In an age when we are barraged by advertisements, entertainment, and in general constant stimulation it is easy to forget a time when people did more to make their own fun. Or put another way, were more often bored. One quaint forgotten entertainment that pops up now and then in turn-of-the-century papers is the soap bubble social. It consisted of just what it sounds like: a bowl of soapy water and some little pipes for blowing bubbles. Below are a mention of a church soap bubble social from an Ypsi paper, a description of a soap bubble social from a contemporaneous book, and an ad for Ivory soap from the December 7, 1888 Ypsilanti Commercial.
"The ladies of St. Luke will give a soap bubble social at the rectory, next Thursday evening, Nov. 8th. Oysters will be served for refreshments. It is hoped that there will be a large attendance as the proceeds will be used to pay for the recent repairs made on the church." --Ypsilanti Commercial, November 3, 1883
"SOAP BUBBLE SOCIAL: A large bowl of soapy water and a generous supply of clay pipes are the materials required for this social.
"The boys divide into pairs and engage in contests to see which can blow the largest bubble. When a boy is defeated by his opponent, he is out of the game and two more contest. This continues until the best blower is found. Three trials are given to each contestant.
"A word contest may be started to see which boy can form the greatest number of words out of the letters in "soap bubble." A prize is given to the one making the longest list in twenty minutes." --"Indoor Games and Socials for Boys," Cornelius Baker, 1913