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Emanuel H. Bronner; Philosophical Soap Maker

March 22, 1997

Emanuel H. Bronner, 89, marketer of peppermint soap and philosophy. Born in Germany to a soap-making family, Bronner immigrated to Wisconsin as a young man. He married, fathered three children and worked for a soap-maker until his public speeches for peace and against fluoridation landed him in a Milwaukee jail. Transferred to a mental institution in Elgin, Ill., Bronner fled and came to Los Angeles in 1947. Two years later, he started making and selling Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap, which became a favorite of natural-food devotees, backpackers and hippies. The liquid soap had Bronner's 3,000-word philosophy, which he called his "Moral ABC," on the label. While making and selling the soap, he continued to espouse his philosophy in Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles. Bronner's operation moved to rural Escondido in the 1960s, and eventually sold 1.5 million bottles of liquid soap annually. The soap, he said, could be used for everything from washing the car to repelling mosquitoes to shining dentures to curing fungus. Under his All-One-God-Faith Inc. label, Bronner also marketed other aromatic soaps and instant soups and flavorings. His products, which are marketed by word of mouth only, are now sold by his sons. On March 7 in Escondido of complications from Parkinson's disease.

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