doubt many readers less than seventy years of age will know the
term "Murphy Bed." It is simply a folding bed hidden behind beautiful
cabinets. Founded in 1908 in San Francisco and later moved to Farmingdale,
New York, the Murphy Bed Company, Inc. is still in business today.
Best known for being more comfortable than conventional folding
beds, it also utilized less space. Murphy beds were made famous
by slapstick comedians like Red Skelton who could base an entire
episode on being accidently folded up inside a Murphy bed.
about that Fuller Brush Company? In business for more than one-hundred
years, the company now sells some 300 products with a "100% satisfaction
guarantee attached or your money returned no questions asked." That's
quite a guarantee in this day's world.
Alfred Fuller set up shop in his sister's basement and began making
custom brushes for personal and household use. With more customers
than time to deliver products he initiated a program supplying dealers
calling on homes throughout the U.S.
listened to customers tell of their cleaning problems then designed
a product to do the job. Safety and environmental cleanliness are
the watchwords of the business.
the 1870s Proctor & Gamble was a young company located in Cincinnati,
Ohio, producing bath soap somewhat brown in color and rather harsh
in manner. Most bathers in the area used Ohio River water which
always contained a bit of silt. When the heavy brown soap was turned
loose in the tub it sunk out of sight in the murky brown bath water.
The company was experimenting making a white soap when the operator
of a soap-making machine took a long lunch break leaving the mixing
machine running. When he finally returned the mixed batch of soap
seemed frothier than usual but was poured into the frame for hardening
and cutting to size.
Soon, customers began clamoring for "more of that white soap that
floats." Company owners traced the soap to the man who admitted
taking a long lunch break leaving the mixing machine running. After
more experimenting, the floating product was developed and ready
for market but needed a catchy name.
"accident" came when Harley T. Proctor, a son of one of the founders
went to church and heard the 45th Psalm stating, "All thy garments
smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of ivory palaces whereby
they have made thee glad."
The name "Ivory"
struck a chord and was applied to the new white floating soap. Later
Harley wrote ads for the soap stating it was "99 44/100s pure" and
his success allowed him to retire at 42 years of age.
is made in Baltimore in a huge plant on the shores of the harbor.
The company estimates they have sold more than 30 billion bars of
the soap, five and a half times the weight of the Washington Monument.
Their advertising programs have become models for other companies
sidebar to the Ivory Soap story comes from before television when
the public often sat at night carving figurines out of the bars
of pure white soap.
© Delbert Trew