Soakys were popular during the 1950's - 60's. Briefly summed up they were plastic and rubber bottles manufactured in the shape of figures and vehicles filled with soap. Many bottles were based on television characters of that period as well as some popular horror figures like the Mummy, Wolfman and Frankenstein. Later bottles included Batman, Robin, The Beatles (Ringo and Paul), and vehicles like race cars, fire engine, and ambulance. These vehicles were referred to as Tidy Toys or Soaky Speed toys.
First produced by Colgate-Palmolive in the early 1950's Soakys filled with bubble bath depicted Disney and Warner Bros. characters popular at that time. Some of these characters were Superman, Rocky, and Bullwinkle. The Purex Company developed their own version of Soakys in the early 1970's referring to them as the 'Bubbly Club'. Like the Soakys, they too depicted cartoon characters. However, their characters were taken from the Hanna Barbera series some of which were the Flintstones, Atom Ant and Secret Squirrel. The bottles manufactured by Purex were made of plastic only. In addition to this use of what was considered a lesser quality material, they also did not have as fine adetail, nor complexity of design as the Soakys.
The basic premise was a figural bottle with a twist off cap or twist off cap covered with a hat. Later Soakys even had the whole head covering the twist off cap. You'll also find all of the containers were painted. Some in a variety of colors with some characters having more than one variation of color combinations.
In addition to coming filled with either liquid or powdered soap, some 'Soakys' came with a slot on the head so they could be used as a savings bank. Today the Soakys produced by Colgate-Palmolive are the preferred collectible. That is not to say that some of the Purex bottles are not more valuable due to the fact that there were fewer of them produced and the Hanna Barbera characters in some cases are more popular.
Purex went out of business in the 1980's and the records of Colgate-Palmolive are unavailable. Therefore, there is little accurate information about Soakys, i.e., designs, dates of manufacturer and the number of each that was produced.
By David Moncrief
Need more information on Soakys? Check out the 1960's reference and price guides on Amazon.