John T. Robertson
Excerpted from the archives of the Hartford Courant, September 25,1922
and A New England Pattern by William E. Buckley
excerpted by Jim Hall

President of Manchester Company, Who Died Last Week, Conceived Idea.

President John T. Robertson of the Orford Soap Company of Manchester, the manufacturers of Bon Ami, died [on September 17, 1922] while returning from Europe last week. Mr. Robertson was born in Glastonbury, January 14, 1856. His education began in the common schools, was continued in the Glastonbury Academy and finished with a two years' course in a Hartford business college. After clerking in stores in Hartford and Glastonbury for a few years, he turned his attention to the soap manufacturing business when he entered the employ of the J.B. Williams Company of Glastonbury in 1882. He remained with this concern for three years and then left to begin the manufacture of shaving and toilet soaps.

Perfected Bon Ami

The following year he perfected a mineral scouring soap now known as Bon Ami. Mr. Robertson was confident that this product had a future and in 1891 he came to Manchester and organized a company of some well known business men. They moved into an old rented building at the corner of Oakland and North Main Street, and were incorporated under the name of The J.T. Robertson Soap Company. The mineral soap was christened Bon Ami ("Good Friend"), with a newly-hatched chick as its emblem, and "Hasn't scratched yet" as its slogan; and was extensively advertised. With the aid of William H. Childs, owner of the rented factory, who took charge of the selling at New York, the business grew to such an extent that the modern manufacturing plant built for the Mather Electric Company was purchased and enlarged and has since been the home of Bon Ami.

In addition to his interests in the Orford Soap Company, Mr. Robertson has been at the head of the J.T. Robertson Soap Company, manufacturers of other kinds of soap, with factories at Syracuse, N.Y. and Montreal, Canada. Mr. Robertson was one of the organizers and original directors of the Manchester Trust Company and was its first vice-president at the time of his death. He was also a director in the Bon Ami Company of New York, the selling organization of the Orford Soap Company.

[Ed. Note: To see an aritcle from the "Vintage Reproductions" section of this web site, please click Mather Electric. The building itself is now the home of the Time Machine model and hobby store.]