PHOTO: SVENOLOF JONN        

THE SILK SOAP


SWEDENS FIRST LUXURY SOAP WAS MANUFACTURED IN MARIEFRED 1820-1825.
 

In between the French Revolution (1789) and the July Revolution (1830), in the days of the Emperor Napoleon, a style evolved which came to be known as Empire. Human rights, the emancipation of women, education, research and industrialisation were important movements of the age.
 

Gripholms Fabrik AB, located in the small town of Mariefred, opposite Gripsholm Castle, was Sweden’s biggest chemical-manufacturing company. Its Managing Director, Carl Palmstedt, was later to develop the Chalmers University of Technology, and its product development manager, Jöns Jacob Berzelius, was a world-famous chemist and Sweden’s most famous scientist next to Linnaeus.
 

For a brief but happy period, this factory was a centre of development as regards both products and workers’ conditions. The Silk Soap was its most spectacular product.

 

Hygiene was in short supply and an exquisite designer soap an unheard-of concept in Sweden at the time. The Silk Soap became a small but lustrous vehicle of the new ideas. Its rose relief, its concave shape and its roseate fragrance make it a typical design product of the Empire period.

 

The shape of The Silk Soap was fashioned by the ornamental sculptor A M Fahlcrantz. Samuel Andersson produced the copper engraving for the hand-coloured wrappings. “Ethereal oils from Paris” provided the fragrance and the raw materials, then as now, were of the highest quality. Gripsholms Fabrik spared no pains in raising the soap to “perchance an uncommon degree of perfection”.

 

The Swedish National Museum of Science and Technology contributed casts of original moulds, the Swedish National Library provided an original image for the cover and the Victoria soap factory gave advise concerning fragrance and quality.

 

The new soap is entirely free of allergens and very gentle on all types of skin.

 

Manufactured for Gripsholms Fabrik AB at the Victoria Soap Factory, Sweden.

 

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