Thursday, September 22, 2011

modern marvels

The first margarine I every say was in a see thro' bag and was as white as Crisco. In those days "margarine" just didn't exist except as a curiosity, but it was starting to be around. Perhaps your grandmother will tell you about the days when butter was selling at $1.00 per pound and margarine started to be sold -- the margarine was about $0.20 per pound. The dairy farmers in those days had lots of political clout and they made "margarine" an illegal substance for many years. Gradually, as they lost those fights, state by state, they managed to get the laws passed that said, in effect, "margarine cannot be colored yellow -- that would be a fraudulent attempt to fool people into thinking it was butter."

So, margarine was sold as a solid white lump, rather ugly as I recall. But, packaged along with that lump of white stuff was a little yellow pill -- food color. You would get the margarine into a bowl, let if soften a bit (you know that margarine will never "melt" as honest butter does), and mix in the yellow powder food color. The kids in many families had the job of making the white ugly margarine look yellow, like butter.

The first detergent I ever saw was called dreft, I remember it was in a green box and the flakes were pink before that day mother used a bar soap with the letters P G E on the bar. My grandmother Powell never used anything for soap except her home made lye soap. When she died in the 1970's she was still using lye soap she made.
In the 1920s, Americans used soap flakes to clean their laundry. The flakes performed poorly in hard water, leaving a ring in the washing machine, dulling colors, and turning whites gray. Procter & Gamble began an ambitious mission to change the way Americans washed their clothes. Researchers discovered two-part molecules which they called synthetic surfactants. Each part of the "miracle molecules" executed a specific function--one pulled grease and dirt from the clothes, while the other suspended dirt until it could be rinsed away. In 1933, this discovery was introduced in a detergent called "Dreft," but it could only handle lightly soiled jobs. The next goal was to create a detergent that could clean heavily soiled clothes. That detergent was Tide®. My father induced these two products, soap flakes and margarine into our home in 1945 after we moved onto the place on dry creek.along with the soap flakes and margarine daddy brought home a jar of peanut butter, it was real peanut butter and had to be stirred before use because the oil separated from the solid after it set for a while.
It is hard to imagine that I was 8 years old before I saw these marvels of invention.


Donna said...

I remember the white margarine from when I was a kid in Iowa.

Sister--Three said...

I love to hear these interesting to know these things.