Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Ogston & Tennant - a 19th century Aberdeen-based soap maker.

I spotted this Herb box on my recent trip to Orkney. Colonel James Ogston was a 19th century soap manufacturer from Aberdeen - known as "Soapy Ogston". His factory made soap and candles and was in the Gallowgate area of Aberdeen.  It was founded in 1802 and sometime after 1892, the soap and candle works of Charles Tennant was merged with Ogstons to form Ogston and Tennant Ltd. The combined company later became part of the Lever Group.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Vinolia Otto - the cold cream bath soap of the Titanic!

Vinolia Otto Toilet Soap was provided for First Class passengers on the maiden voyage of the Titanic. It smells old-fashioned and it is made with ingredients I don't approve of such as Paraffinum Liquidum and Sodium Tallowate - but anyhow - it is an interesting piece of soap history.

My Mum gave me this small guest sized bar - but the soap isn't available in the UK as far as I am aware. Unilever make it now - in Cyprus - exported to the Middle East. I read that it was the only product that was advertised ahead of the Titanic's maiden voyage - other goods were to be advertised after its successful arrival in America! 

It's a soap "sign"!

The other week, my lovely husband put up a garden building so that I could have my own dedicated workroom for soap making. This is very exciting. While digging the foundations he discovered an old blue and white enamel advertising sign - like the ones you see in old photos of railway station platforms. The weird coincidence is this is what the sign was advertising...

The complete sign would have read " WATSON'S MATCHLESS CLEANSER IS THE BEST SOAP". Watson's Soap was made in Leeds and was a huge company in the late 19th century. Read the history of the company here  Interestingly, I discovered that the key ingredient of soap making, glycerine, was sold by them to make explosives. When my handmade soap is ready for sale - it will contain all its original glycerine (essential for moisturising your skin) !

Thursday, 10 February 2011

A Scottish 18th century Perfumer

I came across this interesting grave in Old Calton Kirkyard in Edinburgh - I am intrigued by this - I wonder what sort of perfumes (or indeed soaps) William Raeburn made? I googled him and found an entry for a William Raeburn living in the east end of Glasgow in 1787 - and he is perfumer to His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales! He also had premises in North Bridge, Edinburgh. The Prince Regent (later William IV) was well-known as a enjoying the very best of things (to excess) and perfume would surely have been one of his essential luxuries. I will research further the types of perfumes William Raeburn might have made... soap would have been a luxury at this time - and washing was only slowly becoming acceptable!
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Friday, 21 January 2011

Test batch of Scottish soap - quite pleased with this!

Here is a test batch of handmade soap - palm-oil free - friends and family are testing this ahead of it being sold to the public - exciting times....