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.








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.”


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 thoughts on “Colgate’s Ribbon Dental Cream Advertisement

    1. That also seemed strange to me. It made me wonder if people worried about different things that might spread germs back then than what we worry about today.

  1. 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.

    1. 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).

  2. 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!

    1. 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. 🙂

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