Historical information

Velvet Soap was a widely used laundry bar soap launched in 1906, produced by J. Kitchen & Sons, owned by John Ambrose Kitchen (1835 - 1922). Kitchen was born in Britain and emigrated to Victoria in 1854. After a less than successful period at the Caledonian and Blackwood diggings, Kitchen returned to Melbourne and joined his father and brothers in establishing a tallow candle making works. Through merger and expansion the company became the pre-eminent manufacturer of soap and candles in the eastern colonies in the mid to late 19th century. Kitchen also speculated in a number of enterprises but suffered financial setbacks as a result of the 1890s bank crashes. Despite this, the company continued to grow in the early twentieth century with the introduction of products such as Velvet Soap and Solvol. The company merged with the British company Lever Bros in 1914 who eventually took full control of the company in 1924, becoming Lever and Kitchen. Advertising for Velvet Soap in Australia was extensive and pervasive. All manner of surfaces were used to advertise the product such as building walls, roofs, and most commonly, enamelled sheet metal signs which were fastened to any available surface internally and externally. The most common form of sign that Velvet Soap used was the words 'PURE VELVET SOAP' in white lettering within a vivid dark blue, elongated Maltese cross. On the enamelled metal signs the Maltese cross sat on a red background with a yellow border. While this was the dominant form for Velvet Soap signs, there were variations from the standard. The Velvet Soap sign is of historical significance as a representative of painted signs that were once a common form of advertising during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. - : http://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/14447#sthash.Vb6KAUWl.dpuf


Historic - Advertising Sign - Velvet Soap

Physical description

Tin sign with white, yellow, red and blue enamel.

Inscriptions & markings

Pure velvet soap.