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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Soap


centurion
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No not Downton Abbey or Krönungsstraße! From 1915 as a result of Allied embargos on oils, fats and oleaginous grains soap was strictly rationed in Germany the monthly allowance being 50 grammes of solid (bar) soap and 125 grammes of powder. This is not a lot of soap, furthermore it was a form of ersatz soap containing no fats or oils (these being reserved for explosives production) and made up from a combination of clay and resin. Does any one know if this had any long term health and hygiene issues (apart from possibly making travel on commuter trains unpleasant)? What was the soap situation in Britain and France?

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According to a March 1918 article in the Liverpool Echo, the production of soap was being reduced to 50% of 1917 levels.

However, this was not a government measure but a preliminary step by the soap manufacturers which had not yet affected domestic users. Probably, it never did.

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All,

Here is a picture of some WW1 soap.

post-1138-0-23145100-1381766140_thumb.jp

As I understand it the brand "Eagle" was English and manufactured in the Newcastle-upon Tyne area pre war, these bars being part of a contract to supply the German Army. If I remember they were found in a loft in Belgium boxed and still in their waxed paper wrappers but the bloke who found them thought the waxed paper would be good for lighting fires so unwrapped the lot.

All the best,

Paul.

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All,

Here is a picture of some WW1 soap.

attachicon.gifSOAP 2.jpg

As I understand it the brand "Eagle" was English and manufactured in the Newcastle-upon Tyne area pre war, these bars being part of a contract to supply the German Army. If I remember they were found in a loft in Belgium boxed and still in their waxed paper wrappers but the bloke who found them thought the waxed paper would be good for lighting fires so unwrapped the lot.

All the best,

Paul.

Do you have a version of the photo that includes dome common object by which one can judge the physical size of the bars? By weight the two bars represent five months rations for an individual in Germany. But these, being of pre war manufacture, will include oils and fats and are also likely to be considerably more effective than the stuff issued after 1915.

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From Dri- Pak website

In 1899, the Lever Brothers (now Unliver) spotted a gap in the soap market for Soap Flakes. Before this invention, washing clothes at home was laborious and involved chipping bits off a larger piece of hard laundry soap to create a lather. Soap Flakes, which made suds faster and came ready to use, helped to make lighter work of household cleaning. The Lever Brother’s Soap Flakes started life as 'Sunlight Flakes' but the name was soon changed to 'Lux' in 1900. After gaining popularity in the UK, Lux Soap Flakes were exported to the US in 1906 and in 1915 a hugely successful advertising campaign by J Walter Thompson helped to introduce Soap Flakes to the American public.

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Centurion,

The tablets are 2 1/2 inches square on the top and 1 1/2 deep though this is a rough measurement as it seems there has been some shrinkage over time.

All the best,

Paul.

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So the monthly allowance for a German's ablutions must have been minuscule

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On 15/10/2013 at 08:20, johnboy said:

From Dri- Pak website

In 1899, the Lever Brothers (now Unliver) spotted a gap in the soap market for Soap Flakes. Before this invention, washing clothes at home was laborious and involved chipping bits off a larger piece of hard laundry soap to create a lather. Soap Flakes, which made suds faster and came ready to use, helped to make lighter work of household cleaning. The Lever Brother’s Soap Flakes started life as 'Sunlight Flakes' but the name was soon changed to 'Lux' in 1900. After gaining popularity in the UK, Lux Soap Flakes were exported to the US in 1906 and in 1915 a hugely successful advertising campaign by J Walter Thompson helped to introduce Soap Flakes to the American public.

That's interesting. A few family members worked at Lever Brothers in the past and one now works at the big Unilever depot in Port Sunlight. They still export worldwide. I remember Lux flakes. Do they still make them I wonder?

There was an interesting thread going on here about Sunlight Soap

 

While in Wirral archives looking through newspapers, I came across this little snippet that was in the Birkenhead News 1915

'Port Sunlight

"Lever's" Motor Vans

A letter which has been sadly mutilated by the censor, but still bearing the signatures of C Hughes, J. T. Waites, and J.S. Gray of the Port Sunlight Division of the St John Ambulance Brigade, recently came to Mr Radcliffe, of Port Sunlight, being dated "In the field". The writer reported that they were all in the best of health, and were delighted to have met many of the Lever Bros. vans at the front, "although without the soap". We are daily seeing L. B' Ltd's. motor vans here, and they are doing good service'.

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