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Fighting Turn of the Century BO

Posted on September 25, 2014 by in The OFI Blog

These are the ingredients for a 1903 deodorant recipe!

These are the ingredients for a deodorant recipe from 1903!

Caitlin Kearney an intern at the National Museum of American History (NMAH) recently did an experiment with a recipe for deodorant from 1903!  This is an experiment that will be apart something larger called Object Project.  Object Project is about certain commodities that we use everyday and at one time changed history.  Kearney decided to take a closer look at deodorant, which once was a very big deal in the country.

Perfumes have been used for centuries, all the way back to the ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians.  However early on in American history, many people did not notice body odor or perspiration.  Once people started to move into more crowded cities and factory jobs then they started to take more notice of personal hygiene.  Since people started to work factory jobs, they were in close quarters and a worker could smell the body odor of the coworker next to them.  Kearney found a recipe for homemade deodorant which includes such things as: lemon juice, cornstarch, alcohol, powdered orris, essence of lavender, and glycerin.

Want to find out what happens next? Just click here for more!