Soap

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Ben Lemmon

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I find that a cake of soap will last me several months. Even longer if I don't wash every Sunday.
I'm not sure I really wanted to know that, Bob, but thanks for the information anyway, I guess.

I think we see the degradation of certain products happening a lot in our society today. Although another example of said degradation escapes me at the present time, I know it happens.

I'm guessing the partly-used cakes of soap that might have gone home with the cabin staff is similar to businessmen and travelers coming home with little bars of soap from the hotel. However, I don't think those have been used. It sounds like the same concept. Instead of "Hey, look at this! This bar of soap came from the Hilton," it is "Hey, look at this! This bar of soap came from the Titanic!" Anyway, I think I have finished including my two-cents worth (alas, another cliche).
 
May 27, 2007
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The profit on generic soap is small, so the sales have to be large - that means you have to buy into large production facilities, a large sales force, advertise, and develop a strategy to keep the top end secret from the bottom.
Monica has quite sensibly made her point about production costs. That is probably what kept Otto Vinolia from producing a generic version of his soap.
But the lines blur. Some products described as generic are in fact store brands (own label here across the Pond) which begin as cheap substitutes for branded goods (baked beans a good example) but which end up as brands in their own right due to the general commercial success of their supermarket owners. But this is a fairly modern phenomenon.
It might of started in the late Twenties perhaps when there was an upsurge of mass marketing? Which would indeed make this practice fairly modern.

It seems to have made more sense to build your business on a fairly cheap universal soap, advertise it everywhere, keep the name of your company out of the picture by inventing attractive brand names, like Sunlight, and then build the company by acquisition.
That make sense.
Maybe the part-used cakes of soap went the same way, but I imagine a good deal of them would have gone home with the cabin staff.
Lucky cabin staff. The best of the best.
 
Feb 4, 2007
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Hey Bob,

Do you know what ingredients in the original Vinolia soap differ from those of today? I'm curious as to what and why the ingredients of today are "inferior" to those of the past.

On the box of newer Vinolia I have, the ingredients are listed as:

"Sodium Tallowate, Sodium Cocoate, Aqua, Glycerol, Parfum, Sodium Chloride, Petrolatum, Mineral Oil, Tetra-Sodium EDTA, Etidronic Acid, Boric Acid"

Actually, as I look at some of these ingredients, I wonder if I should really be using this product. There's some questionable stuff in this soap.
 
May 27, 2007
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Speaking of ingredients in things. I recently heard from my Dentist that Sugar in food products or candy while bad isn't what hurts teeth by it self. Acid is what really does a number on you teeth and weakens enamel. Acid even by it's self and with sugar are bad any way you look at it so be sure to rinse your mouth out and chew sugarless gum.
 
Feb 4, 2007
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I've always used aluminum-free deodorant, as well as aluminum-free baking powder. Hopefully, no Alzheimer's for me!

Or were you being facetious, Monica?
wink.gif


Now what was I saying?....... Oh yeah! Still, it does give me pause to read about Petrolatum in particular.
 
May 27, 2007
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Petrolatum??

I was looking for Vinolia Soap and couldn't find any.

I wonder what kind of shampoo they had in 1912 if any. I knew they they washed their hair but with what.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I think we see the degradation of certain products happening a lot in our society today.<<

You might all be amazed at just how extensive this is. Roper used to make some of the finest gas appliances in the world, and I do mean the finest. The gas range in my maternal grandmother's house outlived her and is still going strong now that her grandchildren and great grandchildren are living there.

The beast is built like a battleship and could probably survive plunging fire from one. Does anyone think that same quality exists in their current line?

Think again!

These days, Roper is little more then a trademark owned by Whirlpool and it's assigned to the low end stuff commonly bought for use in rental properties. It's serviceable and actually fairly trouble free but I think that's due to their having few extras. If the thing breaks, nobody much cares. They just buy another.

Good old fashioned hand made soap can be had but it's the sort of thing you find in estate markets such as Biltmore or in street flea and farmers markets.
 
May 27, 2007
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Thanks Jason.

Good old fashioned hand made soap can be had but it's the sort of thing you find in estate markets such as Biltmore or in street flea and farmers markets.
I hear you on that Mike. I used to belong to a Co-Op market back in the 90's through my Church in Iowa. The Amish have great natural products. Although their mostly know for their furniture.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Who asked for shampoo? Try Royal Vinolia Vegetable Hair Wash: "This truly delightful Toilet article produces a stimulating, luxurious lather, which gently yet completely removes all dust, grit, dandruff, etc, from the hair. The pure, vegetable ingredients ... are wholly beneficial, promoting the life and growth of the hair and invigorating the scalp," Hair of course isn't alive so that's basically bs, but high class bs!

I have advertisements also for Vinolia brilliantine, shaving soap, toothpaste, vanishing cream, ointment, lip salve and baby talc. The main selling point is always natural ingredients and non-harshness, ideal for sensitive and refined skins. That and the Royal Warrant - 'Soap Makers to His Majesty the King'. So no cheap lines from Vinolia, but you got your money's worth - the shaving soap was said to e good for 365 shaves - ie a whole year for sixpence.
.
 
