Inventing Tide: Research and Development
Throughout the 1930s Procter & Gamble's chemists and chemical engineers at the Ivorydale Technical Center worked to develop a heavy-duty synthetic laundry detergent. The researchers experimented on the surfactant-builder problem, attempting to develop an alkyl sulfate-based detergent that cleaned heavily soiled clothes without leaving them hard and stiff. They tried to build the surfactant with different chemicals; they added soaps to synthetic detergents; they mixed and matched formulae, tried them as flakes, granules and liquids, but nothing worked satisfactorily. By the end of the decade, the company had all but given up on developing a heavy-duty synthetic detergent and management began shifting research into other projects. As David "Dick" Byerly, the holder of the key Tide® patent, later recalled: "For almost 10 years we experimented with the new surface-active agents, the basic cleaning agents of synthetic detergents. By the middle of 1941, we still had not come up with a satisfactory, heavy-duty, non-soap product."11
Despite repeated frustrations, Byerly refused to shelve the research and his doggedness insured that Procter & Gamble, not Colgate or Lever Brothers, would be the developer of the first heavy-duty synthetic detergent. But his superiors did not see it that way at the time, and management frequently tried to discourage him from working on what became known as Project X. One of the Byerly's superiors, Thomas Halberstadt, later reminisced about Byerly: "I was very fond of Dick but you've got to understand the man to understand what he did… Dick was an obstinate cuss in some ways. Tenacious as all get out!" But Halberstadt recognized the value of Byerly's tenaciousness: "…Dick's the kind of a guy that somehow or other he'll find a way—if you want a job done, give it to a busy man. Dick was that kind of guy. He would get it done." In the case of Product X, tenacious Dick Byerly "persisted."12
Halberstadt became Byerly's boss in 1939 when he assumed responsibility for product development research for soaps. By that time, research into boosting the cleaning power of synthetic detergents had been put on the back burner. But Byerly wanted to keep experimenting, using superphosphates as the builder. He tried a variant called sodium pyrophosphate, which "cleaned your shirt and mine, but lo and behold, it left the shirt feeling like sandpaper." Byerly was doing this research surreptitiously; he had "long since given up putting this [Product X work] in his weekly report because the only comments he ever got were 'What in the hell are you working on that for?'"13
Byerly regarded Halberstadt cautiously at first, not wanting to reveal his secretive work on synthetic detergents. "He came to me one day," Halberstadt recalled, "and said, 'Now that you're here, I want to know, am I going to be allowed to work on what I think I should be work[ing] on?' I didn't know what he was talking about." Byerly took Halberstadt to his laboratory where they spent two days looking through Byerly's records for the previous five years. "I was impressed," Halberstadt later told a company interviewer. Byerly's data showed that building the surfactant with sodium pyrophosphate resulted in good cleaning. The question was, could Byerly find a formula that would not leave the fabric stiff and rough?14
Halberstadt kicked Byerly's request upstairs to his boss, Herb Coith, the associate director of the Chemical Division. Coith knew about Product X, "but he didn't know all that Dick had done because Dick hadn't reported it." Halberstadt apparently was persuasive, because Coith agreed, adding, "just don't get into any big deal about it." Coith did not object to Byerly tinkering in his laboratory on his own time, but he did not want Halberstadt and Byerly to go to Bruce Strain, the manager of process development for detergents, and ask for "samples made in their pilot plant."15
So Byerly received tacit approval to continue Project X quietly. But his efforts were further hampered by the outbreak of World War II, which led to shortages of raw materials, and the need to convert some processes to military supply and to reformulate many products because of rationing. At one point Coith ordered Halberstadt to shut down Project X because a senior manager learned about it and wondered "how you fellows can fiddle around with a product" P&G had no intention of making "when we've got more unanswered problems out here in the factories." But Byerly sulked and eventually Halberstadt relented: "There was a great deal of work done that was never reported. We new we couldn't. That was that."16
Despite the fits and starts and constant strains, Byerly was making progress. By 1941, he had concluded that the best builder was sodium tripolyphosphate. More importantly, Byerly had a counterintuitive breakthrough. All previous research on soaps and detergents had shown that reducing the amount of builder in a formula yielded a less harsh product (and it was the harshness of products with builder that hamstrung the project for so many years). Like his predecessors and colleagues, Byerly at first tried to keep the proportion of surfactant—the actual cleaning agent—as high as possible. But when he inverted the ratio by boosting the level of builder well above the amount of surfactant, he got a surprising result: The detergent cleaned well without leaving clothes stiff and harsh. After a great deal of trial and error, Byerly determined that the correct formula was one part active detergent, alkyl sulfate, to three parts builder, sodium tripolyphosphate. No one could figure out why it worked, but it worked.17
As Byerly was closing in on the correct formula, it became harder to keep Project X under wraps. Halberstadt and Byerly had been warned not to go to the pilot plants and ask for sample products, but research using hand-mixed materials could not be fully tested. At some point, progress depended on actually testing granulated, or blown, samples. Eventually, Halberstadt had to approach Bruce Strain to get some granules for Byerly's project. Strain would from time to time oblige him, but inevitably the circle of those who knew what was going on got bigger and bigger. In any event, by 1945 the research was far enough along for Herb Coith to decide that Project X should be presented to senior management.18
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|Owner||Procter & Gamble|
|Introduced||1946; 72 years ago (1946)|
|Related brands||Ace (Latin America)|
|Markets||United States, Canada, China, Europe, Latin America, India, Israel, Morocco, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Vietnam|
Tide (Alo in Turkey, Vizir in Poland, or Ace in some Latin American countries) is a laundry detergent introduced in 1946 and manufactured by American multinationalProcter & Gamble.
