Saturday May 22, 2021’s Smile of the Day: Toothpaste

On this Day:

In 1892, Dr Washington Sheffield invented the toothpaste tube.

Washington Wentworth Sheffield (April 23, 1827 – November 4, 1897) was an American dental surgeon best known for inventing modern toothpaste. With the help of his son Lucius T. Sheffield, he was also the first to sell the paste in collapsible tubes. He also made important contributions to the fields of dentistry and dental surgery. He was considered one of the most skilled dentists in New England and the United States. In 1896, Colgate & Company began selling its own toothpaste that mimicked Sheffield’s ready-made toothpaste and sold it in collapsible tubes like Sheffield.

Later in life, he spent most of his time as treasurer and manager of his companies, the Sheffield Dentifrice Company (which later became Sheffield Pharmaceuticals) and the International Tooth Crown Company, in New London, Connecticut.

Sheffield was born April 23, 1827  in North Stonington, Connecticut, the third of eight children of the Reverend John Sheffield and Eliza (née Lewis) Sheffield who married Feb. 6, 1820. Sheffield grew up in North Stonington, Connecticut, and was educated in its public schools.

As was the custom in the 18th and early 19th century, Sheffield began his career in 1850 training as an apprentice dentist with J. A. G. Comstock of New London, Connecticut. He furthered his dentistry education in New York City by working under Charles Allen and D. H. Porter.

In April 1852, Sheffield moved to New London, Connecticut and began a long and successful practice in dentistry and dental surgery. Dr. Sheffield became one of the most successful dentists and dental surgeons in the United States. Sheffield graduated, in 1865, from the Ohio College of Dental Surgery, the second oldest dental school in the United States, as a Doctor of Dental Surgery. In 1866, Dr. Sheffield received a naval commission from the President of the United States, Andrew Johnson, as a dental surgeon.

Sheffield married Miss Harriet P. Browne, daughter of Richard and Julia Browne of Providence, Rhode Island. This marriage produced one child, a son, Lucius T. Sheffield (May 28, 1854 – September 20, 1901). Lucius Sheffield grew up in New London, Connecticut, and attended Norwich Free Academy. Lucius followed his father into dentistry and dental surgery. Lucius attended Harvard Medical School and graduated from Harvard’s American Academy of Dental Medicine in 1878. After graduation, from 1878 to 1879, Lucius traveled to Paris, France, to study and work in dentistry and dental surgery.

Lucius was in Paris watching artists prepare their paint palettes when he realized the collapsible tubes they used to squeeze paint onto palettes could be used to squeeze his father’s toothpaste onto a toothbrush in a sanitary manner.

Tooth powder was popular up to World War II. Sheffield joined many doctors and dentists in formulating his own tooth powder for use on his patients and later as another product for his dentifrice company. Early in Sheffield’s dental practice, he formulated a mouthwash which he used for years on his patients. When he and his son started the Sheffield Dentifrice Co. in 1880, they improved and reformulated that mouthwash and sold it as “Sheffield’s Elixir Balm” for the gums.

Based on contemporary news reports at the time, Sheffield conceived of a ready-made tooth crème in the mid-1870s and was using it on his patients with great praise from them. To this crème, he added various extracts of mints that left a very pleasing taste in the mouth of his patients which caused them to request samples of the toothpaste.

Sheffield shared his toothpaste formula with his son, L. T. Sheffield, who was a dentistry student at Harvard during this period. In response to toothpaste demands from patients, Sheffield started a manufacturing company, in early 1880. Initially, Sheffield was making toothpaste batches at his dental office at the corner of State Street and Green Street in New London, Connecticut. Demand grew rapidly and he was forced to build a laboratory and manufacturing facility behind his residence.

The Sheffield Dentifrice Co. started producing his mouthwash and an entirely new product. Sheffield and his son called this product “Dr. Sheffield’s Crème Angelique Dentifrice”. This product was the first toothpaste and it was sold in collapsible tubes. Sheffield’s son, now a Doctor of Dentistry, registered the trademark of that first toothpaste in 1881.

In 1883, Sheffield revised the original “Crème Angelique” toothpaste formula. He called the revised formula “Dr. Sheffield’s Crème Dentifrice” toothpaste. This revised formula remained in production years after Dr. Sheffield’s death in 1897. After 1900, the Sheffield Dentifrice Co. became a contract toothpaste manufacturer for many individuals and companies and has remained so to the present day.

