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Discover the History of a Soap Shaker – circa 1920

Discover the History of a Soap Shaker – circa 1920

Soap Cage resting on Crown Lynn Cups

Soap Shaker History

The soap shaker, otherwise known as a Soap Cage or a Soap Saver.

This is not a new invention, Soap Shakers were common place and in everyday use from around the 1920’s but then they lost favour to the convenience of a plastic bottle and liquid detergent.

What is this metal thing for?

I bet some of you would never have seen one before.  In fact I asked a couple of my younger friends what they thought this metal thing was for and the answers ranged from ‘mini chip fryer?’ to ‘basket to steam veges?”. 

Pair of Soap Cage
Our Soap Cage modern design

Invention of the Soap Shaker

Well it turns out our ancestors were on to something.

This simple yet ingenious contraption holds your favourite kitchen soap, just swish vigorously in hot water and your soap bar will mix thoroughly.


“A soap shaker is a box entirely made from wire metal mesh with a handle. The box may be opened so as to be able to place in this box a piece or pieces of bar soap. These may be pieces that have become too small to be used as hand soap.

The box may now be securely closed. Held by its handle the box may be vigorously shaken in a water filled bucket or other container. The shaking will move the water through the box. The result is that the water will become soapy, rich with suds to be used for all kinds of cleaning purposes. This way even small pieces of bar soap could be re-used and are not wasted.

The use of a soap shaker was common early to mid 20th century. The invention and sale of powdered or liquid soap diminished its use.”

More Visual History and Links

Visit some of our links for a visual history of Soap Shakers around the world.

Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences

Has an interesting antique Soap Shaker example which is quite a different shape

Sydney Living Museums

Has another example of a Soap Shaker

Buy a modern Soap Shaker for your home

You can get the modern version from our online shop – just $38 plus courier.

Pair of Soap Cage
Soap Cage 2020

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