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    A time when you got a prize in your washing powder

    On first glance, the fronts of the small trade cards were not very impressive. They held lithographic color images of children tending cows, riding horses, riverboating and fishing.

    “Kazine Card, Over” was printed on the front. So I turned it over and started reading the text, which was a lot more interesting than the pictures.

    The C.W. Gray wholesale and retail grocer in Rochester, NY, was urging its customers to buy Kazine washing powder, because “in every package you will find a present of some useful article, remember your moneys worth in Kazine Washing Powder, and a present free besides.”

    The front of one of the Kazine advertising trade cards.

    The front of one of the Kazine advertising trade cards.

    A prize in a box of washing powder? Never heard of it. I do recall cheap trinkets in cereal boxes but not a prize in washing powder. I could find little about Kazine or C.W. Gray company, except that the grocer was around during the latter part of the 19th century. I suspect that these cards were from that period. They were for sale recently at auction.

    I was curious about what type of premium was placed in Kazine and other such products back then, but could not find the answer. What I did find were people’s fond memories of towels, dinnerware and glassware in laundry detergents during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

    Several makers of laundry products put those premiums in their products to boost sales, which was a boon for both them and customers who could put together a full set of towels, dinnerware and glassware over a period of time. For some, this was the fancy stuff you brought out for company (one writer noted that their usual glasses were fruit jars).

    The back of the trade card for Kazine washing powder.

    The back of the advertising trade card for Kazine washing powder shows the advertising company.

    Proctor and Gamble got it started in the 1950s by putting Golden Wheat dishes in its Duz washing powder. It used commercials to hawk its premiums, which also included glassware and English rose towels.

    Made by the Homer Laughlin China Co., the dishes were trimmed in gold and featured five shafts of golden wheat. The company would put a new piece inside boxes each month. Homer Laughlin made the dishes from 1949 to 1966.

    In its Bonus detergent, at least in the 1970s, Proctor and Gamble inserted not only towels but also instructions for using them to make craft projects – as noted in this commercial.

    Four trade cards for Kazine detergent.

    Four advertising trade cards for Kazine detergent at the auction.

    Breeze detergent, made by Lever Brothers, also offered towels and sold the idea in commercials. Dolly Parton was in one of those commercials when she appeared alongside Porter Wagoner on his show.

    “I remember seeing you on ‘The Porter Wagoner Show,’ pulling out giant towels from boxes of Breeze detergent,” a news reporter mentioned in an interview with her in 2011. “It was actually a bath towel — we used to have to do our own commercials on those shows, and they were so corny,” said Parton. “But I still have some of those towels that I’ve kept through the years. Those were the days — ‘And you can only get them in boxes of Breeze!’ (This is what she said in the commercial.) And honestly, with that towel inside, there probably wasn’t more than half a box of Breeze. But people didn’t care because they were getting something free.”

    Another of Lever’s products, Silver Dust washing powder, packed silver leaf glasses made by the Libbey Glass company.

    Libbey silver leaf glasses in Silver Dust (photo from soap boxes by Kate Henderson, pinterest); Golden Wheat dinnerware in Duz detergent (photo from For the Home by txmimosa, pinterest), and towels in Bonus detergent (from

    Libbey silver-leaf glasses in Silver Dust washing powder (photo from Soap Boxes by Kate Henderson, pinterest); Golden Wheat dinnerware in Duz detergent (photo from For the Home by txmimosa, pinterest), and towels in Bonus detergent (from

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