Summary

Packet of Nigger Boy Steel Wool Soap Pads, used and owned by Bill Boyd in the 1950s.

The William Boyd Childhood Collection includes most of the childhood possessions of William (Bill) Boyd, who was born in 1947 and raised in the Victorian town of Maryborough. Kept by Lillian Boyd (Bill's mother) for decades, upon her death the Collection was donated by Bill to the former Museum of Childhood at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia. When the Museum of Childhood closed it was transferred to Museum Victoria.

Physical Description

Rectangular yellow box with steel wool pads inside. The box has a picture of a young black boy, winking and with a big smile on two sides and a lady's hand scrubbing with a steel wool pad on the other sides. There is extensive text in yellow, black, red and white on the box.

Significance

Encompassing toys, books, clothing and other items, the William Boyd Childhood Collection is rare in its comprehensiveness: even ephemera such as the back of a Cornflakes box are included. The Collection demonstrates a range of prominent themes in the lives of postwar Victorian children, such as the ability to 'make do' under austere circumstances; the shift in toy manufacture towards plastic materials and mass production; the continuing cultural influence of Britain; the increasing embrace of American popular culture; the prominence of gender roles; and the popularity of transport and war themed toys for boys.

More Information

  • Collection Names

    William Boyd Childhood Collection

  • Collecting Areas

    Childhood

  • Acquisition Information

    Donation from Museum of Childhood, Edith Cowan University, Warren Snell - Edith Cowan University, Western Australian Museum (WAM), 13 Feb 2008

  • Manufacturer

    TW Featherstone, Leichardt, New South Wales, Australia, circa 1950s

  • Previous Owner

    Mr Bill Boyd, Victoria, Australia, circa 1950s

  • Inscriptions

    Side One: The New Improved (printed in red)/ NIGGER BOY (printed in black)/Steel Wool/SOAP PADS (printed in red)/the (printed in white) SOAP (printed in yellow) is (printed in white)/IN the (printed in white) PAD (printed in yellow) Side Two: IT WORKS SO FAST - YOU WORK LESS/because (printed in black)/the (printed in white) SOAP (printed in yellow) is IN the (printed in white) PAD (printed in yellow)/IT'S SO EASY/MANUFACTURED BY T.W. FEATHERSTON PTY. LTD.,/FOSTERS LANE, LEICHHARDT (printed in black) Side Three:The New Improved (printed in red) NIGGER BOY (printed in black)/Steel Wool/SOAP PADS (printed in red)/the (printed in white) SOAP (printed in yellow) is IN the (printed in white) PAD (printed in yellow) Side Four: IT WORKS SO FAST - YOU WORK LESS/because (printed in black)/the (printed in white) SOAP (printed in yellow) is IN the (printed in white) PAD (printed in yellow)/IT'S SO EASY/JUST DIP PAD IN WATER & POLISH POTS & PANS LIKE NEW (printed in black) On the ends: NIGGER BOY (printed in black)/Steel Wool/SOAP PADS (printed in red)/the (printed in white) SOAP (printed in yellow) is /IN the (printed in white) PAD (printed in yellow) On inside flaps of box: THERE IS A SPECIAL GRADE OF /FEATHERSTON'S/LONG STRAND STEEL WOOL/FOR INDUSTRIAL PURPOSES (printed in black) WHEN BUYING/POT MITS/ASK FOR/NIGGER BOY (printed in black)

  • Classification

    Domestic life, Cleaning, Cleaning products

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline

    History

  • Type of item

    Object

  • 3D format

    116 mm (Width), 120 mm (Depth), 162 mm (Height)
    Measurements taken before Conservation work undertaken. Measurements may change with treatment.

  • Keywords

    Cleaning Products, Domestic Life, Domestic Work, Manufacturing, Racial Identity, Racism, Steelwool Products, White Australia Policy, Cultural Stereotypes, Making History - William Boyd Childhood