Colored tissue and avocado refrigerators

Published 10:31 am Wednesday, May 15, 2024

By Bonnie Brown


So, fasten your seatbelts.  We’re going to board the Wayback Machine.  What is the Wayback Machine, you ask?  Well, it was a machine invented by Mr. Peabody who happened to be a bowtie-wearing Beagle.  Yes, I said Beagle (dog).  He invented it as a birthday gift to his adopted pet boy, Sherman.  This was a recurring feature of the 1960’s “Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.”  Remember it?  Stay with me now.

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The Wayback Machine provided adventures for the boy Sherman by visiting historical places, people, or events.  Mr. Peabody would tell Sherman to set the Wayback Machine controls to a time and place, then they would walk through a door and be transported there.

Now, I’ve set the date and time to 1872 when Kimberly, Clark, and Company was founded by John A. Kimberly, Havilah Babcock, Charles B. Clark and Franklyn C. Shattuck with $42,000 in capital (equivalent to $1,068,200 in 2023).

In 1924, the Kleenex brand of facial tissue was first introduced by the Kimberly-Clark Company.  Kleenex tissue was invented as a means to remove cold cream.  Voila!  The first make-up remover.  Early advertisements featured movie stars such as Helen Hayes and Jean Harlow who used Kleenex to remove their theatrical makeup.

I remember when I was a little girl, I had small, fabric hankies that were almost more decorative than useful.  They had to be laundered and ironed.  Or at least that was my mother’s process.  After a survey was conducted, results showed that 60 percent used Kleenex as disposable hankies.  By 1930, Kimberly-Clark changed their advertising pitch from make-up remover to a product for blowing noses.

Remember in the 1950’s and 60’s you could blow your nose into a colored Kleenex.  Perhaps pink, green, blue?  And your bathroom décor was complete with complementary toilet tissue in the same color as your Kleenex—the product name which became and is still synonymous with “facial tissue.”

Well, the colored tissue got a reputation for being an irritant to both noses and bums.  In addition, there were environmental concerns of the dyes in the tissue papers.  So, in the late 1980s and early 1990’s the manufacturers began phasing out colored facial and toilet tissue.   

I remember the days of the blue and pink bathtubs and sinks.  I also remember the days of the colored kitchen appliances.  Think Harvest Gold, Avocado Green, Coppertone, and Poppy Red.  I had red and yellow colors in our kitchen in the 1970’s.  In fact, the dishwasher I had featured 2 panels (front and back) that could be changed out, depending on what color you wanted on the front of the machine.  The colors that I remember were Harvest Gold, Avocado Green, Black, and Bisque.  I didn’t change the panels that I remember since I wanted the appliances in my kitchen to match.  Same was true of colors of washing machines and dryers.  My favorite was the Bisque (beige) color, and when it came time to replace the appliances, I was sad to find white as the only choice.

So, the Wayback Machine has returned us to 2024.  Here you will find stainless steel kitchen appliances, white washing machines and dryers, and lots—and I mean LOTS—of grey in all the décor. Unless you happen to come to our house which is beige and earth tones.  Hope you enjoyed the trip!