By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (April 15, 2022) – In Issue 2022-074 of Steve Kovacs Fun with Maps, today we float some soap after sinking the boat yesterday.  Crazy fun stuff.


In 1878 Harvey Procter started selling an inexpensive, but high-quality white soap which was trademarked under the name Ivory Soap the next year.  Ivory has become a flagship product of Cincinnati’s Procter and Gamble Company and is still manufactured today.

Ivory has had two slogans associated with it – “It floats!” and “99 44/100 percent pure.”

The 99 44/100 percent pure is a scientific fact.  The purity of the ingredients was verified by independent scientists and laboratories in the late 1880s.  This indicated a “better” product than other soaps of the day.

As far as floating, air is whipped into the soap mixture and that causes it to float.  While that may seem silly today, in the 1870s most people bathed in the rivers and lakes where a floating soap was very useful and a great marketing edge over the competitors.

Here is Gray’s map of Cincinnati issued four years after Ivory floated to consumers.

Map of Cincinnati (Credit Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.