A couple months ago William Burrows commented on my Vinolia soap recreation recipe. Vinolia soap is the soap that was used in First Class on the RMS Titanic, which is something I’m pretty passionate about, so it made sense that I’d try to recreate the soap they had on board. William wrote “I was fascinated to see the interest in Vinolia Soaps. My grandfather Thomas Eggleston Burrows invented the first scented soap which he called Vinolia. He was a doctor but never practised medecine; preferring pharmacy and chemistry. He became very wealthy by the production and sale of Vinolia. I have recently been sorting my elderly Aunt’s posessions and came across the original recipe for Vinolia soap written in my grandfather’s handwriting. It is difficult to read but I will send a photocopy if you email me.” So, of course I got in touch, and with William’s permission, I’m super excited to be able to share these old and very interesting documents with you today.

The original vinolia soap notes

These documents are just as William sent them, aside from a bit of cropping and brightening. There’s two cards of handwritten notes and a Vinolia magazine which is quite an interesting read! The hand written cards, unfortunately, and really hard to read. If you have a knack for deciphering century old handwriting I’d love to hear from you—I’m hoping through the power of the internet we can get them sorted out 🙂

Just click the following images to download PDFs of the pages.

The original vinolia soap notes

From Mary, in the comments: “I got pretty good at reading scribbles over 50 years in pharmacy. The easiest is Vinolia Toilet Powder: 10 grains each (650mg) of Zinc Oleate, Boric Acid, and 5 grains (325mg) Benzoic Acid in one ounce of “Violet Powder.” The top of other page “dyspeptic mixture” calls for one ounce “glycerin” (oil?) of peppermint, 2 ounces brandy and enough distilled water to make 8 oz. Dose is half an ounce in a “wineglass of water as hot as possible.” The measuring system is apothecary units and uses Roman numerals.”


Thanks again, William! These pieces of soaping history are fascinating.