In “The powder struggle that started a war” (Diary, MW March 10) we read about Persil having played a role in the Versailles Treaty of 1919. We are not quite sure whether this is an example of the black British humour which is very popular here on the Continent, or whether we should take it seriously.
The brand history of Persil has, in fact, something to do with treaty negotiations, specifically one between Henkel and Lever which was signed in 1927.
The Persil case history in brief: Henkel launched Persil originally in 1907. During the years that followed, the distribution of Persil in France and Britain was regulated through licence contracts with other companies.
When Lever took over our licensee in Britain in 1919 the Persil licence devolved to Lever. Protracted lawsuits over the Persil name led to the treaty of 1927, in which Henkel and Lever divided their interests in Persil internationally.