A Brief history of the Larkin Soap Company premiums

John Larkin Soaps

John D. Larkin established a soap factory in Buffalo, New York, in 1875. His factory produces two products: Sweet Home soap, a yellow Laundry soap, and crème oatmeal, a toilet soap. The Soaps were sold through wholesalers and retailers.

A New Sales Approach

In 1881 Larkin started selling his soap on a door-to-door sales to private customers. Small color picture cards printed with the Larkin logo was included in each box of soap. By the 1890s, the premium approach were at the heart of the Larkin-distribution. Early Larkin premiums included handkerchiefs, towels and one-cent coins. Later Larkin included certificates that could be collected, and the redemption of the company’s Buffalo headquarters.

Today, the small picture cards are for collectors in their own right. The images are often of sweet smiling children in the game. Dogs and cats are frequent companions of the children.

Larkin the sale of its products via E-mail, and began to order only, and by 1906 the Larkin catalog items numbered in the hundreds. Toothpaste, scouring paste, fabric dyes, coffee, tea, spices, extracts, baking powder, toilet articles, paint, furniture, peanut butter are examples of items that could be purchased through the catalog.

By 19122 the catalogue of more than 500 products, including furniture included.

Larkin Clubs

With the establishment of the „Larkin Club“, whose members were called „Larkinites“ allowed customers to buy items on the installment plan. Ten customers a the form of a Larkin Club. Each club member a dollar have contributed,-per month. A Club member, the Secretary, would buy a Combi-Box with soap, and then distribute the products and premiums for Club members. The Club Secretary was entitled for special bonuses based on the revenue of the club.


The Chautauqua Desk is the most famous piece of furniture in the 1901 Larkin catalog. The Desk was made of solid oak wood with a Golden, polished, applied carving, a beveled mirror and had a drop front with open bottom for storage. Simpler versions of the Desk removed the mirror and had less elaborate carvings. The Desk was given as a premium for a 10-Dollar purchase of soap.

Larkin was the first major catalog distributor who offered, actually the furniture as a bonus. The Buffalo pottery factory was established, in order to meet, more premium need.

Many of the furniture produced by Larkin was not marked and requires documentation, which allows him to authenticate origin. The picture-cards or ad-cards, Larkin Company logo and are easily identifiable.

John Larkin died in 1926 and the company was closed in 1941. The city of Buffalo demolished the Larkin company headquarters in the 1950s because of the taxes due. The building was designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Source by Beverly A.


Related Articles

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert.

Back to top button