The Be-All, Cure-All, Fix-All in a Jar; Vaseline

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vaselineBy: Susan Heckler

Vaseline has been a household product for many generations. Its 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. Chesebrough, like many others, was hoping to find a way to earn profit out of the booming oil industry.

While there, he discovered a gooey substance known as ‘Rod Wax’ that was causing problems to the oil rig workers. It stuck to the drilling rigs, causing them to seize up. He also noted that oil workers would smear their skin with the residue from their drills. They claimed it had the property to heal their cuts and burns.

Chesebrough took some Rod Wax home to Brooklyn where he started experimenting with it. After months of testing, he managed to successfully extract usable petroleum jelly out of it. Chesebrough began marketing his petroleum jelly product by the name of Vaseline in 1870. Within ten years, the product’s increased exposure and popularity meant that almost every household in America had a jar of Vaseline. The product spread to Canada and later Europe.

More and more uses popped up as time went on. It as an absorbent shield for diaper rash, it was used to relieve their dry chapped skin for cold weather workers. Even Commander Robert Peary carried a jar of Vaseline when he travelled to the North Pole; as it was the only thing that wouldn’t freeze in those extreme conditions.

By the late 1880s, Vaseline Petroleum Jelly sold 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 for manufacturing and distributing the product.

There are websites devoted to all of the many uses of Vaseline. The uses mentioned in Chesebrough’s patent include currying, stuffing, and oiling all kinds of leather. Some of the suggested uses are below; we are not recommending them, just compiling and reporting them:

· The finest grade of petroleum jelly is also adapted for use as a styling gel for the hair.

· Petroleum jelly is known for its treatment of nosebleeds.

· Petroleum jelly may also be used as a lubricant when shaving with a razor (not with an electric razor).

· Petroleum jelly is also smeared around the base of bulk vending machines to prevent ants from crawling up and contaminating the candy.

· Put a coat of Vaseline on your feet at night; cover them with socks and wake up to softer feet

· Put Vaseline on your elbows and knees every day – they will stay soft!

· Put Vaseline on your cuticles several times a day for softer and better looking cuticles every day.

· Put Vaseline on chapped lips or use as lip gloss (mix a little Vaseline with a little Kool-Aid powder and make a colored and flavored lip gloss or melt Vaseline and one chocolate chip in the microwave, mix and let solidify for chocolate lip gloss)

· Maintains perfume scent longer when applied at perfume points before spritzing the perfume.

· Mix with sea salts to make a scrub!

· Applying Vaseline on your teeth prevents lips from sticking to teeth for celebrities and contestants in beauty pageants who smile a lot and prevents lipstick from sticking on them

· Makeup remover

· Applied under eye shadow it can create a shiny effect or on cheeks for a dewy look

· Helps to ease off stuck on rings

· Tames unruly eyebrows and defines eyelashes and leaves them with a glossy and waterproof look

· Conditions scalp before shampooing and reduces scaling and itching associated with dandruff

· Can help prevent chaffing

· Aids with healing after cosmetic surgery procedures

· Therapeutic when applied to lesions caused by poison ivy, atopic eczema

· Helps heal and protect new tattoos, protect against harmful hair dyeing, perming and straightening chemicals when used as a mask around the hairline

· Use a tiny dab to put a quick shine on your shoes and bags and breathe new life to your baseball mitt.

· Smear a tiny bit on your hands and scrunch through your hair for a choppy look or use just a touch on the ends of your hair to hide dry and split ends

· Remove makeup stains from clothing and table linens

· Rub Vaseline on the exposed edges after curving your Halloween pumpkin. It will help keep it from going dry or rotting.

· Keep the wheels oiled and lubricated on skates and skateboards by putting a small dab around the cylinders.

· Rub a little Vaseline on the inside of your candle holders before putting in the candle to prevent the wax from sticking it.

· Stop a squeaking faucet by removing the handle and stem, and applying Vaseline to the metal threads.

· Protect surfaces from splattered paint.

· Keep an outdoor light bulb from sticking

· Remove chewing gum from wood and hair as well as watermarks from wood

· Use it as a lubricant on your sailboat’s spinnaker pole.

· Rub a little on your shower curtain rod to keep the rings from getting stuck.

· Apply a dab onto your car’s battery terminals to stop corrosion.

· Rub Vaseline on the neck of your nail polish bottles and they won’t get stuck to the caps

· Put Vaseline on your lips, leave it a few minutes, then scrub your lips with a toothbrush to exfoliate and leave them SO smooth

· Remove false eyelash glue from your lash line

· Apply a small amount on dry spots on your body before fake tanning lotions are applied, and prevent uneven tanning!

· Coat small pieces of sponge with Vaseline to make a trout lure for fishing

· Generously apply Vaseline all over before taking flights to combat associated dryness

In some cultures, Windex is the quick fix for everything (My Big Fat Greek Wedding in 2002). In ours, reach for the Vaseline. It is one of those things we all have at home but never knew how helpful it might be.