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The History of Q-tips

The Q-tip was invented by Leo Gerstenzang in 1920. He created the cotton swab after observing his wife using a cotton-covered toothpick to clean their baby’s ears. He designed his product using wood and cotton and began selling it under the name Baby Gays; it became a huge hit. In 1926, he changed the name to Q-tip Baby Gays; the “Q” stood for “quality.” Over time, the “Baby Gays” portion of the name was dropped, leaving just the name we know today, Q-tip. Today’s Q-tips use paper, not wood, but are otherwise quite similar. While they were originally created for cleaning a baby’s ears, doctors today do not recommend inserting Q-tips into the ear. Still, Q-tips remain a popular product and are used for a variety of purposes, including cleaning keyboards, applying cosmetics, and making crafts.

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