Wednesday, 7 April 2010
Web Page 826
Top Picture: The icon of the 50’s the Izal Toilet Roll
Bottom Picture: Time for tea in the 1950’s kitchen.
A Delicate Subject
Do you, like me, remember those terrible Medicated Izal toilet rolls? These rolls are now a part of history and I suppose they are long enough ago for us to get nostalgic about them rather than hating them as much as we did at the time. To us kids these rolls were really terrible things as were their competitors the non-Medicated Bronco toilet roll. For those readers who are too young to know what I am talking about and therefore fortunate enough not to have experienced the Izal toilet roll here is a brief description. It was a sort of shiny white thing which had the consistency of wrapping paper and smelt strongly of tar. One side of the sheets were glossy and the other rough. It was always a major decision what side to use, as what ever side you used it still didn’t really do its job properly. Actually there is no delicate way of putting this, using Izal tended to spread rather than clean.
But Izal toilet paper and its accompanying other disinfectant products had a long history. From the middle of the 19th century, when it was first produced, the Izal disinfectant experience was claimed to be a miracle cure for almost everything including tuberculosis, cholera, diphtheria and typhus.
The decline of the ‘outside lavvy’ or ‘the one out the back’ and the growth indoor plumbing and the introduction of the inside toilet meant that many more people decided to buy Izal toilet rolls and its cheaper, non-medicated competing brands, than to continue to use the more traditional forms of torn up newspapers hung on a string from a nail hammered into the toilet door; or if you were lucky your Mum managed to scrounge some tissue orange wrappers from the green grocer.
A really clever marketing campaign instigated by Izal saw all municipal and public buildings, including schools, with free roll rolls providing that they placed a bulk order of some of the accompanying disinfectant made by the same company (now I know why when I was a kid I saw Izal everywhere!). I can remember the Izal toilet roll attached to the walls of the school toilets, especially the outside ones when I was in Junior and Infant school in Drayton. For us a fortunate bye product of these outside toilets was that during the very cold winter weather in February and March they froze and we had to be sent home from school and as my birthday was in February there was a good chance that I might not be at school on my birthday!!!
But by the Sixties a more sophisticated clientele had started to demand a toilet roll that wouldn’t do untold damage and and cause embarrassing soreness to those delicate parts of our bodies and by the Eighties the Izal toilet roll was no more. The surprising thing was that it took that long to die.
But the cession of Izal actually did bring with it another problem. These stiff, rough rolls were replaced by the first generation of toilet tissue and using these rolls was a totally different ball game to the good old Izal, one had to take a little more care as they were a bit delicate to the touch.
So what do we know of the production of Izal? The Izal factory was situated in Chapeltown a suburb of Sheffield. Here the production line was set up and the rolls cut made and packed. The company was a major employer in the area but the workers always refered to themselves as workers in the paper factory not as workers on the toilet roll production line!
The company always claimed that their busiest time was just before Christmas. Why the lead up to Christmas should encourage an increase in the demand for toilet rolls is really beyond me. Believe it or not quality control did exist in this factory where the rolls were packed 72 rolls in a box ready for dispatch and here the quality control supervisor would select rolls at random, undo them and count the number of squares to make sure that the public wasn’t being shortchanged! One other fact that I found incredible was that if the tops of the rolls weren’t flat there was an operative especially employed to sandpaper them flat. Maybe it was the residue of the sanding that made the paper so rough on the skin!!!
Even the government hard tissue Izal toilet paper was specially manufactured and each sheet stamped with the words ‘Government Issue’. This was the standard issue for many years. In the late 1970s, however, came the revolution soft toilet paper!
So that is the story of Izal but what I do tend to wonder is with the demise of Izal and Bronco what do the school children of today use as tracing paper?
Take Care and keep in touch
When we were driving past the Johnsons factory my brother saw the logo on the wall. He must have been about six at the time and he said quite excitedly "that’s where babies are made". He was sixty last year and is the father of two daughters so I hope he now knows that babies are not made there,
News and Views:
Try cutting and pasting this link and take a look at this traction engine made by Ken Wells that has been put on You Tube
The text reads:- This is a Traction Engine that was built as a school metalwork project following the instructions laid out in the book Step by Step Metalwork 3 by Kenneth Wells. Mr Wells was the metalwork teacher at Manor Court School.
On this day 7th April 1960-1965
On 07/04/1960 the number one single was My Old Man's a Dustman - Lonnie Donegan and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was The Budget (All Channels) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 07/04/1961 the number one single was Wooden Heart - Elvis Presley and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was No Hiding Place (AR) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 07/04/1962 the number one single was Wonderful Land - The Shadows and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 07/04/1963 the number one single was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows and the number one album was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows. The top rated TV show was The Budget (All Channels) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 07/04/1964 the number one single was Can't Buy Me Love - The Beatles and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Labour Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Grand National jockey faces life in wheelchair.
On 07/04/1965 the number one single was The Last Time - Rolling Stones and the number one album was Rolling Stones Number 2 - The Rolling Stones. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.