Friday, July 31, 2015

Talking Back to the Hand

So what would you say if a giant hand suddenly appeared over your laundry basket and started telling you your clothes were all still dirty and greasy and gross?

The lady in this 1934 ad is not at all freaked out. She says:

"Nonsense, Junior's rompers sometimes pick up a spot or two from his wagon - but there's no grease in the rest of my clothes."

Oh sure, lady. The hand is not impressed and starts talking about hidden perspiration and how she should use Fels-Naphtha Soap right now. Like drop the basket and go to the store immediately and then jolly well start the wash over again.

I don't think she will. She looks way too confident about things. You can practically see her rolling her eyes.

Fels-Naphtha - which you can still get today - is laundry soap. It was first sold in the early 1890s by Fels & Co. of Philadelphia. Fels of course was the manufacturor's name. And Naphtha? That's the word for "petroleum" in Ancient Greek; a small amount of petroleum distillate is added to the soap and that's what helps get the presumably stubborn grease and dirt out. That is what the talking hand is trying to tell us all.

Fels-Naphtha came in the form of a "golden bar" or "golden chips" which does sound very nice, quite fairy-tale like. And then the talking hand showed me where to find a treasure chest full of magical golden chips! And for the first time, my laundry was not full of grease!

You can also use Fels-Naphtha as a home remedy. I love home remedies and homemade household products (currently I'm using the old water-with-some-white-vinegar-in-a-spray-bottle  thing for cleaning surfaces and windows and stuff in the kitchen, and it is SO great). It's supposed to be really good (Fels Naphtha, that is) for treating poison ivy and red irritated skin.

Maybe I will get some of this in, as we are planning on doing some hiking soon and poison ivy may be lurking around, you never know. One thing I'm not planning on, though, is carrying my laundry (which is clean! really, it is!) around in a little picnic basket.

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