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British Industrial History

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April 1933.
June 1933.
December 1933.
January 1936.
January 1936.

Listerine is a brand name for antiseptic mouthwash. Its original formula has a notoriously strong flavour, although variations have been released that are marketed as tasting milder. The product is marketed under the slogan "Kills germs that cause bad breath".

First formulated by Dr. Joseph Lawrence and Jordan Wheat Lambert in 1879 as a surgical antiseptic. The mouthwash was named in honour of Dr. Joseph Lister, an English surgeon, a pioneer of antiseptic surgery.

  • 1879 Americans Dr. Joseph Lawrence and Jordan Wheat Lambert formulated their first disinfectant, naming it after Dr. Joseph Lister.
  • 1882 The Lambert Co registered Listerine as a British trademark.
  • 1895 Listerine was first given to dentists for oral care.
  • 1914 Listerine was the first over-the-counter mouthwash sold in the United States.
  • 1921-1970s Listerine was also as a preventive and remedy for colds and sore throats.
  • 1976 The Federal Trade Commission ruled that these claims were misleading, and that Listerine had "no efficacy" at either preventing or alleviating the symptoms of sore throats and colds. The Warner-Lambert Co was ordered to stop making the claims, and to include in the next $10.2 million dollars' of Listerine ads a specific mention that "contrary to prior advertising, Listerine will not help prevent colds or sore throats or lessen their severity."
  • Listerine was packaged in a glass bottle inside a corrugated cardboard tube for nearly 80 years before the first revamps were made to the brand.
  • 1992 Cool Mint Listerine was introduced in addition to the original Listerine Antiseptic formula.
  • 1994 Both Cool Mint and Listerine Antiseptic were introduced in plastic bottles for the first time.
  • 1995 FreshBurst was added.
  • 2003 Natural Citrus Listerine was added.
  • 2006 A new addition to the "less intense" variety, Vanilla Mint, was released. Currently, eight different kinds of Listerine are on the market in the U.S. and elsewhere: Original, Cool Mint, FreshBurst, Natural Citrus, Vanilla Mint, Advanced with Tartar Control (Arctic mint), Tooth Defense (mint shield), and Whitening pre-brush rinse (clean mint). The most recent addition is the Listerine Total Care, marketed as the Most Complete Listerine. It claims to reduce plaque, strenghten teeth to prevent cavities, prevent tartar build-up to keep teeth white, prevent gingivitis, and freshen breath for up to 12 hours.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • [1] Wikipedia
  • Trademarked. A History of Well-Known Brands - from Aertex to Wright's Coal Tar by David Newton. Pub: Sutton Publishing 2008 ISBN 978-0-7509-4590-5