Ref NoGB1752.EFL/CP/CH
Alt Ref NoOFR:
TitleChesebrough Manufacturing Company Ltd
DescriptionCompany name: Chesebrough Manufacturing Company
Date founded: 1870
Date of incorporation: 1874
Date merged: 1955

The Chesebrough Manufacturing Company was founded in 1870 when Robert Augustus Chesebrough established a small refinery in New York to manufacture a new product that he had spent several years developing, which he was to call Vaseline Petroleum Jelly. The product was based on a petroleum residue which formed on the rods of oil pumps and was believed by oil field workers in Pennsylvania to have healing properties.

In 1874 the company was incorporated, and shortly after this date a London office was established at 42 Holborn Viaduct. In 1876 the influential British medical journal, The Lancet, endorsed Vaseline Petroleum Jelly, stating their belief that it would prove `very valuable in medicinal practice', and so provided an invaluable boost to the reputation of the product.

In 1880 the various Chesebrough foreign companies were amalgamated with the parent company to form the Chesebrough Manufacturing Company, Consolidated. In the following year the firm was taken over by the Standard Oil Company, under whose management the refinery was moved from Brooklyn to Perth Amboy, New Jersey. In 1910 a further plant was erected in Montreal. In 1911 the Chesebrough Manufacturing Company resumed independent operations following a judicial decision ordering the Standard Oil Company to divest itself of 33 subsidiary companies.

A plant was built in Willesden, London in 1923. The London company was incorporated as Chesebrough Manufacturing Company Ltd in 1940: a separate company wholly owned by Chesebrough Manufacturing Company Consolidated.

The company expanded its product range with a range of petroleum jelly based products, including in the early nineteenth century White Vaseline, Yellow Vaseline and Vaseline Pomade. In 1942 the company began production of a Vaseline Sterile Petrolatum Gauze Dressing developed on the request of the US Army Surgeon General for use by combat troops. By this date a wide range of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly variants was available, as well as Vaseline brand hair care products Hair Tonic and Soapless Shampoo. Later toiletry products added to the Vaseline range include a Cream Hair Tonic, Vaseline Lip Ice; Vaseline Camphor Ice; Eyebrow-eyelash Cream and cuticle and nail cream.

The company merged with the Pond's Extract Company in 1955 to form Chesebrough-Pond's Inc in the USA, and Chesebrough-Pond's Ltd in the UK (see separate information sheets for the history of these two companies).

[See EFL/CP for history of Chesebrough-Pond's Ltd]
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