Jan 28, 2003
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My granny told me about using soap to wash hair with when young. It sounds to have been a bit of a miserable business, what with lathering difficulties and the hair being long. She said you had to rinse it finally with a mild lemon solution to remove the soap, which smelt nice afterwards, although vinegar did the job much better but you smelled like a pickled onion.

We have a shop here called LUSH which makes the natural stuff. You have it in the States too. The soaps are highly scented with fruit and spices and brilliantly coloured. It's quite irresistible really, and I am particularly fond of the Bath Bomb which, when you drop it into the bath, fizzes madly and dashes round the bath. It's more fun to drop it in the bath when you're already in it. Rather juvenile of me, but it does so remind me of the little plastic submarines you got in the Kellogs cereal packet years ago, which you powered with baking soda and took in the bath with you, which pootled around, diving and surfacing. With a couple of those and a few plastic warships you could have hours of fun.
https://www.lush.co.uk/index.php
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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I've had to pension off my Kelloggs submarine because these days nobody has any baking powder in the kitchen cupboard. In fact very few people have any cooking ingredients in the cupboard. But the Bath Bomb sounds like loads of fun. Almost as much fun as a Drain Rocket.
 
Jan 28, 2003
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What a subject soap is turning out to be. I just remembered that when my father died I inherited his his Pharmaceutical Formulary, so dug it out for a look. In the UK, up until the end of the 1950s, pharmacists used to make stuff to sell in their pharmacies under their own name. I remember as a very young girl being put in charge of stirring a vat of pink simmering stuff, bottling and labelling it - it was a rather viscous sort of handcare jelly.

This Formulary was first published in 1889, and his version is from 1956. It seems to have been an incremental editorial exercise rather than a modernising one, so all the old recipes are still there. There are no less than 73 recipes for soap! And, remember, this was at a time when cottage-industry pharmacists were battling against Lever Bros. for business. And it was a battle which seems to have been lost only just before WW2, from what I can tell from the fascinating introduction to the 1956 edition.

Anyway, a small selection of the more interesting different types of soap that your local pharmacist might have been able to make, had he been so inclined (I bet most of them weren't):

alcoholic, arsenical (taxidermists), aluminium, bubble solutions, dog, eucalyptus dog, fish oil, floating, harness, iodine, liquid for lavatory use, marine, mercurial, obesity (!), ox gall, surgeon's pumice (that's the volcanic one, George!), turpentine, Windsor - and many, many more.

There are, interestingly, only 18 recipes for shampoo which is mostly, of course, a by-product of oil refinery - unlike soap which depends on palm oil. So there's no point in worrying about petrol-based products, Jason - so many of them are. Unless you want to give up shampooing altogether. I read an article about a year ago about people who'd given up shampooing, but merely showered their hair daily with water (both male and female). They said that after a few weeks it would be perfectly clean, oil and dandruff free, shiny and manageable, and the rest of us were all idiots. Their pictures looked most impressive. I tried it myself, and the results were not impressive.

My favourite recipe from the Formulary is for the Drain Rocket. So much more fun than Dyno-Rod.
 
Jan 28, 2003
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I have baking powder in my kitchen cupboard, Bob, but I no longer have the submarine.

Almost as much fun as a Drain Rocket.

I sometimes wonder if you know me too well...
 

Bob Godfrey

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Well, Mon, that of course is how we met all those years ago, when you answered my small ad: "Gentleman with submarine desires to meet lady with baking powder".

Was the dog soap for washing dogs, or made from dogs?
 
Dec 2, 2000
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When in Boot Camp back in 1979, shampoo was pretty much irrelevant since out hair had been literally buzzed off save for stubble. We washed what was left with soap, rinsed the daylights out of it, and called the problem solved. Since what most of us had was Zest, I wouldn't even think of trying this with a full head of hair. Trying it now, with my hair in a pony tail reaching two thirds of the way to my waist doesn't even bear discussion.

Betcha I could do it with the homemade soaps sold at the Biltmore Estate.
 
Jan 28, 2003
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Right, Mike. I know a beauty challenge when I see one. Father's Formulary to the rescue, and don't forget to tell the Mennonites.

Mariner's Soap
Fullers Earth 40 parts
Calcined Soda Ash 40 parts
Coconut Oil 80 parts

I'm not sure what all this means. I mean, how many parts make a whole? I think there must be a basic recipe I've not yet found, to which you add stuff according to whether you want to wash a dog, or to stuff it after it's died etc. Or a sailor. Will continue my researches.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I'm not sure what all this means. I mean, how many parts make a whole?<<

From the looks of that formulary, 160 parts, all of equal size. (shrug) From that soda ash, that looks like a recipe for a lye based soap. With some of the skin issues I have, I might just give it a try.
 
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