Just after WW1 in 1919, Frank Shields, a former MIT professor developed a simple product that allowed him to shave without having to use a badger brush. The shave cream formula was designed to provide a comfortable shave for men with tough beards and sensitive skin, like himself. He called it Barbasol. The name Barbasol came from the combination of the Roman word ‘Barba’, meaning beard and ‘Solution’.
And men bought it. They put it in their medicine cabinets, placed it on their sinks and took it with them. When men went to war; when they went to work; when they played baseball; when they taught their sons, nephews and grandsons; when they came home from the mills, fields and mines; when they built America, Barbasol was there.
When it was first produced, Barbasol was filled and packaged entirely by hand in Indianapolis. By 1936, the company employed nearly 400 people and was also manufacturing razor blades. The Great Depression had little or no impact on the Barbasol brand, since shaving cream was not considered a luxury item.
Barbasol in WW2
During WW2 Barbasol Shaving Cream became standard issue for American Soldiers. As a show of patriotism, the company sold large tubes of shave cream in PX Stores for no profit. And for Troops overseas the words ‘Overseas Special’ were placed on the carton box.
Recently I bought myself an original red, white and blue printed Barbasol shaving cream carton box. Containing a black tube of shaving cream with screw top. And later I purchased an overbox as well, which held 12 Barbasol shaving cream boxes.
Wouldn’t it be nice to reproduce those boxes? Would be an excellent item for your WW2 Footlocker or display. Well I am working on the artwork already and who knows I might look into the development of those tubes in the future as well…