29th October 2023

Lux for Your Woollens

“Sunlight Flakes” laundry soap was trademarked in 1886 by Lever Brothers, who went on to become the global juggernaut, Unilever. Lever Brothers was started in 1895 by William Heske Lever. A plant was built in Balmain, Sydney, in 1894 to extract oil from copra to be shipped back to England. This plant started making Sunlight soap in 1900, and Lux Flakes “for washing dainty fabrics” soon after. They would later merge with J. Kitchen & Sons, becoming Lever & Kitchen.

New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW), 9th July 1886, page 4589.

Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney), 9th August 1905 page 19. The box making room at the Sunlight Soap Works, Balmain.

The Australian Women’s Weekly, 21st August 1937 page 47.

In Australia, Levers were dominant in the market for soap, particularly laundry soap. They recommended girls hand-wash their ‘undies’ and stockings daily (gosh!) to defeat perspiration, and girdles every few days.

The knitting pamphlet below was printed for Lever Bros P/L, by then part of Lever & Kitchen. She is imaging a very clean and bryl-creemed soldier-husband opening up her hand-knits with delight. The image clearly shows the uniform buttons, ‘Australia’ badges, Rising Sun badge and unit colour patch.

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