Soaps of the Past

The old soaps collection.

I’m sure every reader here has their own reasons for why they make soaps, lotions and other products. Allergies, sensitive skin, the desire for knowledge, a hobby, becoming a self-sustaining person, and many more reasons. While I haven’t even touched the surface of all the reasons, there is one reason that makes me think about history. I make soap because I want to be able to use a product I made just like _________(my grandma, the pioneers, the Medieval Europeans, the colonists) did.

This reason usually has me thinking about how soap making changed from a small batch production process to a large batch production process during the Industrial Revolution. Andrew Pears is credited with the invention of a high quality, transparent soap in 1789. It was not until 1865 when Pears son-in-law, Thomas J. Barratt, entered the firm in a partnership. He created an advertising campaign that was unique in its use of images and memorable slogans. Barratt is now known as the father of modern advertising. While the Pears brand is still trademarked and sold today, I find this beginning of commercial soap intriguing.

I’ve been collecting different old soaps over the past months and I’m starting to have an impressive collection. I have various soaps from the 1960s to WWII issued soaps and I even have a soap that has a 1898 United States Internal Revenue Tax Paid stamp on the package! That soap is the Cuticura Soap on the top row and center. The history behind each bar of soap is amazing. I’ll have to admit that it is very exciting to hold piece of ordinary day-to-day history in my hands!

Here is a list of the soaps and toiletries as they appear in the picture.
Top Row (Left to Right): Merrill’s Fine Toilet Soap, Conti Olive Oil Castile Soap, Williams Menthol Mug Shaving Soap, Cuticura Soap Medicinal & Toilet, Lifebuoy Health Soap, Amolin Cream Deodorant.
Second Row Down (Left to Right): Kirk’s Original Coco Hardwater Castile, Palmer Rose Leaves Soap, Octagon Soap, Ting Anti-Bacterial Soap.
Third Row Down (Left to Right): Ivory Soap, Cashmere Bouquet Toilet Soap by Colgate, Camay Soap, OQMG No 100-A-Type 1 Soap (WWII US Army issued)
Bottom Row (Left to Right): Grandpa’s Wonder Pine Tar Toilet Soap, Moon Rose Complexion Soap, Patch’s Gadoment (used for burn and wound treatments), Palmolive soap with a token for a free cake of soap when you buy one cake.
The large soap box on the side is Deseret Brand Granulated Soap that was produced and distributed by the L.D.S. Welfare Plan.

If you come visit our facility, ask about the old soaps and we will be more than willing to show you the soaps.

Enjoy this little taste of history!

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Soaps of the Past, 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings

About Andee

Director of Happiness. I'm a thirty-something soap snob. I've grown up with handmade soaps, and I love them! I really like making lotions, soaps, and perfumes. I adore mixing scents to come up with something new. My favorite scent is either Wicked or Cotton Candy. I tend to hoard fragrances, I even have an Earl Grey Tea from the MMS catalog. I won't tell you how old it is, but it sure is good!

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