But hold on . . . stop the train, it's not Leo I wish to talk about. Leo's dear wife Ziuta played a very important role in the Q-tip's discovery. Leo was observing Ziuta bathe their
baby one day and noticed she often would wrap a piece of cotton on the end of a toothpick to clean the baby's ears. A bell went off, and he suddenly realized he had just discovered a product women would buy and use, and he was absolutely right.
Unfortunately, Ziuta's influence was never officially confirmed, so her role in the Q-tip invention is considered somewhat legendary by some. Personally, I think it is extremely likely she did spark Leo's idea. Men seldom participated in the care of their children in the 1920s, but it would have been natural for him to observe Ziuta in this role. It is rather sad Leo or other family members never confirmed her role. An online search revealed nothing, not even a photo. Nevertheless, it can be assumed that Ziuta's idea and Leo's invention went on to make a nice income for the family and their heirs.
As you probably know, Q-tips are no longer considered safe for an infant's ears or ours (at least according to doctors), and maybe not the dog's ears. They were promoted for such use well into the 1960s for ear wax cleaning and “water in the ear.” But they still have a multitude of other great uses. I always have a ready supply. Do you use Q-tips?
Leo went on to found the Leo Gerstenzang Infant Novelty Company. The company marketed baby care accessories, including Q-tips, which were first sold as "Baby Gays," and later (1926) changed to the name we know today. Leo certainly deserves credit for designing the marketed Q-tip and filing the patent as inventor, but most people haven't a clue as to the origin of Leo's invention. This is your opportunity to thank Ziuta Gerstenzang for her role.
|A 1927 Ad from Pittsburgh Press archives|
What do you use Q-tips for?
Sources: http://www.qtips.com/home/about; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotton_swab
Copyright 2015 © Sharon Marie Himsl