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Reckitt's Crown Blue - Laundry Bluing

Condition: Used

Reckitt's Crown Blue - Laundry Bluing

Before we had modern laundry detergents with optical brighteners, there was a mysterious little blue bag which was stirred around in the final rinse water on washday. This was laundry bluing or blue. A factory-produced block was the "modern" (mid-19th century onwards), commercial version of older recipes for whitening clothes, with names like stone blue, fig blue, or thumb blue. It disguised any hint of yellow and helped the household linen look whiter than white.

Until the mid-20th century Reckitt’s blue-bags were well-known in many countries, sold as penny cubes to be wrapped in flannel or muslin, or sold ready bagged. The product had various names over the years: Reckitt's Blue, Bag Blue, Paris Blue, Crown Blue, Laundry Blue, Dolly Bags. The main ingredients were synthetic ultramarine and baking soda, and the original "squares" weighed an ounce.

Reckitt’s had been in the blue and starch business in Hull even before they started importing French ultramarine in the 1850s to make the new blue rinse additive at their English HQ. They built up a major international brand, with various lesser rivals, notably Mrs. Stewart's liquid bluing in the US, and Dolly Blue in the UK. 

Reckitt's wanted people to know their blue was used in the royal laundries, and Victorian advertising in the UK carried a recommendation from the Prince of Wales' laundress.

These cubes became untraceable.

A square with a very beautiful blue ultramarine color, formerly competed by the very beautiful blue of Guimet, unfortunately untraceable it too today.

You buy a cube, and not the box of 48cubes...

2,00 €

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