The oil rig side gig
Now found in households across the world, Vaseline glided into existence almost by accident. When American chemist Robert Chesebrough visited the oil fields of Pennsylvania in 1859, he discovered a sticky residue dubbed “Rod Wax”.
The wax was a waste product that needed to be removed from oil pumps in order for them to work effectively. Chesebrough found that the workers were using the substance to help heal cuts and burns. He took samples back to Brooklyn and began the process of extracting the now ubiquitous petroleum jelly.
Chesebrough patented the jelly as a medicinal product in 1872 referring to it as Vaseline. Now part of the Unilever portfolio, Vaseline is also approaching its 150th anniversary. Used for skin and hair care, in oil lamps and as the base for some beauty creams, it’s a discovery which has really stuck.