I am a bit busy at the moment, but I can’t let the recent death of Robert Taylor the inventor of liquid soap go by unmentioned. Robert Taylor had a number of roles in the cosmetic industry including starting his own company. The story as it goes around is that he had the idea of creating a liquid version of soap, and found a way of putting it in a bottle. Realising how easy it would be for people to copy his innovation he placed massive orders for the pumps with the two biggest suppliers. This meant that when his product hit the shelves potential rivals couldn’t exploit his idea until his brand had established itself. This was all back in 1980.
That at any rate is how I heard it. There are a few details that are a bit hard to reconcile with it. For a start I am sure that the liquid soap formulation I still have in an old notebook was copied from a book that was published in 1978. And although globalisation wasn’t as advanced in 1980 as it is now, it would still have been a fairly straight forward matter to get some pumps from Europe even in those days.
But it is a good story, and Robert Taylor was no doubt a very successful businessman. It may not have panned out quite the way it is talked about, but no doubt he did do a lot to popularise a product format that has been very successful ever since. Well done Robert.