Today’s sunbathers have a Miami Beach pharmacist to thank for the first-ever bottle of Coppertone suntan lotion.
In 1944, while serving as an airman during World War II, Benjamin Green wanted to protect himself and his fellow soldiers from the sun’s harmful rays. His solution was to spread red veterinary petrolatum (known as “red pet vet”) on his skin. The salve was thick and smelled bad, but it was very effective.
After the war ended, Green experimented by adding cocoa butter and coconut oil. The concoction ultimately became the original formulation of Coppertone, now the most popular sunscreen in America.