I am rambling in the quarter of Saint Castalius, which goes for only a hundred meters, but at least a hundred years away from the palaces of the Art Nouveau Prague, when in the Street of the Sisters of Mercy, on the back wall of the deserted and decaying medieval Gemeindehaus, I catch sight of a curious plaster ad.
The ghost ad promotes Otta Soap. Its logo, the crayfish (in Czech, rak) suggests that the company was founded in Rakovník, that is, Rakonitz, by Joseph Otta in 1869. But when did they paint it here? The time delimiters are sufficient, as the Otta company, albeit nationalized, was still a going concern after the war, up until the 1990s, when it was acquired by Procter & Gamble.
I am researching in the library the traces of a disappeared inn of Prague, the Golden Angel in Smíchov, on the other bank of the Vltava, when among the old photographs of Smíchov I suddenly stumble upon this one, which depicts the building amely a Štefánikova 9/55:
The adjacent number 10/53 was built in the 1920s, leaving the firewall of number 55 free and suitable for advertisements. This photo was made in 1935. The ads change rapidly, for their effectiveness is contingent on novelty. Therefore the plaster ad in the Street of the Sisters of Mercy probably also comes from that period. In this way, it has advocated for Otta Soap for at least eighty or ninety years, since the end of the rehabilitation of the Old Town, already in its fifth generation. Time has really stopped on Koží Street.
Tábor, the tower of the South Bohemian Industrial and Military Exposition of 1929, from where the President of the Republic was greeted with trumpets, from here
“A riddle. Children, what is this? A figure? No! It is the name «Otta», the soap with the crayfish logo! Excellent and good for everything.”