Godrej Archives




Godrej Soaps Ltd

Reference: MS06-01-94-87 to 93
Covering Dates: 1926-1965
Extent & Medium: 7 Files (101 documents; 377 pages)

It wasn't until the twentieth century that India saw the development of the soap industry in modern lines. In the year 1906, the Indian National Congress, at the instigation of Lokmanya Tilak, Ardeshir Godrej and others, administered the swadeshi vow in respect of soap. In 1916, the governments of Mysore and Madras started independent soap factories and two years later, in 1918, Ardeshir came out with a washing soap bar.


Ardeshir went on to experiment with the idea of making toilet soaps from vegetable oils instead of animal fats as was the accepted practice in most countries since the beginning of soap manufacture. In 1920, he produced the first toilet soap to be made purely from vegetable oils and sold commercially. The first vegetable-oil soap marketed by Ardeshir after many years of research was named 'No. 2'. No. 1 was introduced in the year 1922. Then there was no looking back. Ardeshir who now wanted to focus on expanding the soap business left manufacturing of locks and safes to his brother Pirojsha.


In 1926 came a soap named 'Turkish Bath'. Other soaps were later introduced from time to time, the most important of which was 'Vatni'. Shaving soaps were introduced in 1932 but soap petals and washing-soap grains made their appearance only around 1950.


After the death of Ardeshir Godrej in the year 1936, Pirojsha took over the operations of Godrej Soaps Ltd. Among the documents of this era can be found Profit & Loss statements from 1935/36 to 1964, Sales Figures of Godrej toilet soaps for three years in the late 1930s, introduction of Vatni soaps, Vatni meaning 'of the motherland' and List of competitors rates for toilet soaps in1939, handwritten pay roll of 1939 etc.


Burjor Godrej, son of Pirojsha, after getting doctorate at the Technical University Berlin, got involved with the soap business. Emphasis was laid on progressively improving qualities at decreasing costs. One of his greatest achievements was the introduction in India of toiletries containing G-11 or Hexachlorophene. He obtained a license for the exclusive use of G-11 in India for manufacturing soaps and other toilet preparations. And the result was: introduction of Cinthol in 1952. In the year 1965, factory was shifted to Vikhroli. The collection covers the period up to 1965.


Later a wide range of products was added to the portfolio of Godrej Soaps Ltd. as the company was called until March 31, 2001. Thereafter, Godrej Soaps became Godrej Industries Limited.


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