I didn’t want to have her me committed. Some people think spending 3 night in the exciting town of Las Vegas looking for band-aids is rather strange.

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

     When friends, co-workers or friends travel they 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 have collected from foreign countries. I’m going to France in April, I’ll come back with some new ones.

     If any of the readers have something old or foreign, please write me at "[email protected]" I will pay a fair price.

   Company History
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 and absorbent cotton. Mr. Kendall later transformed production to focus on health and hygienic products, which would later become catalysts for his company's future growth. As business burgeoned, Henry Kendall recognized the wisdom of manufacturing his own cloth instead of buying it from an outside source; he purchased a cotton mill in Camden, South Carolina in 1916, helping his company to become one of the first American companies to integrate its operations from spinning, weaving and finishing the broadwoven fabrics used in dressings.

World War I was a catalyst for growth for the company; the battlefield created a tremendous need for surgical dressings made from the company's absorbent cotton gauze. 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 and first 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-Palmolive Company, and during its 16-year association with the consumer products giant continued to grow both domestically and internationally. In late 1988, a new company formed by management and outside vendors purchased Kendall. Kendall was ultimately acquired by Tyco International, Ltd. in October of 1994, becoming part of their Disposable & Specialty Division.

Index to Bandage Brand Names

Band-Aid Brand        




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