MANUFACTURING: Schoolgirl Complexion

To Milwaukee Soapmaker Caleb Johnson, president of Palmolive Co., the Russian Revolution was a nuisance. On the day they assassinated the Tsar, a boatload of his pet Palmolive Soap was ploughing the grey Pacific, Vladivostok-bound, By the time it reached Japan the Russians were too busy to wash. The Japanese, no great shakes as soap consumers themselves, let the cargo pile up storage fees for three years. Finally, Soapman Johnson got a tip: Australia needed soap. To Sydney went the lot. Australians snapped it up at 30¢ a cake.

When Palmolive merged with Kansas City's Peet Bros. (Crystal White Laundry Soap)...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!