Blog Reprise: History of the ‘Chew Stick’ (or, Today’s Toothbrush)
Did you know that toothbrushes were made with boar’s bristles until the first nylon bristles were introduced as a toothbrush innovation in 1938? It’s true, according to the Library of Congress. Here are some other interesting facts about the history of toothbrushes by that learned organization:
- Toothbrushes have been in use since approximately 3000 BC.
- Some of the earliest toothbrushes were “chew sticks” (a twig with a frayed end).
- The bristle toothbrush was invented in China in 1498 and the bristles were taken from the back of a hog’s neck.
- The first mass-produced toothbrush was made by William Addis of Clerkenwald, England, around 1780.
- The first American to patent a toothbrush was H. N. Wadsworth, (patent number 18,653, – yes, the second comma is there) on Nov. 7, 1857.
- Mass production of toothbrushes began in America around 1885.
- One of the first electric toothbrushes to hit the American market was in 1960. It was marketed by the Squibb company under the name Broxodent.
Check out the Library of Congress’ toothbrush page at: http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/tooth.html