Simply Great Soap

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Friday, January 12, 2007

simply soap

FIG SOFT SOAP is a combination of oils, principally olive oil of the commonest kind, with potash.

NAPLES SOFT SOAP is a fish oil (mixed with Lucca oil) and potash, colored brown for the London shavers, retaining, when pure, its unsophisticated "fishy" odor.

The above soaps constitute the real body or base of all the fancy scented soaps as made by the perfumers, which are mixed and remelted according to the following formula:

The remelting process is exceedingly simple. The bar soap is first cut up into thin slabs, by pressing them against a wire fixed upon the working bench. This cutting wire (piano wire is the kind) is made taut upon the bench, by being attached to two screws.

These screws regulate the height of the wire from the bench, and hence the thickness of the slabs from the bars. The soap is cut up into thin slabs, because it would be next to impossible to melt a bar whole, on account of soap being one of the worst conductors of heat.

The melting pan is an iron vessel, of various sizes, capable of holding from 28 lbs. to 3 cwt., heated by a steam jacket, or by a water-bath. The soap is put into the pan by degrees, or what is in the vernacular called "'rounds," that is, the thin slabs are placed perpendicularly all round the side of the pan; a few ounces of water are at the same time introduced, the steam of which assists the melting.

The pan being covered up, in about half an hour the soap will have "run down." Another round is then introduced, and so continued every half hour until the whole "melting" is finished. The more water a soap contains, the easier is it melted; hence a round of marine soap, or of new yellow soap, will run down in half the time that it requires for old soap.

When different soaps are being remelted to form one kind when finished, the various sorts are to be inserted into the pan in alternate rounds, but each round must consist only of one kind, to insure uniformity of condition.

As the soap melts, in order to mix it, and to break up lumps, etc., it is from time to time "crutched." The " crutch" is an instrument or tool for stirring up the soap; its name is indicative of its form, a long handle with a short cross-an inverted T, curved to fit the curve of the pan.

When the soaps are all melted it is then colored, if so required, and then the perfume is added the whole being thoroughly incorporated with the crutch.

The soap is then turned into the "frame." The frame is a box made in sections, in order that it can be taken to pieces, so that the soap can be cut up when cold; the sections or "lifts" are frequently made of the width of the intended bar of soap.


Two or three days after the soap has been in the frame, it is cool enough to cut into slabs of the size of the lifts or sections of the frame; these slabs are set -up edgeways to cool for a day or two more; it is then barred by means of a wire.


The lifts of the frame regulate the widths of the bars; the gauge regulates their breadth. The density of the soap being pretty well known, the gauges are made so that the soap-cutter can cut up the bars either into fours, sixes, or eights; that is, either into squares of four, six, or eight to the pound weight.

Latterly, various mechanical arrangements have been introduced for soap cutting, which in very large establishments, such as those at Marseilles in France, are great economisers of labor; but in England the "wire" is still used.


For making tablet shapes the soap is first cut into 16 squares, and is then put into a mould, and finally under a press-a modification of an ordinary die or coin press.

Balls are cut by hand, with the aid of a little tool called a "scoop," made of brass or ivory, being, in fact, a ring-shaped knife.

Balls are also made in the press with a mould of appropriate form. The press and appropriate moulds also obtain the grotesque form and fruit shape.



The fruit shaped soaps, after leaving the mould, are dipped into melted wax, and are then colored according to artificial fruit-makers' rules.

The "variegated" colored soaps are produced by adding the various colors, such as smalt and vermilion, previously mixed with water, to the soap in a melted state; these colors are but slightly crutched in, hence the streaky appearance or party color of the soap; this kind is also termed " marbled" soap.

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