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Petroleum jelly

Petroleum jelly is a byproduct of the refining of petroleum, made from the residue of petroleum distillation left in the still after all the oil has been vaporized.

Vaseline is a registered trade name for a famous brand of petroleum jelly.

Petroleum jelly was discovered by Robert Chesebrough in 1859 in Brooklyn, New York. Chesebrough was intrigued by the paraffin-like substance that stuck to the drilling rigs. All the riggers hated the stuff because it caused the rigs to seize up, but they did use it on cuts and burns because it helped them heal faster. Chesebrough bottled the petroleum jelly and took it back to his office where he tested it on himself.

He gave out free samples across New York and within six months he had twelve wagons distributing the product, under the trade name Vaseline, across the state.

In 1872, Chesebrough patented (U.S. No. 127,568) the process of making petroleum jelly. The patent said that distillation by heat under vacuum involves less heat than without the vacuum, and yields a better quality of jelly. The product is then filtered through bone-black. The patent says its uses include currying, stuffing, and oiling all kinds of leather. The finest grade of petroleum is also adapted for use as a pomade for the hair. It is also an excellent treatment for chapped hands.