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20 Fun Facts You Didn't Know about Johnson and Johnson

Johnson & Johnson is a leading manufacturer in packaged goods, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices. This Fortune 500 company is headquartered in New Jersey. It also has a global presence, contributing to annual sales of billions of dollars. In fact, they are on an upward trend – their gross income for 2017 was $51.1 billion. These high sales also grant the company a significant amount of influence – which they tend to use to make the world a better place through medical advancements.

This company was officially incorporated in 1887 by Robert Wood Johnson, James Wood Johnson, and Edward Mean Johnson. They had begun planning the business the year before, developing prototypes of a few groundbreaking medical products. Over the years, their extensive research and development in the medical field – as well as in consumer goods – has led to some of the most important innovations of the 21st Century.

Johnson & Johnson is sure to remain a global force for many years to come. They will continue to contribute greatly to technological advancements as they uphold over a century of company tradition and innovation. There is a lot you should know about this company, whether you are considering becoming a stockholder or are just curious about leaders in the industry. Read on to learn 20 fun facts about Johnson & Johnson.

They have Hundreds of Subsidiaries

This firm is a multinational corporation with myriad investments in many different markets around the world. They operate in 60 countries and offer their products in at least 175. You can break down the structure of the firm into three main divisions: Pharmaceuticals, Consumer Healthcare, and Medical Devices. Each of the divisions can be broken down even further, as Johnson & Johnson owns about 250 subsidiaries in total. Some companies owned by Johnson & Johnson include Crucell, Animas Corporation, and Janssen Biotech. Many of these subsidiaries own their own subsidiaries as well, meaning that you could find a Johnson & Johnson product without even knowing the parent corporation is involved. However, they also market products under their own name, such as Johnson Baby Powder.

Their Stock is Included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a stockholder’s index comprised of thirty companies. Charles Dow first calculated this index in 1896, intending to use it to gauge the performance of the industrial sector. Johnson & Johnson was added to the list in 1997. The firm’s inclusion on this list reflects their significant global influence. They do, after all, provide many of the medical technologies that people need to use all over the world. The company generally handles itself respectably in global affairs – which helps to stabilize their market position. Overall, it is likely that they will remain on the Industrial Average for quite some time.

They Made the 3rd-Biggest Pharmaceutical Settlement Ever

Unfortunately, it hasn’t always been easy going at Johnson & Johnson. Just five years ago, the company was charged with promoting their drug Risperdal to improper audiences – including children and older people with disabilities. They marketed it to these groups despite proven health risks. They were sued, and the settlement ended up being for $2.2 billion. This was the third-largest in United States history. The only two cases with larger settlements were $3 billion for the British drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline; and $2.3 billion for Pfizer relating to Bextra, a painkiller that has since been removed from the market.

The Original Founder was Inspired by a Speech

In the late 19th century, a physician named Sir Joseph Lister began spreading the word about sterile surgery. He was met with much skepticism – doctors of the time didn’t believe it was necessary. It was due to this that some American surgeons hoping to discredit him invited him to give a speech at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition’s Medical Congress. Regardless of the event organizer’s initial motivations, Lister inspired Robert Wood Johnson – who was in the audience – to create his own company with a focus on sterile surgery. He founded Johnson & Johnson only a short time afterward, making quick strides in this upcoming medical field. They eventually made some of the greatest technological advancements – all due to a man that most had little faith in, Sir Joseph Lister.

The Firm Presented Alongside Edison and Tesla at the 1893 World’s Fair

Seventeen years after Robert Wood Johnson was inspired at the Philadelphia convention, they had reached a height that none of them had precedented. The 1893 World’s Fair saw the debut of many early inventions that inspired modern technology. The Ferris wheel, the zipper, harnessed electricity, moving walkways, and the zipper were all presented for the first time at this celebration of technology. Also present were famous inventors Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. Johnson & Johnson even were recognized with a few coveted honors here, such as a Certificate of Excellence. Their sterile surgical plasters, sutures, and dressings also earned them a special diploma for innovations in healthcare.

They Created the First Mass-Produced Sterile Sutures, Dressings, and Gauze

Johnson & Johnson did quite well creating sterile surgical sutures, gauze, and dressing. However, their true claim to fame is that they were the very first to mass-produce such sterile surgical implements. This was important because before they created this process, a doctor wishing to practice sterile surgery would need to create and sterilize all of their own gauze, sutures, and dressings. This made sterile surgery a huge inconvenience, and it was thus not commonly practiced. Their innovative production methods and subsequent marketing were directly related to the advent of modern antiseptic surgery. As a result, patient survival rates drastically increased. Without this early innovation by Johnson & Johnson, it is possible that modern medicine would still be quite a few years behind the point we are at in medical science today. They made it convenient and inexpensive to practice sterile surgery – something that was unprecedented before Johnson & Johnson’s entry into the medical market.