The household chore of doing the laundry began to change with the introduction of washing powders in the 1880s. These new laundry products were pulverized soap. New cleaning-product marketing successes, such as the 1890s introduction of the N. K. Fairbank Company's Gold Dust Washing Powder (which used a breakthrough hydrogenation process in its formulation), and Hudson's heavily advertised product, Rinso, proved that there was a ready market for better cleaning agents. Henkel & Cie's "self-activating" (or self bleaching) cleaner, Persil; (introduced in 1907); the early synthetic detergent, BASF's Fewa (introduced in 1932); and Procter & Gamble's 1933 totally synthetic creation, Dreft (marketed for use on infant-wear) —all indicated significant advances in the laundry cleaning product market.
The detergent business was further revolutionized with the discovery of the alkylbenzene sulfonates, which, when combined with the use of chemical "builders", made machine washing with hard water possible. This presented Procter and Gamble with the opportunity to create a product such as Tide.
The original Tide laundry detergent was a synthetic designed specifically for heavy-duty, machine cleaning (an advance over the milder cleaning capabilities of FeWA and Dreft). Tide was first introduced in U.S. test markets in 1946 as the world's first heavy-duty detergent, with nationwide distribution accomplished in 1949. Tide claimed it was "America's Washday Favorite." Authority was quickly gained in the U.S. detergent market, dwarfing the sales of Ivory Snow; and accelerating the demise of two of its main competing products, Rinso and Gold Dust Washing Powder, both then Lever Brothers brands. These other brands came in the more familiar soap-powder and soap-flake forms. Tide, however, came shaped as a white powdered bead. The line was expanded to include an orange-tinted clear liquid form in 1984. Today, most formulations of liquid Tide, both concentrated and regular, are dark blue, with the exception of "Tide Free", which is clear. Each year, Tide researchers duplicate the mineral content of water from all parts of the United States and wash 50,000 loads of laundry to test Tide detergent’s consistency and performance.
In 2006, the development of Tide was designated an ACS National Historic Chemical Landmark in recognition of its significance as the first heavy-duty synthetic detergent.
As of January 2013[update] Tide has more than 30% of the liquid-detergent market, with more than twice as much in sales as the second most-popular brand Gain, although it costs about 50% more than the average liquid detergent.
In some areas, Tide has become such a hot commodity item, that criminals steal it from stores to resell. Police call the detergent "liquid gold" on the black market and it's been known to be traded or sold for illegal drugs.
In a 2009 survey, consumers ranked Tide among the three brands they would be least likely to give up during the Great Recession. The Tide trademark is an easily recognized, distinctive orange-and-yellow bulls-eye. This original logo was designed by Donald Deskey, an architect and famous industrial designer. The logo was slightly modified for the product's fiftieth anniversary in 1996, and remains in use today.
Tide was the first product to be nationally packaged using Day-Glo colors—strikingly eye-catching when first introduced in 1959.
The Tide brand is on at least six powders and liquid detergents in the United States.
Tide is marketed under various sub-brands, such as 2x Ultra Tide. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, it was branded as Tide XK (the XK standing for Xtra Kleaning), but it was rebranded simply as Tide later.
An addition to the Tide family, Tide Coldwater was formulated to remove stains while saving energy because it does not require hot or even warm water. Tide Free is marketed as being free from dyes or perfumes. Tide-To-Go is a product packaged in a pen-like format and intended to remove small stains on the spot, without further laundering.
In Puerto Rico and elsewhere in Latin America, the Tide formula is marketed under the name Ace (except in Ecuador and Panama, where it is sold under the same Tide brand as is in current use in the U.S.) In Turkey, Tide is branded as Alo. In Poland, it is sold as Vizir.
