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Where it all began for Air Wick...

Air Wick’s creator could sniff out innovation a mile away. His creativity and bravery to go where no innovator had gone before is truly inspiring.

22 Nov 20213 minute read

Meet our innovators: Heritage edition

We’ve been privileged to welcome innovators to Reckitt for over 200 years. And over time, our culture has evolved. Just as we’ve evolved, so has our talent. The lessons of the past have informed the decisions of today and the impact we want to make in the future. It was true 200 years ago and it’s still true today.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, it’s time to explore our archives to get to know our innovators a little better in the latest installment in the Our story l our heritage series.

Guy Sherman Paschal ‘...carried the spark of genius like a hot potato’

Guy Sherman Paschal was born in Washington DC, USA in 1901. As a born innovator, ‘...status quo would never be a phrase written into his biography’ and it was ‘...his complete disregard for tradition that made him unfettered in his thinking and led him to experimenting with new, better ways to do things.’

It’s fair to say that Guy was unafraid of change and pushed himself to challenge ‘the norm’ at every possible opportunity. Harnessing the passion, drive and bravery that make our innovators so incredible, Guy invented:

  • new forms of shorthand
  • a 3D chess game
  • a granular meat tenderiser
  • And an electric piano

He even:

  • conducted chemical research on mildew prevention in the home
  • developed a long-lasting chlorine for swimming pools
  • and raised 2,500 parakeets to study their migration habits

He was certainly busy!

Breathing new life into an age-old problem

Guy was a keen jogger and loved being outdoors. It was his love of fresh air that really drove him and where his true passion lay.

In 1935, he found himself working as a sales executive in a hot, stuffy and stale Manhattan office. His mind began to wander, as he considered that there must be another way...

So Guy - being the resourceful innovator he was - of course found another way. He designed and manufactured the first successful room air conditioner – Pleasant Aire. This worked well, but Guy recognised that there were further improvements to be made. He familiarised himself with the characteristics of over 3,000 odor substances and started developing the ‘next stage’ of his air freshening plan.

After research, tests and a few modifications Air Wick was created in 1939.

Once an innovator always an innovator

Air Wick sold well and got off to a flying start. But Guy continued researching and testing to give consumers even more choice. He did a lot of this early research in his basement in the Bronx, New York. This involved perfecting the chlorophyll extraction process, creating a vocabulary for odor descriptions and much, much more.

From this, Guy developed a range of Air Wick products that sold all over the world. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Just like all great innovators, Guy was also motivated by doing the right thing. He helped install Air Wick systems in military hospitals, hospital ships and trains during World War II.

An innovator’s legacy

The legacy Guy left behind has inspired Air Wick’s future. Our innovators have taken our iconic brand on a transformative journey, creating new scents, new products, sustainable new options and inspiring new ways of thinking about scents.

From a basement in the Bronx to homes all over the world, Air Wick’s story continues all thanks to our innovators.

You can read Guy’s obituary here in the New York Times, which was published on 1st June 1989.