The original Paas Easter egg dye was invented by an American named William Townley. Townley was an owner of a drug store in Newark, New Jersey, where he concocted recipes for home products. In 1893, he figured out how to concentrate dye in tablet form and launched the modern Easter egg dyeing kit. The original price of each tablet was five cents and customers would make the dye by combining the tablets with water and vinegar. Townley eventually renamed his business the Paas Dye Company. The name Paas comes from “Pasen,” the word that the Dutch people used for Easter.
In 1901, according to a State of New Jersey inspection report, seven men and twenty women were employed in Townley's production facility at 60 Shipman Street in Newark. Paas eventually became the largest manufacturer of Easter egg dyes and Philip B. Townley succeeded his father as head of the company.
Paas Easter Egg Coloring Kits offered in 2009 include:
- Traditional - with 5 dye tablets to mix with vinegar and water
- Crack & Color
- Zoo Fun
- Sports Fanatic
- Egg Scribblers
- Egg Heads
- Sparkling Glitter
- Speckled Eggs
- Tie Dye
- Egg Splash
- EGGspress Yourself
- Color Cups
- Grip 'n' Dip
- Color Snaps
Popular culture references
- Comedian Patton Oswalt does a routine about the traditional dye kit.
- The Paas dye kit is prominently displayed in an episode entitled "Fantastic Easter Special" of South Park. The Marsh family are coloring eggs with a Paas dye kit and Stan begins asking his father why people color eggs at Easter time.
- An animated Easter special Peter and the Magic Egg (1983) starring the voice of Ray Bolger was created as a tie-in to the product.
- NBC television show 30 Rock mentions the egg dyeing company as owning the market, asking "when was the last time you bought a non-PAAS egg dye kit?"
- http://www.colorantshistory.org/NewarkColorantsIndustry.html Newark, New Jersey Colorants Industry. Retrieved on 2009-03-22
- http://www.paaseastereggs.com/history.htm Retrieved on 2009-03-22
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