Rob is a trader in various merchandise as well as an avid collector of telephones.
Rob’s brother, Fred van Olphen, has been running an outdoor and camping franchise ‘Beaver Zwerfsport’ since 1977.
Around ten years ago a friend of his brother had passed away. His job was to manufacture a soap for cleaning high altitude fabrics, namely Gor-Tex. The soap was, and is still called, ‘Tech-Wash’. Rob was asked to take over the manufacture of this product by his brother around three years ago.
The porous membrane of high altitude Gore-Tex needs to be kept clean in order to remain porous. It is a fabric which allows for air to escape but allows nothing in. When the pores become blocked the fabric no longer functions and at high altitudes vapours of the body condense and freeze.
 
 
 
 

Shown here is a bottle of Tech-Wash.

‘Tech Wash’ is available at all Beaver Zwerfsport outlets, across Belgium and the Netherlands:

 

 

Before the production of Tech Wash, Rob had been involved in the import of a cheap but high quality soap from Czechoslovakia. The soap sold well on the market in Den Haag, which led to Rob ordering new stock every month. By the time the soap factory had closed Rob had sold over 42 000 bars.

 


Fred’s soap technician friend had also been working for a company named ‘Slee’ in Den Haag. This company had been experimenting with many different recipes and at one stage had come across a recipe for a soap to clean products containing feathers. This soap is made using a special type of wood from Southern America and involves a process of much brewing and filtering. Despite its awful smell, Wood-soap is very effective for this specific purpose.

 
   

The quality of a soap can be measured by its consistency when scraping ones nail through the surface. A good soap will gather and form a loose coil much like a pencil shaving. A bad soap will generally produce shrapnel. Identified by this technique, the soap sold on the market had thus become popular.

Half a bar of one of the 42 000 bars of soap sold by Rob.

 

     
 
     
 
When visiting Rob he had recommended a visit to a Turkish shop which has a good cross section of quality soaps at an affordable price. Our contact person was to be ‘Idris’, a student of law and importer of the various soap from Turkey. Idris wasn’t at his store at the time; never the less we bought the following soap.
Rob also mentioned that in most parts of the world soap has the name of either ‘Sabuna’ or ‘Savon’. This bar of soap is from my flat-mate Bas Louter. It’s from France and with the name ‘Savon’ in combination with the Turkish ‘Sabunu’, Rob holds true.