Landmark Designation and Acknowledgments
The American Chemical Society designated the development of Tide® — the first heavy-duty synthetic detergent — as a National Historic Chemical Landmark in a ceremony in Cincinnati, Ohio, on October 25, 2006. The plaque commemorating the event reads:
In 1933 Procter & Gamble introduced Dreft, a synthetic detergent made from an alkyl sulfate. Dreft cleaned clothes in hard water without depositing a residue of soap scum, a problem common to traditional soaps. But it was not strong enough to clean heavily soiled clothes. To solve this problem, P&G chemists, working at the Ivorydale Technical Center, added a "builder," sodium tripolyphosphate, to the surfactant (cleaning agent) and determined that an effective formula contained three parts builder to one part detergent. These breakthroughs led in 1946 to the debut of Tide, the first heavy-duty synthetic detergent. The simultaneous introduction of automatic washing machines saved the consumer time and effort.
Written by Judah Ginsberg
Photo Credits: Procter & Gamble Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio.
The author is indebted to the assistance of Edward Rider of P&G's corporate archives for assistance in researching the development of Tide. In addition, Mr. Rider read drafts of this brochure as did Michael Showell of Procter & Gamble. Thanks also to D.H. Michael Bowen, Janan Hayes, and Kathryn Steen of the National Historic Chemical Landmarks Program Committee for reading a draft and making invaluable suggestions. Needless to say, any remaining errors are the author's alone.
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