Johnson & Johnson co-founder Robert Wood Johnson (1845-1910) was born into a world before sterile surgery and sanitary wound care. He would have a profound impact on both and help usher in modern healthcare. Robert Wood Johnson was born on February 20, 1845 in Crystal Lake, Pennsylvania, the eighth child of 11 children in a large family. In 1845, the United States was less than a century old. It was still largely rural, with more citizens living on farms than in cities. The year of Johnson’s birth would see the addition of Florida and Texas as the 27th and 28th states of the United States. When Robert Wood Johnson was nine years old, Florence Nightingale instituted sanitary conditions in European military hospitals during the Crimean War. In the early 1860s, French scientist Louis Pasteur’s experiments on fermentation led to the discovery of germ theory, the recognition that disease and infection were caused by tiny microbes too small to be seen with the naked eye, a revolutionary step forward in the understanding of the causes of infection. In the United States, the 1861 start of the Civil War led two of Robert’s older brothers to enlist in the Union Army. Anxious to protect Robert, his parents apprenticed the young teenager at Wood & Tittamer, a retail pharmacy in Poughkeepsie, New York belonging to his mother’s cousin James Wood. This pharmacy apprenticeship would give Robert Wood Johnson a career in a growing field that would be revolutionized by the scientific developments of the 19th century. At Wood & Tittamer, Johnson learned to make medicated plasters – adhesive patches that delivered medicine directly through the skin, a popular 19th century product. He later would go on to perfect their manufacture, instituting innovations that that improved their efficacy and quality and allowed them to be mass produced by machine rather than made by hand.