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May 4, 2021

Is Marriage a Failure? Not If You Use Sapolio!

Vintage advertising cards for Sapolio soap from the 19th century.

I asked a maid if she would wed, and in my home her brightness shed she bent her head and murmured low “if I can have Sapolio”.

A man with his money may have ease through life but without Sapolio there’s no ease for his life.

Enoch Morgan’s Sons Co. Sapolio soap products were, in their heyday, one of the most widely advertised products in the world. Founded in New York in 1869, Sapolio soon grew to be a household name through clever ad placement and imaginative, widely recognizable design tactics.

Sapolio noted for its advertising, led by Artemas Ward from 1883–1908. Bret Harte wrote jingles for the brand, and the sales force also included King Camp Gillette. Time magazine described Sapolio as “probably the world’s best-advertised product” in its heyday.

After decades of maintaining some of the best known advertising in the U.S., Sapolio’s owners decided that their position was sufficiently insurmountable as to let them discontinue most advertising. Despite the brand’s overwhelming market position, it was overtaken by competitors within a few years and disappeared from the market before World War II.

(Images via Boston Public Library)


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