We just can’t help sticking them in our ears. Those fuzzy-ended cotton bundles of endless poking joy were invented in 1923 by one Leo Gerstenzang, a Polish-born American. It is an anecdotal tale, but perfectly plausible, after all, many things are invented out of need or observation. Here goes…
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, kind of, Leo’s wife, Mrs. Gerstenzang, was fond of putting a cotton wad onto a toothpick to clean their baby’s ears. As one slip up meant kebabing baby Gerstenzang, Leo decided to create a ready-made cotton bud that would do the same job, but with less risk (and, let’s face it, less fun). He established the “Leo Gerstenzang Infant Novelty Company” to sell his creation and spent many years perfecting the design.
Originally called “Baby Gays”, Leo’s cotton buds became “Q-tips® Baby Gays” in 1926, which was further shortened to simply Q-tips®. This is probably quite fortunate. The “Q” stands for quality and “tips” for, well, the tips.
In the 1950s, Q-tips® partnered with America’s top Hollywood makeup artist, Ern Westmore, to create the booklet “Lesson in Loveliness with Q-tips®“, adding a touch of Hollywood glamour to the already successful brand. (I would like a lesson in loveliness, but I feel it would be money wasted.)
Cotton buds are, of course, an essential in any home and every makeup kit. Useful for a myriad of things and now coming in a variety of tip shapes from the classic round to pointed, flat and even those ones with teenie weenie tips.
The general consensus from the medical community is: don’t stick cotton buds in your ears dipshit.
Find out more:
- The Q-tips website: http://www.qtips.com/history.php