From 1880 to 1892, the Sheffield Dentifrice Co. purchased collapsible tubes to package the toothpaste. Beginning in 1892, the company started manufacturing its own collapsible tubes by purchasing tube manufacturing presses and fabricating its own tube-making machinery. In 1900 the dentifrice company started a new company called the New England Collapsible Tube Co.

During his career, Sheffield worked at the cutting edge of dental prosthetics. He specialized in dental bridges and tooth crowns. In 1885, Sheffield was granted a patent for a dental bridge to hold multiple crowns together on broken or decayed teeth. In 1886, Sheffield and his son formed the International Tooth Crown Company, with Lucius T. Sheffield, as president and W. W. Sheffield, treasurer. This company purchased the crown patents of two prominent dentists, James E. Low and Cassius M. Richmond. All these crown and bridge patents were combined under one company which the two doctors advertised as Sheffield’s Perfect Crowning System, see Figure 15. Sheffield and his son received royalties from dentists around the world when they employed crowns and bridges covered under the Sheffields’ patents (per Wikipedia).

First, a Story:

A friend of mine who always used Colgate toothpaste went out and bought a tube of Crest toothpaste today…  He said it was a nice change of paste.

Second, a Song:

Randy Bruce Traywick (born May 4, 1959), known professionally as Randy Travis, is an American country music and gospel music singer, songwriter, guitarist, and actor.

Active from 1978 until being incapacitated by a stroke in 2013, he has recorded 20 studio albums and charted more than 50 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including sixteen that reached the No. 1 position. Considered a pivotal figure in the history of country music, Travis broke through in the mid-1980s with the release of his album Storms of Life, which sold more than four million copies. The album established him as a major force in the neotraditional country movement. Travis followed up his successful debut with a string of platinum and multi-platinum albums. He is known for his distinctive baritone vocals, delivered in a traditional style that has made him a country music star since the 1980s.

By the mid-1990s, Travis saw a decline in his chart success. In 1997, he left Warner Bros. Records for DreamWorks Records and then for Word Records, where he began recording more Christian material. Although the career shift produced only one more number-one country hit “Three Wooden Crosses”, Travis went on to earn several Dove Awards, including Country Album of the Year five times. Since his stroke, which severely limited his singing and speaking ability, he has released archival recordings and made limited public appearances. In addition to his singing career, he pursued an acting career, appearing in numerous films and television series, including The Rainmaker (1997) with Matt Damon, Black Dog (1998) with Patrick Swayze, Texas Rangers (2001) with James Van Der Beek, National Treasure 2 (2007) and seven episodes of the Touched by an Angel television series.

Travis has sold over 25 million records and has won seven Grammy Awards, six CMA Awards, eleven ACM Awards, 10 AMA Awards, eight GMA Dove Awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2016, Travis was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

High Lonesome is the seventh studio album by American country music artist Randy Travis, released on August 27, 1991. Four singles were released from the album: “Forever Together” (#1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts), “Better Class of Losers” (#2), “Point of Light” (#3), and “I’d Surrender All” (#20). All of these singles except “Point of Light” were co-written by Travis and Alan Jackson. Conversely, Travis co-wrote Jackson’s 1992 #1 “She’s Got the Rhythm (And I Got the Blues)”, from his album A Lot About Livin’ (And a Little ’bout Love).

Track listing:

“Let Me Try” (Chuck Cannon, Allen Shamblin) – 4:03

“Oh, What a Time to Be Me” (Randy Travis, Don Schlitz) – 3:35

“Heart of Hearts” (Mike Henderson, Kevin Welch) – 2:41

“Point of Light” (Schlitz, Thom Schuyler) – 3:34

“Forever Together” (Travis, Alan Jackson) – 3:06

“Better Class Of Losers” (Travis, Jackson) – 2:41

“I’d Surrender All” (Travis, Jackson) – 3:36

“High Lonesome” (Gretchen Peters) – 3:27

“Allergic to the Blues” (Jackson, Jim McBride) – 2:28

“I’m Gonna Have a Little Talk with Jesus” (Schlitz, Travis)- 2:42 [featuring Take 6] (per Wikipedia).

Here is Randy Travis performing  Allergic to the Blues.  I am sorry but I couldn’t find a video of Randy performing this live.  I hope you enjoy this!


Thought for the Day:

“Imagine a country that flies into space, launches Sputniks, creates such a defense system, and it can’t resolve the problem of women’s pantyhose. There’s no toothpaste, no soap powder, not the basic necessities of life. It was incredible and humiliating to work in such a government.” – Mikhail Gorbachev


Have a great day!

Dave & Colleen

© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky

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