An out-of-the-way dental Q&A column I stumbled across gives us some history on what’s commonplace today, the traditional toothpaste tube.
The idea of a metal tube to dispense toothpaste was conceived in the 1890s by Dr. Washington Wentworth Scheffield, a dentist from New London, Conn. From my research, his son had just returned from France where he noticed painters dispensed their oil paints from collapsible metal tubes invented in France.
Scheffield used the collapsible tube and introduced what he called Creme Dentifrice, a paste that was creamier than was standard for the time period.
Of course, the good doctor’s idea was soon adopted by every major pharmaceutical company, and here we are today.
Prior to this, people brushed with a tooth-cleaning powder that was given to them by their local dentist. It wasn’t particularly sanitary nor effective – the tube was a welcome advancement in dental care tech.
Of course, all these years later and nobody has truly figured out how to get all the toothpaste out of the tube, not even those of us in our Moraga dentist office, all of whom I consider experts.