Some may question our fascination with all the old stuff in Juergen’s Store at Cypress Top Historic Park. After all, that small display case on the end of the counter is worn and not pretty. Yet it tells a story about the store, entrepreneurship, an American business success story and ultimately, America’s story. The display case is oak and glass. It is about 16 inches square and about two feet tall. In the bottom center is a label that reads: Peet Bros. Mfg. Co. Soap Makers * Perfumers Kansas City U.S.A. The chalk figure on top was typical of French perfume cabinets that this one emulated. Unfortunately, we do not know if the figure actually came with the display or was just a carnival prize, nor do we know exactly when this cabinet was produced and distributed.
The two Peet Brothers were English immigrants who were in their teens when they immigrated with their father. After working in Cleveland for several years, they moved to Kansas City and started a soap manufacturing business in 1872. They were very successful with a new white laundry soap. They used an interesting marketing ploy to introduce the product. At that time, soap was made of animal fat and resin and was brown or yellow. In 1897, they came up with the idea to make white soap with no animal fats but only vegetable oils, mostly cotton seed oil and coconut oil. To introduce the soap without advertising, they placed one bar of Crystal White in each box of one hundred bars of yellow soap. Few complaints were received, so they started increasing the number of Crystal White bars in each box. Eventually the demand for the white soap was sufficient for them to market it under its own name. Crystal White soap was, in a large measure, responsible for the success of Peet Brothers. About this time, another soap maker was making inroads in the market with a new soap he had created, made of palm and olive oil. His product was so successful he changed his company name from Johnson Soap Company to Palmolive. Little wonder that these innovative soap makers merged in 1927 to become Palmolive-Peet Company. In 1928, Colgate merged with Palmolive-Peet to become Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Company and in 1953, the Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Company name was simplified to Colgate-Palmolive, a brand name we are all familiar with today.
If you would like to learn more about American, Texas or Cypress history, visit Commissioner Steve Radack’s Cypress Top Historic Park at 26026 Hempstead Highway, open daily from dawn to 7 p.m. The museum buildings are open on Tuesdays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. To arrange a special tour, contact the park at 281-357-5324 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The park is home to the Cypress Historical Society, housed in the California Poppy yellow train depot in the back of the park and open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and the third Saturday of the month from noon to 3 p.m. The society has a treasure trove of genealogy information and historical information for the greater Cypress area. Contact them at email@example.com or 281-758-0083.
Historical facts courtesy of Cypress Top Historic Park Collection & Cypress Historical Society: Preserving Cypress History for Posterity.
Antiques All Have A Story