Although we don’t import directly, all the oils we use (coconut, castor and sustainable palm) are commodities which are traded worldwide in US dollars. After the vote on 23rd June 2016, the pound dropped in value and nearly all our costs went up. We hoped, of course (like everybody), that this would be a temporary state of affairs, but 10 months later we are still in the same situation. So as our costs go up, so does the pressure on our finances. This year we will have to raise prices to our customers, who will not be happy, and maybe retail prices will go up. I doubt an increase in glycerine soap prices will make the headlines, but I am sure we are not the only SMCG manufacturer in this situation, so there will be supermarket price increases and the consumer will have to bear the brunt. I don’t remember if this was well articulated in the pre-vote arguments, but this will be one of the many consequences of the decision.
Look what we found!
This must be from the early fifties although there’s no date on it. When we
first produced PC49 the retail price was 1s/3d, which is what it says
here and that was in 1950 when you also had to use a ration coupon.
PC49, and our othr figures soaps were made with a special fragrance (and
soap) called Tah. We bought soap noodles (raw soap supplied in sacks) from Lever
Bros. (as they were then) and milled the soap before cutting into billets and
stamping in our special moulds
Quite a few of the figure soaps had glass eyes. I don’t think we’d get
away with that today! However, you can still get a safe gold paint, so if
we ever wanted to make PC49 again, (who had gold buttons and helmet crest), the
painting would be the least of our problems.
Pavel Danischewsky was the grandson of the original founders and
the man who brought the soap company to England after leaving Berlin in the
late 1930’s. During his life he witnessed many remarkable things. He was an
inveterate story teller. I was lucky enough to hear a few and I remembered one
the other day when the subject of ‘dacha’s came up. These were the summer
houses that initially wealthy and subsequently ordinary Russians would have to
escape from the city at the weekends in order to grow food and to breathe the
PAVEL SMOKES TURKISH
The story is that while the family were escaping from Russia
after losing their factory to the Bolsheviks, they spent some time in a dacha
outside Moscow, before they could travel on to Berlin. Papa Danischewsky
expressly forebade the young Pavel (who was a teenager at this time) from
straying too far from the hideout as they were trying to keep a low
profile. In this time of uncertainty, many dachas lay empty or abandoned
as their owners stayed away or had ‘disappeared’. Pavel, being adventurous, instantly
started exploring these properties and seeing what he could find. It appears he
found some quite useful stuff but how that made it’s way back into the
household without his father getting wind of it, I’m not sure. Anyway, one of
the items of contraband he uncovered was a stash of Turkish cigarettes, which
obviously he started smoking, and probably contributed to his lifetime habit.
He said he felt bad though, not because he was defying his father, but that he
couldn’t offer him any, as his dad liked to smoke and was reduced to making his
own homemade cigarettes using dried leaves and cones of newspaper.
Just to put this era into context, one of the events Pavel
witnessed was a rally with speeches by Leon Trotsky and VI Lenin.
To UCLAN and a talk about Droyt’s and international trade to
the International Business students. There is isn’t so much to say on the
subject these days. In the past we exported about 60% of turnover, but now the
figure is more like 25%, although indirectly that will be higher because we
make soap for other companies who then export.The lecture theatre was very well
equipped with a huge AV screen. There was a brief panic when my presentation,
saved on a USB stick came on screen with all the photos corrupted. I was
preparing to preface each slide with ‘What you should be seeing here..’ but
then remembered that the file was backed up on my phone. So, good commuter that
I am, I had in my bag the relevant USB connector cable and once the appropriate
handshaking happened, the uncorrupted file loaded up fine. Isn’t technology
It’s always pleasant to talk on and on about something one
knows a lot about to a captive audience. The students were very polite and
avoided any obvious displays of boredom. They also put me on the spot with some
very astute questions, while also managing to avoid focussing too much on the
failings of our marketing program. I’m looking forward to seeing their
So we have a load of old stuff in the factory. In fact let us
call it ‘Heritage’ equipment. Sounds much more valuable. A lot of this stuff
was built in the days when obsolescence was a dirty word and when
over-engineering was the same as engineering. Why make something extra light
and manoeuvrable when the simple addition of some extra steel would make
it extra strong and require only three or four extra people to move it?
One of these things is the large steel frame we use to pour the hot liquid soap
in once it’s made.
are VERY HEAVY as you can imagine, even more so when they’ve got a tonne of
soap inside. So the wheels are like ancient cast iron things which are at least
60 years old. And one broke! While the soap was being rolled into the cutting
area! The cutting area is a part of the manufacturing area where the soap is
cut up. It’s not officially called the cutting area, but I am just calling it
that to differentiate it from any other area of the factory and also to explain
why the soap was being moved. And also to add dramatic tension. So the wheel
breaks in two as if cleaved by a hefty blow from Mjolnir. Unlikely in
downtown Chorley on a Wednesday afternoon, I grant you, but these things
are really tough and would be really hard to break on purpose. Apparently
we’ve had trouble with that one before. About 25 years ago. So the whole
thing tips to the side and becomes an immovable object.
Well, we managed to save it. With the fork lift truck, a pallet
truck and some blocks of wood, we moved the whole thing a few metres to the
appropriate area for cutting (the cutting area), although with the wrong
orientation so cutting had to occur ninety degrees to normal, which is unheard
of and also which may have affected the feng shui. Can you test soap for that?
Anyway, the point to the story is that you think ‘Old cast iron wheel? How are
we going to get
another one of the those?’. Well as it turns out, you can buy them. On the net.
A quick google, some informed discussion (informed, that is, by the discussees,
rather than the discussor), and we are now the proud owner of two brand new
cast iron wheels, now improved with a polyurethane tyre for extra something.
They are being fitted as I type and I expect the next time that frame is used,
the whole batch of soap can be moved around with the push of a finger. That
might be a little unlikely, but the new wheels certainly look good. If they
last 60 years, then that will be even better.
Welcome to Droyt Products
Droyt Glycerine Soap have been making soaps in England since 1938, continuing a family-tradition that goes back to 1893. We use the best quality vegetable or mineral ingredients to make a soap which is aesthetically pleasing and very well regarded.
As well as cut soaps, we make liquid soaps and shampoo bars.
You can buy online and we ship worldwide. All orders over £45 qualify for free UK delivery.