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) !