What is the History of Listerine?

by Anthony Carter on June 10, 2011


listerineListerine’s history goes back 120 years to when it was originally invented as a surgical antiseptic. It was used widely as such and was also given to dentists to use in oral health care. In distilled form the product also served time as a floor cleaner, as well as a cure for gonorrhea.

Later it was developed and sold as a cure for ‘chronic halitosis’ and as such became the first over-the-counter mouthwash that was sold in the United States of America.

From there the sales of Listerine grew and it became a popular consumer product. The two doctors that originally developed the product owned shares in the company that produced the product, but later the one sold out to the other and it all became the property of the Lambert Pharmacal Company.

Later Developments

The Lambert Pharmacal Company merged with Warner-Hudnut in 1955 to form Warner-Lambert which was acquired by Pfizer in 2000.

Listerine was marketed as a cure for colds and sore throats until the mid-1970’s when it was found that these claims were misleading. Warner-Lambert had to stop making the claims, as well as include a notice in all the future marketing that their previous claims were misleading and that there is no proof that the product is indeed good for either colds or sore throats.

It is also documented that there was a time when the company promoted Listerine cigarettes and even marketed it as a remedy for dandruff. This did not last long, but helped the company to keep is brand in the main lights of the industry.

For just on 80 years Listerine could be bought in a glass bottle packed in a corrugated cardboard box. Costs, however, made it impossible for this practice to continue and the product is now available in less costly plastic bottles.

As the years progressed, Listerine added more brands to its stable – the most recent one being Listerine Total Care. Each of the brands addresses a different niche in the market and can be found all over Listerine’s distribution areas. Some of the brands have been developed to be less intense for people with more sensitive teeth and gums. There is also a brand that offers whitening to the mouthwash experience.

Despite the ups and downs in its history, Listerine has emerged as one of the most popular mouthwash brands in the market. It addressed many concerns about oral health and hygiene and has proved to be an effective aid in preventing gum and tooth diseases.

With such a long history, the formula has been tried and tested over many years and its varieties have been applied and developed to produce better brands and products. With this background and the commitment to cleanliness, hygiene and good health, Listerine in sure to build an even better and illustrious history for the product and the eight brands that it now harbors under its wings.

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