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  • Linda A Metzger

Go, Lever, go!


Hand washing is not a new concept. Here is a 1922 ad from Lifebuoy promoting their Health Soap. It is interesting to me that the ad is focused on how the soap will make your skin feel as opposed to how well the soap cleans. However, in other advertisements they did say the soap removes germs and protects health.


The milled soap, sold by British soap maker Lever Brothers Company (held by Unilever Limited), was packaged in two shapes - octagonal and rectangular and in a paper wrapper.


In 1940, Lifebuoy ran a full page ad in LIFE magazine promoting the soaps use as eliminating "nervous B.O."



In 1947, Unilever Limited was one of the largest manufacturers of its kind. At that time it had 400 subsidiaries and operated more than 800 factories in 37 countries. However, the origins of the company dates back to the 1880's with its founder, philanthropist William Hesketh Lever. Lever actually built the town of Port Sunlight in the United Kingdom to provide the employees of his company with good quality housing and sanitation. In the Congo Free State in 1919, in order to conduct business the company had to institute labor contracts and build schools and clinics. Amazing how much social responsibility the Lever Company held.



In New York, the company's corporate headquarters at 390 Park Avenue were built in what became as the Lever House and in its day had quite an impact in architecture. It was almost tore down at one point but in 1982, the building became landmarked and therefore forever saved from destruction.


Long live Lever. Unilever. Can I be an heiress by, um, being a really nice person?


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