I’ve been
nursing a cold for the past few days, and I can only hope that this
investigation of the history of the Kleenex tissue will expedite my recovery.
Handkerchiefs have history that dates to ancient Greece. Disposable tissues, however,
are a product of the First World War, when Kimberly Clark, a paper company,
developed a soft, thin, absorbent paper for use as a filter in gas masks. This
kind of paper is the root of the Kotex pad, which was then developed into the
Kleenex tissue in the mid-1920s. Kleenex tissues were initially marketed as
substitutes for washcloths, with their primary purpose being makeup removal. By
1930, Kimberly-Clark had begun considering their Kleenex tissues an alternative
to the handkerchief. This decision made the product popular with men as well as
women; indeed, sales doubled in the first year of the implementation of this strategy. The fact that
the name “Kleenex” has become basically synonymous with its product is a
testament to the strength of the brand. I find Kleenex tissues desirable
because they’re disposable and therefore sanitary, and because the travel
package is small enough to fit in a pocket. In recent years they’ve begun
experimenting with different styles and colors for their packaging, which doesn’t
make a huge difference to me but probably appeals to many.