Today’s post was written by Laney Stevenson, Archives Technician at the National Archives at College Park.
In honor of Women’s History Month, I’ve gathered together some registered patent labels for products created for and marketed to women. All of the labels are from Record Group 241, Records of the Patent and Trademark Office, Case Files for Registered Product Labels, 1874-1940 (NAID 563415). These patent labels have been digitized and will soon be available in the National Archives Catalog
Happy Housewife – A Cleansing Compound – A do-it-all product that reduces household toil and drudgery, leaving you filled with joy! Is it at all surprising this product was invented and named by a man?
Golden Rule Washing Powder – “I wish there was some process to lighten this work; it takes me five hours to do this washing and I have only four in the family.” All this while wearing a corset! The reality of a woman’s life in 1882 is hard to comprehend.
Acqua Lina Washing Liquid & Ol’ Smoothy Wax Pad – After hand washing and line drying the family’s clothing, use “Ol’ Smoothy” while ironing to give fabrics that perfect touch.
Porcela, a Cleanser for Enamel and Porcelain Ware – Who wouldn’t want to clean this fantastic modern bathroom?
SOS Scouring Pads – With a product for every cleaning need, choose S.O.S scouring pads to “keep aluminum pots and pans just like new!”
The pre-soaped steel wool pad was invented in 1917 by Irwin Cox, a Wear-Ever Aluminum cooking utensil salesman, as a way for customers to keep their pots and pans clean and bright. His wife coined the name S.O.S for “Save Our Saucepans.” The product became so popular a new business was born and S.O.S pads continue to be widely used today.
All Purpose Patty Mold – After all that washing and cleaning, don’t forget about cooking three meals a day. While Nancy Drew may carry a magnifying glass, I wield a mold for perfectly shaped patties.
Deauville Head-Band – In the unlikely event of any leisure time, be sure to use a headband to keep your coiffure in place while participating in ladylike sports.
Girlish Figure Reducing Chewing Gum – If housework and sports aren’t enough to maintain your girlish figure, “chew those extra pounds away” with a reducing gum. As you might imagine, this product was named and patented by a man.
Heel Protectors – To relieve your wardrobe worries while you navigate the city streets.
Sun-O-Grams – Monogram your own skin and give a not so subtle hint to the man who’s caught your eye.