Mr Harper Twelvetrees' Manufactory,
Imperial Works, Bromley-byBow, London, where are manufactured ‘cheap
materials for the laundry', including penny packets of soap-powder-—one of
the announcements concerning the ‘abolition of the horrors of washing-day'
by the use of his detergents:— A Friendly Bit of Chit-Chat between Mrs
Scrubwell and Mrs Thrifty.
Scrubwell. Good morning, Neighbour Thrifty. How are you and your family? But how is this? I understood you had your ‘week's wash' today, and I expected to find you ‘up to the elbows' in suds; instead of which, here is a clean dry house, and the dinner-table all in apple-pie order, ready for your husband on his coming from work. Are you going to put off your wash till next week?
Thrifty. Why, neighbour, I have done my washing! I began at a little before 9 o'clock this morning, have washed every rag of clothes, and look, there they are on the lines in the garden, nearly dry.
Scrubwell. Well, I am surprised. But do you mean to say that you have washed all that lot of clothes this morning? Impossible, surely!
Thrifty. Impossible or not, it is quite true.
Scrubwell. You amaze me, neighbour. How have you done it, and who have you had to help you?
Thrifty. Oh, it is easy enough to get rid of the slap-dash, steam, and dribbling-slops on a washing-day, in good time. I can always make quick work of my washing by using ‘Harper Twelvetrees' Glycerine Soap-Powder', and it makes the clothes beautifully clean and white too, I assure you. I scarcely ever rub our clothes now, and you know how black my Jim's shirts get at the Foundry.
Scrubwell. But how do you get the clothes clean if you do not rub them well?
Thrifty. I mean that I don't often find it necessary to rub them after I take them out of the soaking water. Of course, I always soak the white clothes over night, and soap the collars and wristbands of shirts, and rub the part most soiled; but I don't stand rubbing the clothes to pieces, and rubbing the skin off my hands at the wash-tub all the next day, as some people do.
Scrubwell. Well, this is really wonderful! I had no idea that washing-day could be got over with so little trouble and labour. I think I shall try this wonderful powder.
Thrifty. If you give it a fair trial, you will find even far greater advantages than quickly getting the clothes out of the way. For instance, my husband, though a good, quiet, sober man (a teetotaller) used to be but sadly out of the way on washing days; for our house you know is small, and we have no wash-house. But now he knows very little about the wash, except the pleasure of having clean linen when he requires it.
Scrubwell. That's capital! I'll certainly try Harper Twelvetrees' ‘Glycerine' at once, for my husband has often been sadly out of temper on washing-days and has frequently gone to the public-house, because, he said, he had no comfort at home.
Thrifty. And just consider what you save, in time, trouble, and labour, by using this ‘Glycerine Soap-powder'. Just consider the difference between slop, slop, slopping about all day, and having your house cleaned up before dinner, or nearly so.
Scrubwell. Thank you, neighbour, for your friendly advice and information. I will try Harper Twelvetrees' ‘Glycerine Soap-Powder' for myself.
Thrifty. And I am sure you will continue to use it, or my name is not Jane Thrifty.
Scrubwell. Thank you, neighbour, Good morning. (Exit Scrubwell.) (Enter James Thrifty, smiling at his nice clean house, and well-spread dinner-table.)
source: Henry Mayhew, The Shops and Companies of London, etc. 1865