The Droyt’s factory is in Progress Mill, in Chorley, Lancashire. We have been making soap here since 1937, although the history of the company goes back much further than that.
Blocks of soap waiting to be cut
The hot soap is poured into a one tonne frame (approximately 2m by 1m by 50cm) to make the blocks shown here. These blocks are too large to handle easily, so when the soap has cooled and set, each large block is cut into about seven smaller pieces. These smaller blocks are left to mature for at least two weeks before being cut down further.
You can read an explanation of why this laborious process helps make better soap on the About our soap page.
The Lab where we prepare perfumes and dyes and test soap
The green tins in the picture store perfume components like Geraniol, Rosemary Oil and Benzyl Alcohol. Some of our perfumes (such as Mandarin and Peach) are made to our specifications by a fragrance house. We make the rest ourselves using our own recipies. Some of these recipies, such as our Eau de Cologne and Rose, date back to the days when the company was based in Berlin (1920’s and early 30’s).
The dyes we use are all approved for use in cosmetic items. Because our soap is clear, we do not need to use much dye to make beautiful colours. Sometimes we use as little as 3g per tonne, and the most we use is 30g per tonne.
There are several stages during the manufacturing process where the soap is checked, but the main one is checking every batch for alkalinity. Our soap is generally between pH 8 and pH 9, which is normal for soaps.
Blocks of soap being cut down
Blocks of soap are first cut into plates (the green pile to the left of the picture) and then into bars. These bars are stacked up and left overnight to help them to dry out a little more. The soap is dried as much as possible before it is packed. This helps ensure that the shelf life is as long as possible, and also that the soap will last longer when it is eventually used by our customers (or their lucky friends).
Our tablet cutting machine
This machine was made in Germany some time ago. We think it may be 1887. The manufacturer’s plate says “Aug Krull, Helmstedt i Bswg, Schutz marke No 4295”. It is used to cut bars of soap into tablet-sized pieces. The operator pushes the bar forward to a stop and presses a foot pedal. The pedal brings down taut wire which slices neatly through the soap. The cut pieces are placed on a tray and the process continues.
This picture shows the manual stamping machine. Made of cast iron, this machine has been working steadily since before the second world war, and probably since before the first world war as well.
These machines are fitted with a mold for the shape of soap required. Our soap cannot be distorted too much, since it is very transparent and shows stress marks, so we have to use a box die or collar die.
The operator places a square billet of soap in the mold and grasps the two safety handles. When these are pulled, kicking forwards with the legs brings down the top die into the collar, compressing the soap into shape. The stamped tablet is ejected when the legs are brought back.
These racks store the soap between the various stages of the production process.
Once the soap has been stamped into tablets of the correct weight and shape, they are stored in these racks overnight. The next day, the tablets are hand-polished and transferred to mobile racks for transporting to the packing department on the first floor. Oh, to have a factory on one level.
Chris and Alistair in the office in the 90’s(when we had hair)
Chris Effendowicz is the Managing Director of Droyt Products Ltd. and is the great nephew of the son of the original founder. Chris has been working at Droyt’s since 1988.
Alistair McCracken is the Sales Director and has been working at Droyt’s since 1991. He hopes for world peace and mandatory legislation banning shower gel.