The Wall Street Journal states that Robert McNeil created Tylenol in 1955 as a prescription painkiller designed for children. McNeil died in 2010, at the age of 94 years.
After creating Tylenol, McNeil sold McNeil laboratories to Johnson and Johnson in 1959 for $33 million in stock. Johnson and Johnson purchased the company to venture into the pharmaceutical industry, according to the Wall Street Journal. After the acquisition, the drug became prescription-free and found its way into the over-the-counter aspirin-free pain relief market.
The Wall Street Journal notes that acetaminophen, the generic form of Tylenol, was first introduced to the public in the 1880s by Bayer Co. in Germany. McNeil's brand name version of this product came from a shortening of the drug's actual chemical name, which was suggested to McNeil by his marketing director.