A very strange product ad emerges from the past. It could only come from the home of the brave, writes Ralph Tapping

With all the political turmoil going on in Washington at the present time, one is no longer surprised at what eminates from the USA. We recently discovered a particularly bizarre item hidden in the artefacts collection in Perth, WA. The discovery of the D-ter Rape Deterrent kit, offered by Franklin Inc., Franklinville, New Jersey at $9.95 caused considerable amusement and incredulity.

Accompanying instructions read as follows: “D-ter is a tiny, transparent capsule which is clipped unobtrusively to the undergarment.  In the threat of attack, a firm squeeze ruptures the capsule and emits an overpowering odor which repels the attacker!  It renders the rape victim no longer “desirable”.  The assailant’s first impulse is to flee the area to avoid the obnoxious odor and because remaining may mark him with the identifying smell. Its released odor is the strongest known to nature, so pervading that it repels instantly”.

“Its non-violent nature is the strongest advantage. Unlike violent weapons it cannot be wrested from the owner and turned against her.  It does not aggravate or enrage the assailant, as violent weapons are likely to do, but simply repels him by its obnoxiousness. The wearer becomes instantly undesirable.  It is not necessary to get the odor on the attacker.  Simple emission of the odor is sufficient”

“More than half the nation’s rapes take place right in the victim’s home. It makes sense, then, to wear your protection, unobtrusively, conveniently, at all times.  The small D-ter capsule clips easily and firmly to the undergarment or nightgown and can be worn around the clock.   Because it is within immediate reach of the fingers at all times, unlike devices that are carried in purse or pocket, it is instantly available as protection”.

“How to get rid of the odor?  First of all, while a firm squeeze will rupture the D-ter capsule, release of the odor is not likely to happen accidentally.  The vessel has passed stringent temperature and drop tests.  It takes a firm squeeze between the fingers to do the job.  If you ever have to use D-ter, the odor will touch you and your clothing.  A tube of neutralizer accompanies every D-ter.  It provides you with temporary relief from the odor.  We recommend two hot baths to erase the odor remaining on the body, and insertion of the affected clothes along with the neutraliser tube in a sealed plastic bag. In 24 hours everything should be back to normal !” and finally, “ D-ter rape deterrent is low cost, effective, intelligent defense against assault.  A perfect defense for you … a perfect gift for someone you love”!

How bizarre is that?  It’s hard to imagine that anyone would purchase the product!

By the way, the active ingredient was said to be N-Butyl Mercaptan and the spelling is authentic American!

An iconic soap

For most of the twentieth century Pears Soap was an icon, offering a distinct improvement on Velvet Soap for personal use. Pears Soap was advertised using the image of a woman in a housemaid’s bonnet scrubbing the ears of a small boy, with the caption “You Dirty Boy”.

The Wunderlich Company made a pressed tin version of the image in about 1910, which was widely distributed both painted and unpainted. Standing about 500mm tall, the painted version was in the colours shown on the accompanying postcard, but unpainted versions were painted up by the storekeeper, so varied somewhat in colours.

One of these was rescued from a tip site in Tasmania and now takes pride of place in the PDL head office in Hawthorn, Victoria.  Interestingly, it was offered for display at a pharmacy school but was declined on the grounds that it might be cause offense !

Pears Soap has seen very little change from the transparent soap developed in 1789 and is still available today !

The Wunderlich Company was well known for their pressed tin ceilings, which can be seen in many old homes built in the early 1900’s