The Vaseline® journey started in 1859, when a 22 year-old chemist from Brooklyn, New York named Robert A. Chesebrough, went to Pennsylvania to investigate an oil well. The oil industry was in its infancy, and Chesebrough, like many, was hoping to profit from it.
While Chesebrough was there, he discovered a gooey substance known as 'Rod Wax' that was causing the oil rig workers problems, as it stuck to the drilling rigs, causing them to seize up.
Chesebrough noticed that oil workers would smear their skin with the residue from their drills, as it appeared to aid the healing of cuts and burns. His curiosity led him to take some Rod Wax home with him and start experimenting with it. After months of testing, he managed to successfully extract usable petroleum jelly.
By 1870, Chesebrough was marketing his petroleum jelly product by the name of Vaseline®, and within ten years, the product's increased exposure and popularity meant that almost every household in America had a jar of Vaseline®.
Chesebrough expanded his business to Canada, the United Kingdom and British colonies all over the world. New mothers used it as an absorbent shield for diaper rash. Professionals working in extreme cold weather used it to relieve their dry chapped skin. Even Commander Robert Peary took Vaseline® with him when he became (as is generally accepted) the first man to reach the North Pole, because it wouldn't freeze.
By the late 1880s, Chesebrough was selling Vaseline® Petroleum Jelly nationwide at the rate of one jar per minute and most medical professionals recognized Vaseline® Petroleum Jelly as the standard remedy for skin complaints.
By 1911, the company began opening operation plants and factories in Europe, Canada, and Africa in order to facilitate the manufacture and distribution of the product.