Tide is sold in the UK as Daz Go-Pods; they have the marking "Daz/Vizir/Tide" on the back and bear the same distinctive design.
Since 2012, Tide has sold laundry detergent pods, making an estimated 15% of market sales. In late 2017, an Internet meme was popularized around the concept of eating Tide Pods and, as a result, many YouTubers attempted the extremely dangerous "Tide Pod Challenge."
Tide has also sponsored a few things like NASCAR stock cars, notably as the "Tide Ride". Darrell Waltrip drove the #17 Tide-sponsored Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports. The relationship lasted from 1987 to 1990 and won the 1989 Daytona 500 along the way. Waltrip left the team to form his own team. Tide then sponsored Ricky Rudd in the #5 car after Levi Garrett left Hendrick. Rudd drove for Hendrick until 1993, when he left the racing team, also to form his own team and taking the Tide sponsorship. Rudd Performance Motorsports ran from 1994–1999 and won the 4th Brickyard 400 in 1997. After Rudd became winless in his first time in 17 seasons, Tide left Rudd after being lured by Calvin Well's new team PPI Motorsports. The new team's number was 32, which was a combination of 17, 5, and 10 added all up. Scott Pruett was the first driver but after DNQing 6 times and no Top 10's. Ricky Craven took over in 2001 and responded with a win at Martinsville Speedway. He went winless in 2002, but one year later, he won the closest race in NASCAR history at Darlington in the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400, rubbing with Kurt Busch for laps and with a margin-of-victory of 0.002. It is tied for the closest finish in Cup Series history. After no Top 10's halfway through the 2004 season, Craven left PPI and was replaced by Bobby Hamilton, Jr. for 2004 and 2005. Travis Kvapil ran for PPI in 2006 but with four DNQ's. Tide left the sport before it was going to sponsor one of Well's proposed Toyota teams in 2007. Tide was on Kevin Harvick's truck a few times, but Kroger was promoting the car with it. Tide made its Cup series return in September 2016, when it sponsored Matt Kenseth's No. 20 car for a Darlington tribute scheme. Tide extended their sponsorship to Joe Gibbs Racing to three races in 2017.
- ^"History"(PDF). P&G. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- ^Davis, Dyer; et al. (May 1, 2004). Rising Tide: Lessons from 165 Years of Brand Building at Procter and Gamble. Harvard Business Press. p. 426.
- ^The Holland Evening Sentinel; Holland, MI; Newspaper James F. Boyce, Sr. Obituary Article, Jun 4, 1935
- ^"History of soap". Archived from the original on June 26, 2008. Retrieved November 16, 2010.
- ^"100 Years of Persil". Henkel. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- ^ abEduard Smulders, Wolfgang Rybinski, Eric Sung, Wilfried Rähse, Josef Steber, Frederike Wiebel, Anette Nordskog, "Laundry Detergents" in Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry 2002, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim. doi:10.1002/14356007.a08_315.pub2
- ^"The Development of Tide Synthetic Detergent". National Historic Chemical Landmarks. American Chemical Society. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- ^ abPaynter, Ben (January 18, 2018). "Suds for Drugs". New York. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- ^Nestel, M.L. (March 12, 2012). "Grime Wave". The Daily. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- ^"DayGlo Fluorescent Pigments". National Historic Chemical Landmarks. American Chemical Society. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- ^ abc"Tide Laundry Detergent And Fabric Care Products". Tide.com. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- ^"Tide XK is introduced and is the first detergent specially formulated with enzymes to thoroughly break down protein and carbohydrate stains. | Tide News". news.tide.com. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
- ^"The Clorox Company Puerto Rico, Plaintiff, Appellant, v. The Procter & Gamble Commercial Company, Defendant, Appellee". United States Court of Appeals, For the First Circuit. October 3, 2000. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- ^"Laundry detergent pods remain a health hazard". Consumer Reports. March 2013. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- ^"Tide's Answer To Slumping Sales? Use More Detergent Pods!". Consumerist. 2016-06-08. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- ^Kircher, Madison Malone (December 28, 2017). "Please Don't Eat a Tide Pod, No Matter What the Memes Say". Select All. New York. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- ^"Tide Pod Challenge: Teens are putting detergent pods in their mouth and posting videos online". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
- ^loganofan22 (2014-07-07), History of NASCAR's "Tide Ride", retrieved 2018-02-21
- ^"Classic Tide car returning to NASCAR at Darlington". Autoweek. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
- ^"'Tide Ride' returns for Kenseth in three-race deal". NASCAR. Retrieved 2018-02-21.