How popular is the baby name Drene in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Drene.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Drene


Posts that Mention the Name Drene

Interesting One-Hit Wonder Baby Names

They came, they went, and they never came back!

These baby names are one-hit wonders in the U.S. baby name data. That is, they’ve only popped up once, ever, in the entire dataset of U.S. baby names (which accounts for all names given to at least 5 U.S. babies per year since 1880).

There are thousands of one-hit wonders in the dataset, but the names below have interesting stories behind their single appearance, so these are the one-hits I’m writing specific posts about. Just click on a name to read more. (Names that aren’t links yet have posts coming soon!)

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  • (none yet)

As I discover (and write about) more one-hit wonders in the data, I’ll add names/links to this page. In the meanwhile, do you have any favorite one-hit wonder baby names?

P.S. If this content looks familiar, that’s because you’ve seen it before! I’ve just put it in a new spot. :)

Ever Wonder about Wondra?

wondra, flour, baby name, 1960s

The Wanda-like name Wondra first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1963:

  • 1967: unlisted
  • 1966: 5 baby girls named Wondra
  • 1965: 5 baby girls named Wondra
  • 1964: 8 baby girls named Wondra
  • 1963: 8 baby girls named Wondra [debut]
  • 1962: unlisted

The name Wanda was will seeing strong usage in the mid-1960s (it was in the top 100 until 1966), so it had certainly set the scene for the appearance of Wondra.

But there’s a specific reason why Wondra showed up. And it has to do with flour, believe it or not.

In 1963, the General Mills company, longtime maker of Gold Medal Flour (see Norita), introduced a new version of the flour: Gold Medal Wondra. It was a fine, “instantized” flour created through a process called agglomeration. Instead of forming clumps in liquid, Wondra flour would quickly dissolve — making it useful for gravies and sauces. It also required no sifting.

Most importantly, there was a marketing campaign with a multi-million dollar budget (“the largest ever placed behind a new General Mills product”) that started in mid-August.

Gold Medal’s parent, General Mills, is allocating to [Wondra] one of the biggest new-product budgets ever established. On the schedule are big ads in 175 dailies, repeated commercials on over 150 TV stations, plugs on major network shows (“Empire,” Concentration,” “The Judy Garland Show”) and mentions on newscasts and other daytime TV programs.

After the name dropped out the data in 1967, it returned one last time, in 1979:

  • 1980: unlisted
  • 1979: 7 baby girls named Wondra
  • 1978: unlisted

This was thanks to an unrelated product with the same name: Wondra skin lotion, introduced by P&G during 1977 and apparently on the shelves until at least the mid-1980s.

Wondra lotion — and many of the other name-influencing products I’ve blogged about, like Monchel, Chardon, and Drene — may be gone, but Wondra instant flour is still available today. In fact, according to Kitchn, “the brand is so widespread [that] the name Wondra tends to reference any instant flour when called for in recipes.”

What are your thoughts on the baby name Wondra?

Sources:

Where did the baby name Danya came from?

danya, hand cream, baby name, 1930s
Danya ad, 1940

The name Danya began showing up in the U.S. baby name data in 1939:

  • 1943: 9 baby girls named Danya
  • 1942: 7 baby girls named Danya
  • 1941: 16 baby girls named Danya
  • 1940: 5 baby girls named Danya
  • 1939: 7 baby girls named Danya [debut]
  • 1938: unlisted
  • 1937: unlisted

The influence?

I think it was Danya hand cream, which was introduced by Pond’s in 1937.

baby names, products, danya, drene, 1940s, 1930s
Drene & Danya ad, 1939

Danya hand cream was advertised in both newspapers and magazines — particularly women’s magazines, such as Ladies’ Home Journal, McCall’s, Good Housekeeping, and Woman’s Home Companion.

In 1939, incidentally, it was cross-promoted with Drene shampoo. You could buy them both together for just 53¢ (a savings of 32¢!).

Despite all the marketing, Danya lotion saw poor sales. It was discontinued in 1943. (Monchel was another name-influencing beauty product that didn’t last long.)

The baby name Danya, on the other hand, stayed in the data for years to come. In fact, peak usage happened relatively recently: 126 baby girls in 2007.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Danya?

Sources:

Images from Good Housekeeping (Mar. 1, 1940, page 131) and Chicago Sunday Tribune (Feb. 12, 1939, page 3).

Finesse, Another Shampoo Baby Name

Ad for Stopette and Finesse from Life Magazine, 1953
© LIFE

The baby name Finesse debuted on the U.S. baby name charts in 1953, then disappeared again (until the 1980s).

  • 1954: unlisted
  • 1953: 7 baby girls named Finesse [debut]
  • 1952: unlisted

What inspired the debut?

Finesse, the “flowing cream shampoo” that was introduced to American consumers in late 1952.

It was the creation of cosmetic chemist Jules Montenier, whose first product had been the best-selling spray deodorant Stopette, introduced in the late 1940s.

Advertisements for both Stopette and Finesse ran in major magazines and also on television, which was still relatively new in the early ’50s. The print ad to the right appeared in LIFE magazine in early 1953, and here’s a Finesse commercial from the same year. Here’s another Finesse commercial that aired as part of the game show What’s My Line? in late 1952. (For most of the 1950s, Montenier was the main sponsor of What’s My Line?)

Both products were notable because of their innovative plastic packaging. Stopette’s squeeze-bottle allowed the product to be sprayed upward (as opposed to being dabbed on manually, like most deodorants of the era) and Finesse’s accordion-like squeeze bottle and flip-cap were much safer in the shower than typical glass shampoo bottles.

In 1956, Montenier sold his brands to Helene Curtis. Stopette was eventually taken off the shelves, but Finesse is still available today. (The brand is currently owned by Lornamead.)

Curiously, Finesse wasn’t the first shampoo-inspired name on the baby name charts. The earliest was Drene, which debuted in 1946, and next came Shasta, which was given a boost in 1948.

The word finesse has several definitions, including “refinement or delicacy of workmanship, structure, or texture.” It can be traced back to the Old French word fin, meaning “subtle, delicate.”

Sources:

Image: Ad from LIFE 9 Feb. 1953: 32.

Drene, The Shampoo-Inspired Baby Name

Drene Shampoo

The first and only time the baby name Drene made it onto the SSA’s list was 1946:

  • 1947: unlisted
  • 1946: 6 baby girls named Drene [debut]
  • 1945: unlisted

The inspiration?

Drene shampoo…kind of.

Drene, the first shampoo to use synthetic detergent instead of soap, had been introduced by Procter & Gamble in 1934. So the product had been on the market for more than a decade by the mid-1940s.

What drew people’s attention to Drene in 1946 specifically, then?

Drene Time (NBC), the Sunday night radio series sponsored by Procter & Gamble. The 30-minute variety show featured singing and comedy and was co-hosted by Don Ameche and Frances Langford. It only lasted from mid-1946 to mid-1947, but that gave it enough time to influence the baby name charts, if only slightly.

Don Ameche and Frances Langford went on to co-star in the sketch comedy radio series The Bickersons (1947-1951), which featured characters they’d played on Drene Time.

Drene shampoo continued to be sold until the 1970s, at which point P&G stopped production in the U.S.

Source: Drene Shampoo, Medium, 3 oz. | National Museum of American History