Use Lux Soap to end constant runs,
snaky seams, bunchy heels or ankles

Lux soap advertisement promoting th eproduct as a stocking wash

Once upon a time it was adver­tised that “9 out of 10 stars use Lux” but could Lux soap pre­vent runs in silk stock­ings?   Could it help the clever wife guard against S.A.?

Stock­ing Appeal is “spoiled when you get con­stant runs, snaky seams, bunchy heels or ankles.” These shock­ing con­di­tions could be avoid­ed by using Lux  to save the elas­tic­i­ty of del­i­cate silk fibres, so they give instead of break­ing so eas­i­ly into runs.

But that’s not all Lux offered. Appar­ent­ly stock­ings would also fit more sleek­ly, too. So why use soaps with harm­ful alka­li — or risk cake-soap rub­bing because these things weak­en elasticity—rob you of S.A.

The Lux Secret?
Lux saved
stocking elasticity

And to prove it, Lux invited the Ferguson triplets—Ford, Gladys and Margaret— to participate in a “RACE TO CUT DOWN RUNS”

Lux advertisement claiming that Lux cut down on silk stocking runs.

 The race start­ed when these three pret­ty triplets agreed that “RUNS have got us on the run.” To which Mar­garet added. “Time we called a halt. I saw a sto­ry about girls who cut down runs with Lux. What say we try it?” she asks. “O.K.,” say the oth­ers. “Let’s have a race—see who cuts down runs the most.”

Mar­garet won! “Cuts down runs 50%—gets twice as long wear from her Luxed stock­ings as from stock­ings rubbed with cake soap!”

Gladys and Ford cut runs way down, too. “We have extra spend­ing mon­ey now that we’re not buy­ing new stock­ings so often. Lux is sure­ly a big economy!”

Who were these women? Were they movie stars? Famous peo­ple? Achiev­ers in sport? The adver­tise­ment doesn’t say.

But what the 1935 adver­tise­ment does tell read­ers is that wash­ing silk stock­ings every night with Lux “saves the elas­tic­i­ty of the silk so stock­ings don’t break into runs so often.” That was because “Cake-soap rub­bing, soaps with harm­ful alka­li, weak­en elasticity—then runs tend to start easily.”

The Smith­son­ian Mag­a­zine pub­lished a post about Nylons, the suc­ces­sor to silk stock­ings which, in turn, were suc­ces­sors to lisle—polished cot­ton stockings.

Nylons first went on sale in Octo­ber 1939 in Wilm­ing­ton, Delaware, home of their man­u­fac­tur­er, DuPont. Made from wool, cot­ton and silk, stock­ings had been around since before the inven­tion of the knit­ting machine. But at a time when hem­lines were ris­ing yet mod­esty was still fore­most, nylons offered a smoother, stronger and in some cas­es cheap­er alter­na­tive to tra­di­tion­al hosiery.

When stores stocked them nation­al­ly their pop­u­lar­i­ty was mas­sive. An esti­mat­ed 64 mil­lion pairs were pur­chased in their first year on the market.

Because DuPont nev­er trade­marked “nylon,” “nylons” became syn­ony­mous with “hosiery.” They were the Amer­i­can woman’s great­est wardrobe sta­ple. Then, of course, nylons hit a snag. They were in short sup­ply because the silky mate­r­i­al was need­ed for the war effort (para­chutes).

Nat­u­ral­ly, the pauci­ty of nylons did what pauci­ty always does: makes peo­ple want what they can’t have. Some of the reac­tions were inge­nious. Younger ladies com­pen­sat­ed for their loss by draw­ing seams up the backs of their legs with an eye pen­cil (a prac­tice I’m amazed hasn’t seen a retro resurgence). 

Oth­er reac­tions bor­dered on mania. Nylons sold on the black mar­ket for $20 a pair. Bet­ty Grable auc­tioned a pair at a war bond ral­ly for $40,000. When nylons went back into pro­duc­tion in 1945, the news­pa­per head­lines read like some­thing out of the Dar­win Awards: “Women Risk Life and Limb in Bit­ter Bat­tle For Nylons.”

Take it from some­one who knows, a silk stock­ing had a life expectan­cy of sec­onds to, hope­ful­ly, more than one or two wear­ings. A fin­ger­nail, cer­tain­ly a toe­nail, in fact any rough sur­face could snag the del­i­cate sheer silk. The pre­ferred 66 gauge 15 denier nylons did­n’t last either.

Mean­while the com­pet­i­tive prod­uct Pal­mo­live just want­ed buy­ers to have “That School­girl Com­plex­ion Look.”

In the Triplet adver­tise­ment an artist has added runs. Triplet one and two have iden­ti­cal “runs” in iden­ti­cal places on their legs; triple three has the same run but it is upside down. Odd!