ChapStick first made an appearance as far back as the 1880s and, as you can imagine with it being the 1880s, it had far less desirable packaging. Charles Brown Fleet, titled ‘pharmacological thinker’, invented the waxy looking ancestor and packaged it in some tinfoil – it never took off.
John Morton bought it 30 years later for five bucks ($). Mrs Morton melted down the pinky wax, cooled it and cut it into smaller sticks. This smaller, slightly better-looking form led to the Morton Manufacturing Corporation being founded and making ChapStick for decades after. The ChapStick logo, one of the oldest logos in existence, was designed by Frank Wright Jr. in 1935. ChapStick is now owned by Pharma giant Pfizer but has managed to keep the same logo, even while going through numerous packaging changes.
The original flavour was expanded to include four different flavours after the first takeover in 1963, since then the range has expanded a great deal. Because it was the first of its kind to gain popularity, ChapStick became the term for all other lip balm ever – for context it holds the weight Lip Ice and Zam-buk do in South Africa, but internationally.
There is a raging medical debate over ChapStick creating a problem it professes to be the solution to in that the chemical composition causes lips to dry out further instead of moisturising them. We’ll keep out of this one.
ChapStick played a starring role in the Watergate scandal as one of the bugs used to record private conversations between officials and even to record Nixon himself.