Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Joni -- Farrol Joan Walrath
Image result for DreneAnd yes, shampoo did come in glass bottles. Mother told me a story about sending young Joni (my half-sister) to the drugstore to buy a bottle of “Drene” shampoo (here). “Don’t drop it,” Mother warned as Joni left on her appointed errand. On the way home, she dropped it, and of course, the bottle broke. So, Mother gave Joni the money for another bottle and sent her back to the store. “Don’t drop it,” she admonished again. Yes, you guessed it. She dropped that bottle, too. Once again Mother gave Joni the money for yet another bottle of shampoo. This time she said, “Joni, hang onto it!” And this time Joni made it home with the shampoo. 
Kathy c. 1951
As an aside, Mother was particular about the kind of shampoo we used. She didn’t like White Rain, Prell – not even “beautiful hair Breck." “I don’t like how this shampoo leaves your hair,” she would say. Breck's full-page, highly visible advertising campaign  appealed to me, though. I rather wanted to be a Breck girl, but Mother was unyielding. I remember using a shampoo that came in a jar, its texture like that of Noxzema. (The name escapes me.) And then, of course, Noxzema came in that beautiful blue jar. 
Kathy, early 1950s
The downside to glass, as we all know, is that it's breakable. Drop it, and it's a miracle if it doesn’t break. And when it breaks, the product as well as the surrounding area is contaminated by pieces of glass in varying sizes, some tiny shards. You must not try to salvage your product and the area must be cleaned with care to avoid injury. I think this is a significant drawback.

I watch the old What’s My Line? series on YouTube, which led me to research one of their first sponsors, Jules Montenier, who in 1947 invented plastic packaging for his antiperspirant, Stopette, thus creating an explosive demand for plastic packaging in the cosmetic industry, according to Wikipedia (here).

[It took me a long time to find “Drene” online. I was spelling it incorrectly. And did you know that Breck is now owned by Dollar Tree (here)? Now I wonder about the value of the product. Maybe Mother was right. I think I'll check it out.] KW


Chris said...

I remember the glass bottles for shampoo. We used both Breck and Prell. And I can commiserate with Joni. I was sent to the "corner store" to pick up a bottle of Heinz cocktail sauce and dropped the first and second. Like Joni, I finally made it home with bottle number three.

Kathy said...

I'm smiling -- and I might even giggle -- even though I know the situation really wasn't funny. But how funny that you and Joni would have similar experiences with your products packaged in glass. And then I wondered to myself if it's easier to carry a plastic sack than a paper one.

Mother used the dropped bottle experience to discuss her premise that it's better to state a command positively rather than negatively -- "Hang onto it" as opposed to "Don't drop it."