1847-1946

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Learn about Stiefel through the years.

Established in 1847, Stiefel, a GSK company, is proud to have innovated many significant dermatological firsts along the way.

1847: J. D. Stiefel Company

Originally a candle maker, John David Stiefel founded the J. D. Stiefel Company in 1847 in a small town in Europe. As it was discovered that soaps make an excellent delivery system for medicine, Stiefel began working with his friends, pioneer dermatologists Ferdinand von Hebra and Paul Unna, to develop some of the world’s first medicated soaps. In the 1880s, the company became the first dermatology specialty company to begin worldwide export of its products.

1910 - 1914: Stiefel Medicinal Soap Co.

J.D. Stiefel’s grandson, August C. Stiefel, came from Europe to open the company’s first office in the United States, named Stiefel Medicinal Soap Co., Inc. By 1914, Stiefel soaps were packaged in seven languages and sold in all major countries around the world. By that time, the company was producing 103 different toilet, perfumed, and medicinal soaps—including Ichthyol, Resorcin, Boracic Acid, Borax, and Freckle soaps.

1920’s: Stiefel Freckle Soap

Stiefel Freckle Soap was one of the original products that became most popular during the 1920s, thanks to women’s desire to have “porcelain” skin. In early advertisements, Freckle Soap claimed to wash “freckles and unsightly tan” away. During this time, soaps were packaged in tins to prolong the product’s shelf life.