We came across Bon Ami when were designing our Apartment Therapy Home Cleaning Kit and looking for a scrubbing powder that was environmentally friendly. It has been a staple ever since. Not only does it not rely on harsh phosphates, chlorine, perfume or dyes (as most other cleaners do), it has a gentle abrasive - provided by the mineral feldspar - that cleans really stubborn stuff without scratching.
Invented in 1886 by The J.T. Robertson Soap Company of Manchester, Connecticut, the history of Bon Ami is a classic story of early century entrepreneurship and mid century marketing and late century environmental concerns.
Bon Ami almost disappeared altogether in the late 60's only to be resuscitated by new ownership, a great ad campaign ("Never Underestimate the Cleaning Power of a 94 Year-Old Chick With a French Name.") and inclusion in the 1974 Whole Earth Epilog:
What a nice note to end on. If you haven't tried Bon Ami lately, why don't you put aside your Comet and your Ajax and give it a try.