Do You Use Magic Soap?
You’ve undoubtedly used Dr. Bronner’s, the top-selling organic liquid and bar soap brand in North America. But how much do you know about the man behind the company, and the soap he created?
1. EMANUEL BRONNER WAS BORN INTO SOAP.
Bronner was part of the third generation in a family of Jewish master soap makers in Germany. His family is credited with important liquid soap innovations in the country, but because of Bronner’s increasingly sour relationship with his father and uncles, he emigrated to the United States in 1929 for a clean start and to consult for American soap companies—just a few years before the Nazis came to power.
2. HE STARTED HIS LIFE IN THE U.S. LECTURING ABOUT WORLD PEACE.
Bronner spent years spreading the word of the life philosophy he called Bronner’s Peace Plan, which would eventually become “the Moral ABC.” The basic idea of his world view? If people stopped focusing on how we are different and instead thought about how we are the same, we would all be better off on this “Spaceship Earth.”
3. HIS MORAL PHILOSOPHY WAS BORN OUT OF TRAGEDY.
In the 1940s, Bronner received word that his parents and extended family who had stayed in Germany had been killed in Nazi death camps. Soon after, his wife fell ill and passed away, leaving Bronner with his two sons and one daughter, all three of whom he put into foster care in order to focus more on refining his speeches. His eldest son, Ralph—who has said he spent time in 15 different orphanages—would eventually join his father on the lecture circuit and continue spreading the Moral ABC after his father’s death in 1997.
4. BRONNER’S SISTER ONCE COMMITTED HIM TO A MENTAL INSTITUTION.
Concerned by the fervor Bronner applied to his lectures and his decision to abandon his children, his sister had him committed to Elgan Mental Health Center outside Chicago, where he received shock treatments, in the mid-1940s. Bronner escaped and fled to California,started calling himself a rabbi, and began mixing up drums of liquid soap using his family’s old recipe.
5. HIS NOW-FAMOUS PEPPERMINT SOAP STARTED AS A GIVEAWAY TO THOSE WHO CAME TO HIS LECTURES.
When he realized that people were coming to his events, taking his soap, and not sticking around for his talks, he started printing his talks on the bottles. Bronner spent the rest of his life refining the 30,000-word creed by which he led his life and which his company still prints on its soap today.
6. THE COMPANY NOW BASES ITS BUSINESS PRACTICES OFF BRONNER’S LIFE PHILOSOPHY.
Six principles guide the employees of Dr. Bronner’s: Work hard! Grow!; Do right by customers; Treat employees like family; Be fair to suppliers; Treat the earth like home; Give and give!
7. THE COMPANY FIRST LISTED ITSELF AS A NONPROFIT RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION.
The IRS disagreed and served Bronner with a notice that he owed them $1.3 million in back taxes, enough to send the company into bankruptcy. It was Bronner’s son Jim who stepped in to save the family soap business.
The article, "Do You Use Magic Soap?", was syndicated from and first appeared at: https://www.lewrockwell.com/2016/10/no_author/use-magic-soap/.
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