The History of Chapstick and Carmex

Woman applying lip balm, close up
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Dr. C. D. Fleet, a physician from Lynchburg, Virginia, invented Chapstick or lip balm in the early 1880s. Fleet made the first Chapstick himself that resembled a small wickless candle wrapped in tin foil.

Chapstick and The Morton Manufacturing Corporation

Fleet sold his recipe to fellow Lynchburg resident John Morton in 1912 for five dollars after failing to sell enough of the product to make it worth his continued efforts. John Morton along with his wife started production of the pink Chapstick in their kitchen. Mrs. Morton melted and mixed the ingredients and then used brass tubes to mold the sticks. The business was successful and the Morton Manufacturing Corporation was founded on the sales of Chapstick.

A. H. Robbins Company

In 1963, the A. H. Robbins Company bought the rights to Chapstick lip balm from Morton Manufacturing Corporation. At first, only Chapstick Lip Balm regular stick was available to consumers. Since 1963, a number of different flavors and types of Chapstick were added.

  • 1971 - four Chapstick Lip Balm flavored sticks were added
  • 1981 - Chapstick Sunblock 15 was added
  • 1985 - Chapstick Petroleum was added

The current manufacturer of Chapstick is the Wyeth Corporation. Chapstick is part of Wyeth Consumer Healthcare division.

Alfred Woelbing and the History of Carmex

Alfred Woelbing, the founder of Carma Lab Incorporated, invented Carmex in 1936. Carmex is a salve for chapped lips and cold sores; the ingredients in Carmex are menthol, camphor, alum, and wax.

Alfred Woelbing suffered from cold sores and invented Carmex to find a solution to his own health issues. Carmex's name comes from the "Carm" from Woelbing lab's name and "ex" was a very popular suffix at the time, which resulted in the name Carmex.

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Bellis, Mary. "The History of Chapstick and Carmex." ThoughtCo, Sep. 9, 2021, Bellis, Mary. (2021, September 9). The History of Chapstick and Carmex. Retrieved from Bellis, Mary. "The History of Chapstick and Carmex." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 3, 2023).