History of Soaps and Detergents
While employed by Procter &
Gamble, Dennis Weatherby developed and received a patent for the automatic
dishwasher detergent known by the tradename Cascade. He received his Masters
degree in chemical engineering from the University of Dayton in 1984. Cascade
is a registered trademark of the Procter & Gamble Company.
A soap maker
at the Procter and Gamble company had no idea a new innovation was about
to surface when he went to lunch one day in 1879. He forgot to turn off
the soap mixer, and more than the usual amount of air was shipped into
the batch of pure white soap that the company sold under the name The White
Soap. Fearing he would get in trouble, the soap maker kept the mistake
a secret and packaged and shipped the air-filled soap to customers around
the country. Soon customers were asking for more "soap that floats." When
company officials found out what happened, they turned it into one of the
company’s most successful products, Ivory Soap.
company, Lever Brothers, an created Lifebuoy soap in 1895 and sold it as
an antiseptic soap. They later changed
its name to Lifebuoy Health Soap. Lever Brothers first coined the term
"B.O." for bad odor as part of their marketing company for the soap.
William Shepphard first patented
liquid soap on August 22, 1865. In 1980, the Minnetonka Corporation introduced
the first modern liquid soap called SOFT SOAP brand liquid soap. Minnetonka cornered the liquid soap
market by buying up the entire supply of the plastic pumps needed for the
liquid soap dispensers. In 1987, the Colgate Company acquired the liquid soap business
started a candle and soap making company in New York City in 1806. By 1906,
the company was making over 3,000 different soaps, perfumes and other products.
For example, Colgate Dental Cream was introduced in 1877. In 1864, Caleb
Johnson founded a soap company called B.J. Johnson Soap Co., in Milwaukee.
In 1898, this company introduced a soap made of palm and olive oils, called
Palmolive. It was so successful that that the B.J. Johnson Soap Co. changed
their name to Palmolive in 1917. Another soap making company called the
Peet Brothers Co. of Kansas City started in 1872. In 1927, Palmolive merged
with them to became Palmolive Peet. In 1928, Palmolive Peet merged with
Colgate to form Colgate-Palmolive-Peet. In 1953, the name was shortened
to just Colgate-Palmolive. Ajax cleanser was one of their first major brand
names introduced in the early 1940s.
Chemist, Harry A. Cole of Jackson,
Mississippi invented and sold the pine-scented cleaning product called
Pine-Sol in 1929. Pine-Sol is the biggest selling household cleaner in
the world. Cole sold Pin-Sol shortly after its invention (now owned by
Clorox Company) and went on to create more pine oil cleaners called FYNE
PINE and PINE PLUS. Together with his sons, Cole started the H. A. Cole
Products Co. to manufacture and sell his products. Pine forests surrounded
the area where the Coles lived, providing an ample supply of pine oil.
In 1917, Ed Cox of San Francisco,
an aluminum pot salesman, invented a pre-soaped pad with which to clean
pots. As a way of introducing himself to potential new customers, Cox made
the soap incrusted steel-wool pads as a calling card. His wife named the
soap pads S.O.S. or "Save Our Saucepans." Cox soon found out that the S.O.S
pads were a hotter product than his pots and pans.
In the 1920s,
Americans used soap flakes to clean their laundry. The flakes performed
poorly in hard water, leaving a ring in the washing machine, dulling colors,
and turning whites gray. Procter & Gamble began an ambitious mission
to change the way Americans washed their clothes. Researchers discovered
two-part molecules which they called synthetic surfactants. Each part of
the "miracle molecules" executed a specific function--one pulled grease
and dirt from the clothes, while the other suspended dirt until it could
be rinsed away. In 1933, this discovery was introduced in a detergent called
"Dreft," but it could only handle lightly soiled jobs. The next goal was
to create a detergent that could clean heavily soiled clothes. That detergent
1943, Tide detergent was the combination of synthetic surfactants and "builders."
The builders helped the synthetic surfactants penetrate the clothes more
deeply to attack greasy, difficult stains. Tide was introduced to test
markets in October 1946 as the world’s first heavy-duty detergent. Consumer
response was immediate and intense. Tide detergent outsold every other
brand within weeks. It became so popular that store owners were forced
to limit the quantity purchased per customer.
was improved 22 times during its first 21 years on the market, and Procter
& Gable still strives for perfection. Each year, researchers duplicate
the mineral content of water from all parts of the United States and wash
50,000 loads of laundry to test Tide detergent’s consistency and performance.
all-purpose cleaner was invented in 1957.
Does Soap Clean?
You may use it every day, but do
you know how it works? Learn about emulsions, micelles, and soap scum!
Then check out links to sites about bubbles, soapmaking, and the regulation
of soap chemistry.
History of Soap
A soap-like material found in clay
cylinders during the excavation of ancient Babylon is evidence that soap
making was known as early as 2800 B.C.
History of Soapmaking
B. J. Johnson Company was making
soap entirely of vegetable oils, palm and olive. The soap they produced
became so popular, they renamed their company after the soap Palmolive.
Although the start of the synthetic
detergent industry is not shrouded in the veils of history as were the
beginnings of the soap industry, it is nevertheless not easy to pinpoint
exactly when the first were invented.
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