The first deodorant was actually presented to the world during the chaotic, rough, and dare we say it, perpetually dirty era of the Wild, Wild West. During the height of the gold rush, an inventor thought he had struck gold of another kind as he patented the first official deodorant.
Maybe he witnessed the filth and the dirt of rowdy gold-diggers and saw a potential boom industry for the deodorant. Or maybe he himself had just grown tired of the vivid smells of bodies left without the courtesy of a shower for weeks on end, and was propelled by a vision as human as it was entrepreneurial.
Nobody will ever know what truly possessed this man to pursue his deodorant smelling dream, as time and history have buried the fate and name of this inventor in the maze of oblivion, but his company was up and running into the early years of the 1930’s depression, when it was bought by the Bristol-Meyers company.
It did not take long for them to develop the standard design of the deodorant, with its immediately recognizable ball-point roll-on pen. This crafty little design piece was the invention of the company’s market executive Edward Gelsthorpe.
In 1952, the deodorant hit the market under the straight-shooting name of Ban Roll-On. But the chemical formula of what the modern roll-on should contain was invented by Jules Montenier.
Previously, the reduction of smell had held priority high above how the sensitive skin of your armpits reacted to the chemical brew, but as an increasingly number of people complained about rashes and redness, Julius came up with a chemical design that was supposed to be as effective towards nasty smells as it was gentle to the skin.
In the general spirit of revolution during the 1960’s, there was a simultaneous evolvement in the market of deodorants as well, as the aerosol deodorant first saw the light of day in the early 60s.
For a while there, it looked as the convenient way of just pushing down a button and having a whirlwind of nice smells stick to your armpit, was going to eradicate the use of the traditional deodorant with the ball-point head. It took only a couple of years for the aerosol version to overtake half the market, and by the early 70s a whopping 82% of deodorants sold were in the form of a spray.
However, an increasing interest in environmental issues combined with branches of the government issuing official warnings of the hazardous effects the aerosol chemicals had on the ozone layer, made the world experience a rapid decline in the sales figures for the aerosol deodorant in the late 70s.
Thus leaving the field open for the ball-point deodorant, the design applied to it since the 50s is the one still holding strong today. And since that battle fought in the 60s and 70s, when the roll-on emerged as the unthreatened champion, it has never surrendered that top position and continues to be the best selling deodorant to date.
Monik Stevenson is currently working for one of the leading companies in Denmark (Neutral) for deodorant.