I have tried to buy a few of those older style hand soap dispensers from garages and dealerships over the years with not much success. Most were still being used. I wanted one because it made little sense to me to have a store full of antique automotive advertising and related memorbilia... and then have a modern plastic hand cleaner dispenser. It was just one of the details that was important to me. I wanted to keep everything in the same era.
Eventually... I picked up an original 1940's "Whisk" Brand hand cleaner dispenser in an antique store, put it away for safe keeping, then forgot I had it. It has been in storage for more than twenty years. Recently, while cleaning out a corner of the warehouse there it was, hidden in a cardboard box. The one good thing about the modern Internet is that it makes it easier to look up the history of things, something that was more difficult to do twenty years ago.
So I looked up my Whisk brand hand cleaner dispenser on the Internet and found out much to my surprise, that the Whisk company is still in business in 2017, and is still headquartered in Wentzville Mo. So I immediately sent them pictures of my dispenser via email. A day later I got an email back with a phone number to call customer service at my earliest convenience.
Seems the pictures of my early Whisk hand soap dispenser caused quite a stir at the company. One employee had worked for the company for 35 years knew a little of the history. Between that and old company records we determined that my hand soap dispenser was designed in 1940 and was patented in 1949, the delay in the patenting was caused by the war. Because mine was cast aluminum with the "pat pending" on the lid, dates it to pre 1949.
Now we are getting somewhere. So my next question was..."do you have any of the leftover refills for my dispenser or anyway I can fill it and use it...?"
More good news....They STILL make a refill for my dispenser (the originals were a metal can, today they are cardboard)...AND...they still make that same 1940's design dispenser, (like mine) with a few very minor changes, and it is still made in Missouri along with the hand cleaner!
So I had to ask the 2017 cost of both, and then what a distributorship cost to sell their products, specifically that 1940's design hand soap dispenser and the refills...? A deal was struck... and that is how I got into the hand cleaner and dispenser business. So... if you want to hang up a real 1940's art deco design hand cleaner dispenser in you garage or shop instead of the cheap looking modern plastic dispenser give me a call.
I now have the original 1940's Whisk hand cleaner dispenser for sale (as shown in the picture) $54.00 along with the 32 oz refill for $15.00. Adjusted for inflation that makes them slightly less than they cost in 1949 dollars. A best guess estimate from company records is that my original dispenser would have sold for $6.50 in 1949 dollars which is equal to $65.21 in 2016 dollars.
Oh..and the best part is the hand cleaner is the same formula from the early days (it works well) and is waterless so all you need to dry your hands is a shop towel. No water required.
Sometimes...the surprises in life are good!
Here is a side by side comparison of the 1949 Dispenser compared to the 2017 dispenser. Not much has changes in 77 years, which is a good thing!