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    Works : 115
    Join date : 2012-08-18


    Post by Revealer on August 21st 2012, 6:28 am


    Poster for Pears soap, 1900, A. & F. Pears Ltd. V&A Museum no. E.1064-1919
    Andrew Pears, the son of a farmer, was born in around 1770 and moved from his native Mevagissey in Cornwall to London in about 1787 to train as a barber. He completed his apprenticeship in 1789 and established a barber's shop in Gerrard Street in Soho and began to produce cosmetic products. At that time Soho was a wealthy residential area, and Pears' clientele included many wealthy socialites who took great pride in their appearance. The fashion amongst the wealthy of the period was for pristine white complexions; tanned faces were associated with those who laboured out of doors. Pears found that his powders and creams were frequently being used to cover up damage caused by the harshness of the soaps and other beauty products (many of which contained arsenic or lead) that were in general use at the time. Pears began to experiment with soap purification and eventually managed to produce a gentle soap based on glycerine and other natural products. The clarity of the soap gave it a novel transparent appearance which provided a marketing advantage. To add to the appeal, Pears gave the soap an aroma reminiscent of an English garden.

    In 1835, his grandson Francis Pears joined the business and created the company A. & F. Pears Ltd. In 1838 Andrew Pears retired, leaving Francis in charge of the company. In 1851 the company was awarded the prize medal for soap at The Great Exhibition.
    Francis' son-in-law Thomas J. Barratt, sometimes referred to as the father of modern advertising, eventually managed the firm.

    In 1862, production of the soap moved to Isleworth, and three years later Francis' son, Andrew, joined A. & F. Pears Ltd. as joint proprietor and ran the factory, whilst Thomas ran the head office in London.

    In the mid 1910s, A. & F. Pears Ltd. became part of Lever Brothers and moved production to Port Sunlight in north west England.

    Pears soap is now made in India by Hindustan Unilever a company in which Unilever controls a fifty-two percent stake.


    Advertisement for Pears soap from the 1890s promoting cleanliness as a justification for racist imperialism[1]
    Pears soap was made using a process entirely different to that for other soaps. A mixture of tallow and other fats was saponified by caustic potash (potassium hydroxide) in industrial methylated spirits. After saponification was completed the resulting glycerol was left in the batch. Batches were made not in huge pans, but in small kettle-like vessels and as soon as the translucent amber liquid had cooled enough to solidify it was extruded into opaque oval bars that were cut into bath- or toilet weight tablets ready for beginning their long drying spell in the drying rooms (ovens). The hot liquid soap fresh from the vessel had a total fatty matter (TFM) of 45% compared with the TFMs of 70-80% usual in soaps made by the conventional method. The TFM increased considerably as the alcohol content fell during drying.

    The entire Pears plant was a small almost self-contained annexe situated at the rear of the administration block. The plant was run by a handful of staff who not only had experience of the specialised process, but had developed immunity to the effects of breathing the alcohol-laden atmosphere in the plant building.

    The concave shape of the soap is formed by shrinkage while the soap is drying, and is not due to deliberate moulding.

    Bars of soap produced in the factory come in two sizes: 75 g and 125 g. Nowadays this soap comes in three colours - the classic amber, the green, and mint (blue color). Each variety has a unique aroma. The soap now comes in two new sizes: 69 g and 119 g.

    Recent changes to quality of ingredients used in the manufacturing process (see "Changes to the Formula" below) have resulted in a noticeably different shape (flatter rather than concave) and difference in scent with the classic transparent amber bar. The aroma, which used to be a characteristically mild, spicy fragrance, is now a very strong. In the UK the same has been noticed in 2009 with a scent almost like coal tar and with a reduction in the moisturizing properties, and in a differently shaped bar.


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