"The Purest and Best."
perfect expression for what I felt the magical moment I first
glimpsed this magnificent relic of the late-nineteenth century-
an azure monument to a pioneering advertising and global marketing
Blue- a laundry whitener- was one of the first widely marketed
laundry products manufactured by Reckitt & Sons, which was established
in 1840 in Hull, England by a Quaker named Isaac Reckitt.
laundry starch company began producing laundry blue in
1852 by using a combination of a synthetic ultramarine and sodium
bicarbonate. The advent of using this synthetic made the product
affordable to the masses since the active ingredient was previously
made by grinding the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli.
naturally occurring blue pigment found in lapis was first discovered
to be sodium aluminosulfosilicate in 1824 by the French
chemist, Jean-Baptiste Guimet. Guimet realized he could synthesize
ultramarine by combining china clay, soda ash, and trace sulfur.
the synthetic was imported from France or Germany, but it was
later manufactured in Hull by Reckitt's sons after Isaac's death
in 1862. After its introduction to the nascent global market,
Reckitt's Blue soon outsold their original laundry starch and
stove blacking products.
blacking was produced from lead and used as a hearth polish. Reckitt
& Sons also produced other liquid metal polishes (Brasso) and
boot polishes. Reckitt's Blue is no longer manufactured in the