Their Logo Has Been Used for Over a Century

The logo used by Johnson & Johnson today is the handwritten signature of Robert Wood Johnson. It has been used since the company was founded over 130 years ago. This is due to Johnson’s unique and strong commitment to his company’s mission. It is a simple logo, but it is highly recognizable and a great symbol. It is symbolic because Johnson & Johnson was founded on the principles of saving and improving lives. Thus, their founders took it very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that Robert Johnson was willing to sign his family name to every single one of his products. This also shows his trust in his firm and their ability to produce quality products.

Robert Wood Johnson has a Hospital Named After Him

The Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital is located in New Brunswick, New Jersey. It is an academic medical center that has 600 beds, and also serves as the flagship Cancer Hospital of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. In addition, it is the principal teaching school of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical school. Befitting the Johnson family name, the hospital has consistently been rated among the best in the country. They boast a groundbreaking approach to emergency preparedness and were even made the first designated Pediatric Trauma Center in New Jersey. They have also won several awards and accolades throughout their years of operation – and have been included on many lists denoting the top hospitals in New Jersey and the United States as a whole.

Robert Johnson’s Granddaughter Appeared on a J&J Product

Mary Lea Johnson Richards once appeared on the label of Johnson’s Baby Powder. She was the first child to do so in advertising. Though this woman led a tough childhood, she ended up graduating from the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts. From there, she founded Producer Circle. This was a theater and film production company, and it even worked on shows such as Sweeney Todd on Broadway. She had a dramatic end to her life, even accusing her second husband of hiring a hitman to kill her. She was also nearly killed in a break-in some years later. Johnson eventually passed away due to liver cancer at the relatively young age of 63. Her legacy lives on, however, as the Mary Lea Johnson Richards Organ Transplantation Center at NYU is named after her.

James Wood Johnson Won an Award During WWI

During the First World War, America and Russia were allies. James Wood Johnson ended up supplying the Russian government with something that they desperately needed. However, it wasn’t bandages, dressing, or some other medical product you might expect from this co-founder of Johnson & Johnson. Instead, it was horseshoes. He ended up buying an interest in the Neverslip Horsehoe Company and filling a huge order – the biggest ever fulfilled by the firm – for the Russian cavalry. For his actions, the Russian government presented him with an award for wartime industry. Johnson & Johnson still has one of the horseshoes, too – deep within their company archives.

Robert Johnson’s Grandson Was a Documentarian

Another grandchild of Robert Wood Johnson’s is also notable. His name is Jamie Johnson, and he created a documentary called Born Rich. It consists primarily of interviews with ten rich heirs conducted by Johnson himself. It was quite well-received, offering a glimpse into a world many do not see. The documentary also explores his own experience of what it was like to inherit a huge fortune on your 21st birthday. He explores the taboo that the ultrarich have about discussing their wealth, and how this may cause dysfunction when they try to participate in society. After all, the very idea of a huge inheritance goes against the American ideal of meritocracy – the idea that you get what you have worked for and earned. It was a riveting and interesting film, and is definitely worth a watch.

They Have a Comprehensive Company Credo

Johnson & Johnson’s company credo promises a lot. First, it promises that they will create quality products that the doctors, nurses, mothers, fathers, who use them will achieve the best results. They will also make strides towards reducing costs and promise accurate and fast order fulfillment. To the companies they work with – suppliers and distributors – they promise a fair profit. A large portion of their credo addresses their employees as well. They promise that everyone’s individuality will be respected, and that their jobs will be secure. The firm recognizes merit as well, and accounts for it with good working conditions and fair compensation. They also promise their employees that they will hire great management.

Johnson & Johnson also promises the world that they will remain responsible to the communities they operate in, as well as the entire global community. Thus, the firm promises to pay taxes and support good works or charities. They also encourage civic improvements and seek to better health and education for all. The credo finishes off with promises to their stockholders. They assure them that they will always try to make a sound profit. They will also experiment with new ideas and innovate, remaining at the forefront of the medical scene. If they make mistakes, they will pay for them. Johnson & Johnson also promises to have reserves for hard times – and wants all of their stockholders to get a great annual return. All of their promises to each of the groups in this credo are referenced frequently during their everyday business dealings.

They Are Currently 22nd on Newsweek’s Top 500 Green Rankings

This list rates global companies based on several metrics measuring environmental friendliness. In the most recent list, Johnson & Johnson took 22nd place. At one point, they were even ranked third on this list. They have vowed to reduce their energy use, water use, and waste production – helping to increase their rank. Johnson & Johnson has taken a few more actions to prove their commitment to the environment. The company has even changed the material used to create their product packaging to easier materials to recycle, staying away from polycarbonate-based containers. They work with a few environmental organizations, including the EPA, the Climate Northwest Initiative, and the Green Power Partnership. The firm even operates the largest solar power generator in the entire state of Pennsylvania.

