Colgate’s Ribbon Dental Cream Advertisement

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

Friday, September 12, 1913:  I’ve forgotten for today.

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

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’ll share a hundred-year-old ad for Colgate’s Ribbon Dental Cream that was in the March, 1913 issue of Ladies Home Journal.

1913 Colgate adCare of the teeth twice-a-day and every day is a good habit easily formed with Colgate’s.

COLGATE’S RIBBON DENTAL CREAM

DELICIOUS

ANTISEPTIC

ECONOMICAL

COMES OUT A RIBBON

LIES FLAT ON THE BRUSH

CANNOT ROLL OFF THE BRUSH

Its flavor is delicious—making its use a treat and insuring regularity.

Its antiseptic action is thorough—checking the germs which cause decay.

Its cleansing is safe—removing deposits and leaving the mouth non-acid without over-medication.

Every member of your household—man, woman and child—should have an individual tube.

Single tubes and boxes of half dozen at our dealer’s—or send us 2 cents for a trial tube and our booklet “Oral Hygiene.”

COLGATE & CO.

Dept. H

199 Fulton St., New York

Maker of Cashmere Bouquet Soap—luxurious, lasting, refined.

According to the Colgate website:

Colgate introduced its toothpaste in a tube similar to modern-day toothpaste tubes in the 1890s.

Until after 1945, toothpastes contained soap. After that time, soap was replaced by other ingredients to make the paste into a smooth paste or emulsion—such as sodium lauryl sulphate, a common ingredient in present-day toothpaste.

21 Responses

  1. So one really could wash one’s mouth out with soap, thanks to Colgate!

  2. Fascinating! And now I know I can use soap if I forget to pack the toothpaste. Yuk. :)

  3. I miss those old screw caps that used to be on toothpaste tubes.

  4. Individual tubes for family members? Wow, that is something new to me.

  5. Marketing is fascinating. My question is, did they determine beforehand that “rolling off the toothbrush” was a problem people wanted handled by their next tube [oops - ribbon] of toothpaste? Or did they throw that in there hoping to sensationalize a problem people didn’t even realize they had? Gotta love it.

  6. I didn’t think toothbrushes were widely used until WWII era.

    • When I was researching this post, I read something about soldiers being required to brush their teeth–and that they continued to do it when they came home (and they encouraged their family members to brush).

  7. I had my mouth washed out with soap a few times as a kid and didn’t like it one bit. Thanks for the bit of history and knowledge on Colgate!

  8. I think modern toothpaste should come out in a ribbon. That’s a nice touch.

    • You’d think someone would “invent” a new toothpaste that comes out as a ribbon as a marketing ploy to differentiate it from other toothpastes. :)

  9. i’m still using colgate, haha

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