10-03-2012, 04:13 PM
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This interview is my translation of a Portuguese article, published in a local newspaper, and featuring an interview with João dos Anjos. You can see the original article here (in Portuguese).
I tried to translate this interview the best way I could - any errors are entirely my fault. It is also a follow-up of this thread.

João dos Anjos worked at the Confiança factory for decades, and was also the creator of the Veleiro and Top Secret shaving creams and product lines. This is a rare and interesting interview with this man.

João dos Anjos: the soul of "Confiança" Factory

Saturday, September 20, 2008

[Image: Anjos.Jo%C3%A3o01.jpg]

João dos Anjos is almost a symbol of Confiança, the mythic soap and perfumery factory, perhaps one of the most profitable in Braga in the first half of the twentieth century, and still laboring today, although "amputated of certain products."

In a time of fierce competition, Confiança continues to manufacture "good products, just like 50 years ago, when they were appreciated both in the Portuguese market and abroad" - and the life of João dos Anjos is intertwined with the history of the company.
João dos Anjos highlights perfumes like TS [Top Secret] or Veleiro, "with a base of lavender which is very nice for either ladies and gentlemen", and in the soaps, the "Alfazema" [Lavender] bath soap.

The Confiança factory was born at Rua Nova de Santa Cruz [Braga] in 1894, and João dos Anjos witnessed the best moments of this company, when they came to produce eight thousand boxes of perfume a month and four thousand boxes of soap per month, in the late 30's. Toothpaste and talc powder were also manufactured in this company, who also had a remarkable social responsibility at the time - the company provided medical care to workers and their families, as well as full salaries, even if the employee was missing by disease or illness.

João dos Anjos started at Confiança at 11 years old, and served Confiança for more than 60 years - a full life's work. He started at October, 7th, 1932, when he completed the fourth grade ("I was almost a scholarly at that time!"). "My job was to answer the phone, but it not always ringed at that time, and so I generally ended up wandering in the several factory sectors - from soap, face-powder, toothpaste to perfumes - and this attention paid off. In 1944 I knew everything that I needed to know, and I started to be connected to all the products that came out of Confiança."

"I started doing everything and anything. I even made soap boxes. At that time, the soap was not made by steaming, but by direct heating through fire, to boil all the fats. And that's how I started making soap "- recalls João dos Anjos, the man who debuted all the new machines that arrived in Confiança.

"I did everything that was there to do inside Confiança - compose a cologne, make the base of the soap - that was one of the most important things at the time. Nowadays, the bases are not made inhouse, but imported" - he adds.

Among the many stories, João dos Anjos remembers some difficult periods for the company, with the arrival of the Offenback soap to Portugal, that was pink in colour (north of Coimbra) and blue (south from Coimbra) and the birth of CUF, who manufactured a soap "that was a marvel to the washerwomen." There was no bleach at the time, and the soap was king and "the only thing there was to take out the stains was to put the clothes in the sun, for whitening."

"The TS [Top Secret] is one of my creations, I composed that perfume which takes three or four essences, including the Rose of Bulgaria which was extremely expensive. It smells so bad, but gives an extremely good scent and fixation."

The permanent contact with perfume was such that "no one in my house ate nothing that I've putted my hand on. My lab coat was always dirty. I was everywhere within the factory."

The Confiança factory had three main sectors: the laundry soap, the body soaps and the perfumes. Within the latter, they had the toothpastes and the shaving creams. "I was the one who created Belopele, then Top Secret, and then Veleiro [shaving creams]".

The 30's were the pinnacle of further modernization of the Confiança factory, following years of great splendour. "We had a nursery and a doctor for workers and their families. If the workers were sick, the doctor would send them home, but the company paid them full salaries, as if they were working. "

Among the distinguished visitors, João dos Anjos remembers several visits by the Mayors and even Marcelo Caetano [Prime-Minister at the time].
"I was everywhere to monitor the visit of the Prime-Minister" - recalls João dos Anjos. "Explaining how everything worked, and all that was produced by the machines, until the moment that Marcelo vented with astonishing to the factory owners: "This boy is everywhere!"

Retired for 17 years, he "suffers with the possibility of the disappearance of the Confiança factory. (*NT) I left in 1992, with 60 years of work ", and recalls the last job he did: it was "inaugurating the most modern producing line of body soap, which I went to buy in Spain, which still works today with quality and it's perhaps the best there is in all the Iberian Peninsula."

Our conversation with João dos Anjos, "who never had a working timetable", does not end without a tribute to his co-workers, because even today, when he wakes up late, gets worried because "he will be late to the factory."
"They were always very honest, very serious people and great workers" - concludes João dos Anjos, a big fan of fado.

*NT - This interview was made before the acquisition of Confiança by the company Ach. Brito/Claus Porto, in 2009. Right now, the future of the Confiança factory is granted, in a new and modern location, still in the same city of Braga, Portugal.

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 10-03-2012, 04:17 PM
  • Johnny
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Emanuel, thank you for the translation.

180 24,735
 10-03-2012, 04:17 PM
  • Dave
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Wonderful Emanuel. Thank you for sharing. I still need to try both those brands

116 3,804
 10-03-2012, 04:45 PM
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Thanks so much for translating and sharing this! A very good read.

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 10-03-2012, 05:51 PM
  • beartrap
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Very interesting, thanks for taking the time!

88 4,233
 10-03-2012, 09:17 PM
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Thanks for sharing, Emanuel!
Muito obrigado, amigo.

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 10-03-2012, 10:16 PM
  • Teiste
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Obrigado , Emanuel. It was Great to read this interview.

89 7,215
 10-05-2012, 05:38 AM
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I don't know how I missed this article earlier, but many thanks Emanuel.

It's always interesting to read other people's stories. Recent history directly recounted by our elders is a true blessing for readers (and better yet) listeners.

Like many of us, I'm interested in learning different ways of doing things or perhaps making a better mousetrap. Often I find that older techniques or products are better for me in many ways. It's great to be connected to such old school people.

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 10-05-2012, 10:17 AM
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Thanks for the translation Emanuel, a great read. Now I have to try one of these creams.

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 10-08-2012, 01:45 PM
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Thanks so much, Emanuel! Smile

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