THE ART OF MARSEILLE SOAP
a thriving industry
1150-1700 – A Promising beginning
1150: the production of soap began in Marseille thanks to the production secrets brought by the Crusades.
1500: The Marseille methods of production are perfected.
In 1650 the quality of Marseille production was recognized. Clientele developed and remained loyal.
In 1688 Colbert decided to define the rules of soap production by an Edit that will be the charter of soap factories until 1789.
1700-1830 – Revolutionary discoveries
In 1700 Marseille had the monopoly of production in France.
1791: N. LeBlanc discovered a procedure for taking out the soda using sea salt.
1808: Factories of artificial soda production open in Marseille.
1800-1820: Grand period of olive oil soap.
1823: M. Chevreul invents the method of separation of glycerin and fatty acids.
1830-1914 – Factories improve
1830: Serious shortage of olive oil. New raw materials must be found.
1850-1860: import of peanut, colza, palm and copra oils…
1861: E. Solvay discovers a less expensive and easier procedure for extracting the soda. Factories improve and production increases.
1900: Development of the notion of hygiene. Soap becomes an indispensable product. It is the grand period of advertising.
1914-1955 – A persistent competition
1914-1918: In spite of the crisis, sales must go on: slogans became patriotic.
1936: Foreign competition moves into Marseille. Henkel & Lever start the brand Persil.
1939-1945: new crisis for Marseille soap. Other brands appear: Dop, Palmolive, Cadum…washing powders take the place of Marseille soap.
1947: The use of washing machines develops.
1955-2008 – Return to natural
1955: Consumers adopt the practical detergents.
1960-1970: Competition invades the market.
1970: Ecologists denounce the effects of chemical detergents which pollute and can be aggressive on sensitive skin. Marseille soap is rediscovered: ecological, effective, natural, and today recognized by dermatologists for its dermatological virtues.