Chesebrough returned to New York and began the process of purifying the substance in his laboratory, creating the first petroleum jelly. He tested the product on various minor cuts and wounds successfully, leading to the patent of Vaseline 145 years ago which proclaimed the healing benefits of the purified petroleum jelly, as well as its use as a lubricant, leather treatment, pomade for the hair and balm for chapped hands. Chesebrough even began consuming a spoonful of Vaseline daily and lived to the ripe old age of 96!
Young Miss Mabel Williams employed this method of darkening her lashes in 1913 and her brother Tom was fascinated by the process. He began mixing petroleum jelly with coal black, which he sold via mail-order catalog under the name “Lash-Brow-Ine” (incorporating the “ine” from the Vaseline used to create the product). It was a huge success. Marketed on the movie screen, magazines and Sunday newspapers, Maybelline mascara became available at the local dime store for 10 cents a cake.
From offering healthy, moisturized skin for 145 years to becoming the basis of mascara, a staple in women’s fashion, petroleum jelly and its many uses have changed life as we know it.
Read more about the creation of Vaseline and Maybelline Mascara on the American Oil & Gas Historical Society website.