Who is Earl?

People are always asking us about Earl. Who is he? What does he do? Why is he on the label of our soap, and why did we use his name?  Whose Uncle is he, anyway?

He's real. Earl grew up in the 1930s, joined the Army, and became an engineer and machinist under the most demanding teacher of all: real-life experience.

The other day we got Earl to sit down and talk a little about himself. Isn't too keen on it, as he's a pretty humble guy. He doesn't like to make a big deal about anything, especially himself.

Earl is one of those hardworking, no-nonsense people that gets things done. He's a man of total integrity; he wouldn't tell a lie if you paid him. He's got a quiet, inner strength. He represents those qualities that make America great. Fact is, this country was built on guys like Earl.

Earl was born during the Great Depression in Ohio. He still lives there. Nobody wasted anything in those days, and his thrifty upbringing has stuck with him his whole life. "We couldn't afford toys when I was a boy, so I used to make my own," he said with a laugh. I was always interested in making things." When he reached his teens, he fell in love with cars. "We used to drag race at the Akron Airport," he said. "That kept us out of trouble."

It also revealed a knack of working with his hands, which he put to good use in the Army. He served America during the Korean War, as a mechanic for the 24th Division and for the 5th Calvary Division. After his hitch in the Army, he worked as an electrician and plumber for a company that made swimming pool filters. Then he got a job at a company making systems to keep dust out of all kinds of assembly lines. Earl worked in the lab perfecting these systems.

Earl was an important part of the company's research team, although if you ask him, he just shrugs and says he was just doing what they paid him to do. Unfortunately, the company went broke and another company bought it out. That company knew all about Earl and hired him to keep the dust collecting systems humming. And he did.

The day finally came where Earl decided to retire. This company still consults with him on sticky technical issues, so he's not sitting around on his resources all day.

Now he tinkers in his woodworking shop and makes toys for his grandkids. And every now and again he takes off to tool around in his motor home. In fact, he drove to Alaska and back a few years ago, a four-month adventure he loves to talk about. If you run ever run into Earl, grab a chair and ask him to tell you about the Grizzly Bear story.

So how did our good friend Earl come to be the face of Uncle Earl's Machinist Soap?

He confesses to being surprised when we asked him for permission to use his likeness on the label. "I was reluctant," he admitted, "but this soap really cleans up well." So that's the story of Uncle Earl and how he got into the soap business.

His guide in any design was the pragmatic, and his instinct was always frugal. He made sure not to waste anything, and he designed for safety and simplicity, and he thought long term. We had the honor of working with him long ago, and thought that naming our soap after him would be one way we could honor both him, and what he stands for.

That's the philosophy of Earl, and that's the philosophy behind Uncle Earl's Soap. Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions for Earl, e-mail them to us and we'll make sure he gets them.