It is hard to find people who have never heard of Kleenex. The word is so well-known that the term is used to mean any facial tissue. However, Kleenex is a trade-name and Kleenex was originally not made for blowing noses and wiping away tears.
This product was originally patented in 1924 by Cellucotton Products Company. The purpose of the product is clear in the patent. Kleenex was “absorbent pads or sheets for removing cold cream”. In other words, the original notion was that the product would be used to remove cold cream and makeup from the face. Kleenex was actually created to be a disposable alternative to face towels.
More amazing, when the idea was originally floated of selling Kleenex to people with colds, flu, and allergies, the idea wasn’t accepted. It wasn’t until the 1930’s that this use was actually marketed by the company. They then used the slogan, “Don’t carry a cold in your pocket” and Kleenex became a disposable alternative to a handkerchief.
The products that are produced are now used for a number of purposes, beyond just facial tissue. Kleenex brands include Huggies (disposable diapers), Cottonelle (toilet paper), and VIVA (paper towels). The products are sold in 170 different countries and are produced in 30.
Kleenex is now owned by the Kimberly-Clark Corporation, headquartered in Wisconsin. This company was actually the first company to market facial tissue in the US, however, they weren’t the first to produce it in the world.
For hundreds of years, the Japanese have been using disposable facial tissue. In fact, the Japanese had a hard time understanding why anyone in western culture would blow their nose with a piece of cloth, then stick the cloth in their pocket. To them, this made no sense at all. They had a valid point. Hence, most people now use a Kleenex and throw it away after use.