Duz glasses, found at last. (Not in the detergent box.)

Duz glasses at the Manse

I am pretty proud of this collection: vintage box of Duz detergent; vintage red dial phone (still fully operational); Harvest Gold clothes dryer (also operational, though probably not very energy-efficient); and – the most recent addition – two tumblers (in their original boxes, and still coated with a thin later of detergent dust) that once upon a time, probably a half-century ago, were “free gifts” inside Duz boxes.

Would you like to know what gets you page views if you write a blog? I’ll tell you what gets you page views. It is a post headlined “When towels came in detergent boxes,” that’s what.

Very rarely does a day go by without at least one person, somewhere in this wide world of ours, paying a visit to Meanwhile, at the Manse because that person had entered into Google the search terms “towels in detergent box” or “Duz detergent towels,” or “things that came in Duz boxes,” or some variation. Who knew that so many people would be interested in reading about the days when towels – and, more to the point for tonight’s post, other good stuff, like drinking glasses – came as a “free gift” inside boxes of laundry detergent?

I wrote the post headlined “When towels came in detergent boxes” more than a year and a half ago. It was a little paean to those simpler days when things like a free towel made consumers (fancy name for “housewives”) more likely to buy a certain kind of laundry detergent. And when the bathroom of every household you might go into had very familiar hand and/or bath towels – familiar because they, like the towels in the bathroom at your own house, had emerged from a box of detergent.

Anyway. In writing that January 2013 post I searched for a vintage TV ad about getting a free towel in the Duz, unfortunately in vain. But what I did find, and link to there, was an ad about free drinking glasses you could get in Duz. So given that, and also given how popular that year-and-a-half-old post continues to be, perhaps you will be able to imagine my delight when, this past summer, I came upon some vintage Duz drinking glasses for sale in an antiques emporium. Wow!

One of the two boxes had been opened, so that you could pull out the glass and examine it. (It’s brownish and kind of ugly but, endearingly, still bears a thin coating of laundry powder.) The other box was pristine – never opened, in all the years (it would have to be at least 50) since it had been packed into the Duz. They cost $2 (U.S.) each. Of course I had to have them.

And now they sit proudly on our almost-as-vintage Harvest Gold clothes dryer here in the kitchen of the Manse. Right in front of a vintage box of Duz that our friend and former colleague Gordon Beck (co-proprietor of a wonderful gallery/emporium in beautiful Brockville, Ont.) generously donated to the Manse’s growing collection of  relatively useless but nonetheless interesting midcentury stuff. And right beside our vintage red (it’s the hot line, you know), fully functional rotary-dial phone.

The lot of them make me smile every time I look at them. And hey, internet: I’ve just given you another post about when free gifts came in detergent boxes. You’re welcome!

The Duz has made it to the Manse.

Our friend Gordon Beck gave us a lovely vintage-themed Manse-warming gift, and here it is on the harvest-gold dryer in the Manse kitchen: vintage cream-coloured lampshades, and a fresh (from the 1950s, I'm guessing) box of Duz! (You know, the detergent that they used to put towels and glasses in to get people to buy it.) It fits right in, doesn't it?

Our friend Gordon Beck gave us a lovely vintage-themed Manse-warming gift, and here it is on the harvest-gold dryer in the Manse kitchen: some beautiful cream-coloured lampshades, and a fresh (from the 1950s, I’m guessing) box of Duz! (You know, the detergent that they used to put towels and glasses in to get people to buy it.) It fits right in, doesn’t it?

Our friend Gordon’s comment on yesterday’s post, about a 1960s-era telephone table – clearly Gordon felt we had done the right thing in not dignifying its existence by purchasing it – reminded me that I should show you a photo of his recent gift to us, newly installed (as of this past weekend) at the Manse.

Gordon is a brilliant photographer and inveterate collector – notably of books, but also of other interesting stuff. And out of his many cool collected items, he gave us three lovely old lampshades, and an (unused) box of Duz detergent that he’d picked up at an auction in the 1960s. Why Duz? Because I’d written a little paean to the good old days when hand towels and drinking glasses and the like came in boxes of detergent – notably Duz – in an effort to get people to buy it. (Which, by the way, worked brilliantly; everybody had those glasses and towels, and thus was buying and using the detergent too.)

So once again, Gordon, thank you! Your gift is now where it belongs. Speaking of which, I also snapped a photo of the box of Duz on top of the Manse’s washing machine, since that’s the more obvious home for it than the dryer. And any photo of the Manse’s washing machine leads to one key question. Have a look:

The Duz is on the washer, and the washer is in the … kitchen. Why?

The Duz is on the washer, and the washer is in the … pantry. Why?

Why is the washing machine in the pantry? Side-by-side washer and dryer: normal. Side-by-side washer and stove? Odd.

But hey, who are we to complain? It was nice of the Manse’s former owners, the church Manse Committee, to leave the appliances in the house for us. They’re not new, but they seem quite serviceable.

Anyway, if and when I get around to trying out the washer-in-the-pantry (I haven’t yet), you can be sure I won’t be tossing in any Duz. That stuff is a collector’s item! And I’m just tickled that a nice collector turned it over to us.

A box of Duz, just for me!

A Manse-warming gift from Gordon: a pristine box of Duz detergent, and three beautiful cream-coloured glass lightshades. How nice is that? (Photo by Gordon Beck)

A Manse-warming gift from Gordon: a pristine box of Duz detergent (“Safe Suds! Whiter Washes!”), and three beautiful vintage cream-coloured glass lightshades. How nice is that? (Photo by Gordon Beck); and read on to find out what that is in the background.)

I have been remiss in not sharing until now an absolute treasure promised to me as a gift by our friend and former Montreal Gazette colleague (and photographer extraordinaire) Gordon Beck. After he retired from The Gazette, Gordon and his wife, Ewa, moved to an 18th-century stone carriage house that they had painstakingly restored in lovely little Merrickville, Ont., and opened a photo gallery (called From Here to Infinity) there. More recently they have restored another great old building, on the main street of equally nice (though larger) Brockville, Ont., and this April they will be opening a combination bookstore and photo gallery there. Trust me, it’ll be wonderful. You can find out lots more about Gordon, and see his stunning photos, here.

Anyway, after my post about the good old days when things like towels and drinking glasses came in boxes of detergent – and I’m pretty sure Duz was the brand – Gordon posted this comment:

“I have a Manse warming gift for you. Three old glass lampshades (Milk opaque) and (drum roll) an unopened box of DUZ from an E[astern] Townships auction in the 60′s.”

There is only one word for this, and it is: awesome.

In his email when he sent the photo of the gift (which you see at the top of this post), Gordon said of the Duz, “I can’t wait to read the results of your using a little at the Manse.” But I don’t think I could bear to open it! How often does one find an untouched box of Duz, for Pete’s sake?

Meanwhile, aren’t those lamp globes beautiful? They will be sure to be put to good vintage-y use at the Manse.

And you might be interested to know what’s in the background of the photo Gordon sent. It has to do with a project at the new Brockville building that involves displaying pieces of the beautiful historic wallpaper that he and Ewa found there: “On the [computer] screen is one of the wallpaper bits I photographed in the context of the setting with a partial joist and plaster and other detritus.  I’ll have about 30 of these when I open the gallery. The show will be called ‘Wallpaper…and the art of vertical digging.”  One must have dreams.’ ”

One must indeed, Gordon. Thank you for your wonderful gift, and Raymond and I look forward to visiting the fulfillment of your and Ewa’s new dream in beautiful Brockville. Readers, you should too!