Packer’s Tar Soap Advertisement

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, February 15, 1913:  Was so disappointed this morning. Thought perhaps Ma would go shopping this morning, but she didn’t.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

What did Grandma want to buy?  . . hmm. .. Teens “need”  trendy shampoos, cosmetics, and grooming supplies.

Maybe Grandma wanted beautiful hair and needed  Packer’s Tar Soap.


Source: Ladies Home Journal (May, 1913)

10 Responses

  1. I’d rather not receive a valentine than have to shampoo my hair with tar soap! I’ve become oh so fussy when I think about what women and teens had to cope with even 50 years ago, let alone 100 years ago. Can you imagine washing your hair everyday with ‘tar soap?’ Of course, I wonder what the norm was for anyone 100 years ago?

  2. And almost all women had really LONG hair back then, so it was extra work. Many of them in my family wore it in a bun on the back of the neck or braided it and wore it “wrapped” around their head. So much trouble!

  3. Back then, I believe some may have used lye soap to wash their hair once a week and subsitute brushing daily with one hundred strokes to condition and remove excess oil.

  4. On the other hand, after getting no valentines, maybe she just wanted to get out of the house and go shopping with her ma… :-)

  5. Hi Sheryl. I think it is interesting that they used the word Tar in their ads. Today, that would never make the ad script!!! Jane

  6. The health food stores today all carry Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap! Wonder if Grandma knew him. :)

  7. I went looking for a little more info about Pine Tar Soap. One site that sells it today said that Most women hate the smell and most men love it. Makes me think whether a women would use just because her beloved loved the smell :-).

  8. The Chemists (Drugstores), here in Australia, sell “Sebitar – Scalp Cleansing Treatment” containing Pine Tar to relieve itching, inflammation, sebhorric dermatitis etc… recommended to be applied to affected areas and used twice weekly. Smells terrible!!!… :-(

  9. Good Lord, I wonder what that smelled like? Nothing like cleaning up twice a month with some stinky soap LOL

  10. 10 cents for a sample of shampoo? Am I wrong, or was that really expensive?

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