PAAS Easter Eggs

Decorating eggs for Easter was one of my childhood joys. All you needed was a little vinegar, a few bowls, eggs and one of those cheap little coloring kits from the good folks at PAAS. Oh, and newspaper. You better have plenty of Newsdays on hand.

Those little kits date way farther back than my childhood. They were created by a New Jersey druggist named William Townley in the late 1800s. His festive little egg dying kits allowed you to color hard-boiled eggs in five pastel colors.

The process was simple. Take one of the color tablets and place in a bowl or glass with water and vinegar (You can smell it right now, I bet). Then drop in an egg and wait a bit. Take the little wire contraption and use it to lift the egg out of the liquid, unveiling your new beautiful Easter egg.

These kits became enormously popular in the decades that followed. They were quite inexpensive (about 10 cents in the 70s) and sold just about anywhere. As Easter approached each year, the smell of vinegar wafted from nearly every kitchen on the block as kids and their parents prepared for the holiday. Your newly covered eggs were ready to be hidden and hunted, or placed in an Easter basket with a hollow chocolate bunny, a handful of jelly beans and a lot of fake plastic green grass.

PAAS are still going strong today, in a variety of forms that are far more advanced than the simple kits we had back in the day. Save your sparkles and stickers though. I prefer the simplicity of earlier times, when five colors was all anyone needed to enjoy the simple pleasure of coloring eggs with PAAS kits.

Were these kits part of your childhood traditions back in the 70s. I’d love to hear your memories in the comments section below about your own egg coloring memories.

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