Profiles

Barbicide Is Crowned King

At a June 20 reception and luncheon at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, Barbicide was officially acknowledged as an essential part of the barber and beauty industry.

With the signing of a “deed of gift of artifacts,” Ben King, president of King Research, assured a lofty place in history to his company’s signature product, Barbicide. At a June 20 reception and luncheon at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the blue disinfecting liquid was officially acknowledged as an essential part of the barber and beauty industry — and American society. It all began 50 years ago, when King’s father, Maurice, brewed up a batch of the solution in his bathtub. As he peddled his product across the country, he stopped in state capitals to lobby for rules requiring the use of disinfectants in barbershops and salons. His efforts were largely successful, forever changing the way states and consumers viewed salon sanitation.

Among the articles donated were a glass pint bottle of Barbicide produced in the late 1940s, a classic sterilizer jar, a manicure table jar; and original labels and advertisements used over the years. Of the ceremony attended by King Research staff, family, and friends, King says, “A terrific time was had by all. We’re very grateful for the recognition. It’s a wonderful testament to the 50-year impact of Barbicide on American culture.”

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