I will Wash Your Mouth Out with Soap!

I will Wash Your Mouth Out with Soap!

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Remember  when Mom made the bar of soap wet, and rubbed it in our mouths, and then to make it worse you had to had to bite on it?

Then I once watched my friend’s mother stand him on a chair in the centre of the room for 30 minutes while he held a big bar of soap in my mouth.  He was just covered in slobber down the front of his shirt by the time it was over.

My Grandmother was in on this punishment too, and grabbed my arm, marched me into the bathroom, picked up a bar of plain white soap, and literally cleaned my mouth with it.  Sometimes I wondered what brand of soap was most used for washing out mouths?

One of my readers Clorise Anderson remembered her mom would squirt MIR dish soap in our mouths.  I remember MIR very well but cannot find a darn thing about it on the internet. But, I had no idea about the history of liquid soap. So I looked it up.

The first liquid soap was patented in 1865, by William Shepphard. He’s often credited for inventing it, but considering his patent was officially listed as “Improved Liquid Soap,” it seems clear there was liquid soap around already.

In his patent, Shepphard announced he’d discovered that adding “small quantities of common soap to a large quantity of spirits of ammonia or hartshorn” produced a thickened liquid comparable in consistency to molasses.

Much of the liquid soap that preceded Sheppard’s patent was used for industrial purposes, and much that followed it was as well, with hospitals and public places included in
where you could find it.

Despite its popularity throughout the early to middle 1900’s, it wasn’t until 1980 that liquid soap became mass-produced for domestic use. The Minnetonka Corporation of Minnesota released Softsoap in 1980, and their product benefited greatly from being first.

It took some doing, though, for Minnetonka to get the jump on its larger competitors. Colgate, makers of Irish Spring, and Proctor & Gamble, makers of Ivory, were both positioned to release a liquid soap and take advantage of the wide-open market opportunity.

The key to success was the dispenser. Without a suitable pump – and suitable pumps were made by only a few factories in the U.S. – any liquid soap efforts would fail, regardless of how big the company was.

Minnetonka’s strategy for beating its competitors was to buy up all the plastic pump dispensers in the country. Their strategy worked. Minnetonka enjoyed a virtual monopoly on liquid soap until they were bought by Colgate-Palmolive in 1987. Minnetonka’s strategy is still mentioned in business publications as a model of smart, calculated risk taking. For its part, Colgate-Palmolive has continued to produce Softsoap since it purchased Minnetonka.

28534676_10154947417386841_297803454_n.jpgPhoto-Donna Mcfarlane

The Happy Gang was a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio lunchtime variety show that ran from 1937 to 1959. During the Golden Age of Radio and well into the 1950s, it was one of Canada’s most popular programs. In its heyday, it had about two million listeners a day.The show was known for its “spontaneous humor, music, and corny jokes.” 

The Happy Gang debuted on June 14, 1937 on station CRCT, a CBC affiliate in Toronto, later known as CBL. Originally intended as just a summer fill-in, it gained a following, and was moved to the CBC network four months later. The Happy Gang ran for 22 years, totalling nearly 4900 broadcasts, until it was finally cancelled in late August 1959. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, the series also served as the template for CBC’s French language service, Les Joyeux Troubadours, which was broadcast in Quebec from 1941 to 1977.

You can listen to the show right here—http://www.cbc.ca/radio/rewind/the-happy-gang-1.2801259

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

3 responses »

  1. 67 & I still remember. My Mother’s choice was a bar of Sunlight. I didn’t know she could move so fast. I had stubbed my toe on the stairs & this whispered word came out of my mouth. Did I mention she had excellent hearing?
    For all parents, no harm was done & I learned my lesson. Mind, I think, as was mentioned, prolonged association with soap would implant a bad image and or attitude, but a quick, sharp reminder may not be a bad thing for some.


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