Johnson & Johnson Sponsored Classic TV Shows

In the early 1950s, the firm was among the earliest major sponsors of television. They were one of the leading firms in both advertisement space and show sponsorships, showing their devotion to spreading their message and products. It was also a well calculated move, as their customers would associate the brand with their favorite things to watch on television. Some of the shows that Johnson & Johnson sponsored include The Adventures of Robin Hood, Gunsmoke, The Donna Reed Show, and Cheyenne. These were all quite popular – and were made all the better by the infusion of cash from Johnson & Johnson. The firm also benefitted with increased customer trust and sales.

They Have Excellent and Effective Recall Procedures

In the world of medicine, recalls are an unfortunate but expected occurrence. However, Johnson & Johnson had to carry out one of the most famous recalls of all time during the early 1980s. The short story is that some Tylenol capsules (produced by Johnson & Johnson) tested positive for potassium cyanide, resulting in the deaths of seven people. The person or group behind the poisonings is not known, but it is considered an act of terrorism. Johnson & Johnson ended up receiving praise for how they handled the situation. They were honest, effective, and efficient during the recall process. They also worked closely with the FDA, the FBI, and the Chicago Police to try to identify who had perpetrated the crime. However, they were careful to note that the tampering had happened on the retail level, not at their facilities. Nevertheless, Tylenol soon bounced back and remains the most popular painkiller you can get over-the-counter today.

The Johnson Family Owned a Two-Mast Schooner

The schooner Zodiac was originally built for Robert Wood Johnson II and J. Seward Johnson in 1924. They were the first heirs to the Johnson & Johnson fortune. The ship was intended to replicate and optimize the best features of the American schooner. It even raced in transatlantic events. In 1931, the ship was renamed to California. It remained in service for several more years, serving as a recreational vessel. It was officially retired in 1972 – almost 50 years after this gorgeous two-mast schooner was originally constructed.

Johnson & Johnson is Perfect for Working Mothers

Johnson & Johnson has an unmatched commitment to the working mothers that hold valuable positions in their firm. They have even been on the Working Mother list of the 100 Best Companies for 31 consecutive years. They offer excellent benefits, as well, to all of their employees around the world. These benefits include a minimum of eight weeks of paid leave. It is inclusive, as well – fathers are allowed the same amount of time for paternity leave. This leave can be taken anytime during the first year of a birth or an adoption. Either way, this is an incredibly progressive policy from this multinational giant – and leads them to be quite respected by their employees. In the long run, this means increased loyalty, a happier workforce, and thus a better product.

They Established a Charitable Foundation

The Johnson & Johnson Foundation targets specific people and places when it provides its help. They offer a significant number of cash grants annually, ranging from $25,000 to $100,000. However, they are quite selective – they offer cash grants only to advance the position of women and children, strengthen the health-care workforce, or prevent diseases. There are a variety of actions that these cash grants might be used for. They might be used to help set up prenatal care and even important financial courses for new mothers. They also could be used to invest heavily in training healthcare professionals about any new methods or products – including training for doctors, nurses, and other workers. In addition, they could provide a lot of funding for research into diabetes, mental illness, and HIV/AIDS.

They Hold a AAA Rating from Standard & Poor

The S&P index puts out a credit rating for some of the largest companies in the world. The highest possible rating is a AAA S&P Global Rating. This represents an extremely strong ability to meet any and all financial commitments. This rating is held by only three companies – it is not easy to have such immense creditworthiness, especially as a global corporation. However, Johnson & Johnson are the very epitome of creditworthiness. In fact, their S&P score didn’t even budge after they made a $30 billion-dollar cash purchase. This was carried out during the acquisition of a Swiss drug manufacturer called Actelion LTD in 2017. The steady nature of their score indicates that they have incredibly strong credit. Few firms could withstand a multi-billion-dollar cash purchase when it comes to the numbers on S&P’s Global Ratings list.

One of Their Original Employees Sent a Fossil to the Smithsonian

In 1886, their employee M.S. Denman was one of their original fourteen and also one of the eight women on the founding team. She also had a penchant for geology and enjoyed going fossil hunting once in a while. Denman once found a fossil of a prehistoric fish.  She sent it in to the Smithsonian, showing her keenness to scare discoveries with the world. It was even mentioned in the Smithsonian’s 1904 Annual Report. To have the drive to go out and try to discover new things was exactly the spirit that Johnson & Johnson was founded on – and Denman carried that spirit close to her own heart and soul.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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