Prell Radiant Shampoo

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Prell Shampoo was introduced by Procter & Gamble, of Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1947. This particular tube of Concentrated Prell Radiant Shampoo dates to around 1957 and was likely designed by Donald Deskey, a pioneer of modern industrial design. Deskey created packaging for many Procter & Gamble products, including the well-known Crest tube of toothpaste, Jif peanut butter, and Tide detergent.
Earlier in his career, Deskey designed the interior of Radio City Music Hall and worked on the 1939 New York World’s Fair. In the year before his death, Deskey gave some of his papers to the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York City.
Prell’s viscous green liquid and unbreakable bottle, featured in memorable advertising, made it fodder for many references in entertainment including television shows like Drawn Together, Seinfeld and The Simpsons. In the 1996 movie The Rock, Prell was used to represent the deadly VX gas. Prell was one of the highest selling shampoos in 1977 and is still sold today (2012) by Ultimark Products.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1957
Procter & Gamble Company
place made
United States: Ohio, Cincinnati
Physical Description
cardboard (packaging material)
metal (container material)
plastic (container material)
overall: 14.7 cm x 3.5 cm x 2.8 cm; 5 13/16 in x 1 3/8 in x 1 1/8 in
overall, box: 1 3/8 in x 5 3/4 in x 1 1/8 in; 3.4925 cm x 14.605 cm x 2.8575 cm
overall, tube: 5 1/2 in x 1 1/2 in x 7/8 in; 13.97 cm x 3.81 cm x 2.2225 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
The Fournet Drugstore Collection
Hair Care Products
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Hair Care Products
Beauty and Hygiene Products: Hair Care and Enhancement
Health & Medicine
Beauty and Health
Data Source
National Museum of American History


Today I found a used-up tube of this shampoo on the beach at Dead Horse Bay in Brooklyn! The objects there (from a burst landfill) date from the 1950s.

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