“Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying
or getting overly angry or to maintain control.”
It seems like Purell is everywhere these days, except at the stores. Believe it or not, Purell is struggling to keep up with all the orders across the world, and that’s even with the company working around the clock to fill the supply and the demand.
It’s hard to believe that not too long ago no one had ever heard of Purell. Since its creation in 1946 by husband and wife, Jerry and Goldie Lippman, from Akron, Ohio, Purell has been owned and produced by GOJO Industry, still a family owned business.
During World War II, Goldie worked at the Miller Tire Co. rubber factory and Jerry at the Goodyear Aircraft plant. Like all Miller Tire employees there, this husband and wife often came home with sticky, difficult-to-remove graphite, tar, and carbon on their hands and clothes. Jerry and Goldie disliked all the products and cleaners used to clean their clothes, so they set out to find an effective cleaning product that could be used without water.
Goldie and Jerry worked with Professor Clarence Cook of Kent State University’s chemistry department to formulate a heavy-duty hand cleaner. They called it GOJO Hand Cleaner and sold it to rubber workers, who had sometimes used benzene and other noxious chemicals to clean their skin. After the war, the Lippman’s began marketing to automotive service facilities and GOJO was so successful, they quit their factory jobs and started GOJO.
Jerry, the never ending inventor came up with the first-ever portion-control dispenser, and was granted a patent in 1952. This creative invention served as the foundation for becoming the leader in heavy-duty hand cleaner across the country in the automotive after-market and industrial markets. You can thank Jerry for every soap dispenser on the wall today.
In the late 1980s, the company perfected an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that was much easier on the skin. Actually, Purell lost money for years on their hand sanitizer until 2002 when the CDC determined alcohol-based products were effective in sanitizing hands.
As we all know today, if you’re lucky enough to find a bottle of Purell, you’re one of the lucky ones. Who would’ve thought in the beginning of March 2020 a little plastic bottle of hand sanitizer would be a prized possession.