The inventor of Vaseline, Robert Chesebrough, was an amazing believer in his own product. So much so that he ate a spoonful of it every day. And guess what? It appears to have worked as he lived to the great age of 96.
IIn 1859, Chesebrough was visiting a dangerous oil field where workers had regularly been cutting themselves and suffering from oil burns. However, they had figured out that this residue referred to as “rod wax” that periodically formed on the pumps was an amazing cure for these injuries. This led to him starting to experiment with it.
It took him a near decade to perfect his jelly, but once that was done he started to introduce it to the world. He liked to refer to his product as Wonder Jelly. In fact, he would market his product in a bit of a crazy fashion by driving around New York and burning his skin with an open flame. Then he would apply the product and show people that past injuries had healed perfectly fine.
It seems this marketing campaign was perfect because, by 1874, the stores were selling over 1400 jars of Vaseline a day. And Chesebrough was known to believe so much in his product that he ate a spoonful of it a day. Once during his 50s, he was suffering from a severe case of pleurisy which is when the tissue between the lungs and ribcage swells up. At the time this was a dangerous illness and hard to treat, but Chesebrough was certain his wonder jelly was up to the task. After ordering his nurse to cover him in vaseline from head to toe, he recovered quite quickly and then went on to live to 96.
Another cool fact about vaseline is that in 1913, a chemist by the name of T. L. William decided to mix coal dust with a little bit of vaseline petroleum jelly and this sparked the invention of mascara. Now other products may feature and be making use of petroleum jelly as part of their ingredients but only products with the famous blue seal are actually vaseline.