In 1879, William and James’ best seller was candles. They had begun business together in Cincinnati. While they were in peak of popularity, the candle company was in trouble as Thomas Edison had invented the light bulb. It looked as if their candle product would become obsolete. People would like to use light bulb and would not use candle anymore.
The fears became reality when the market for candles plummeted since the candle product were now sold only for special occasions. The outlook of candle company appeared to be bleak and depressing for William and James. The situation was more miserable. Several months later the accident occurred. Without thinking one of the employee left to go to lunch and forgot to turn off the machine. Since the machinery was left in operation, air would work its way into the mixture.
However after discussing with his supervisor, the employee decided not to discard the mixture. Instead, he poured the mixture into frames and the soap hardened. Thus, the floating soap was born. He decided to give the soap a name that people could remember. Then the soap was named IVORY. This ivory soap became the mainstay of the William and James Company.
Amazingly, William and James began to receive letters from buyers of this “accidental” soap. They wanted more of the soap that floats. Ivory soap was introduced to the marketplace. Even though this interesting formula was one of their best products, they were perplexed as to how this happened. The mysterious formula for the floating soap was resolved when the lunchtime accident was revealed.