Armour and Company, Chicago (Armour Laboratories)

Established in the mid 1860’s by Phillip Danforth Armour and John Plankinton, Armour and Company was a meat packing business that by the turn of the century had grown into one of the largest companies in the United States. For many years its presence in Chicago’s Union Stock Yards contributed, in no small way, to that city’s reputation as the capital of the American meatpacking industry.

Not only a meat producer, the company was heavily involved in the manufacture of by-products utilizing materials that were typically wasted in the slaughtering process. According to an October 20, 1901 story in the Buffalo (N.Y.) Times:

It is a saying in Chicago that the house of Armour & Co., in the slaughter of hogs, “loses nothing but the squeal of the hogs” when they are led to the slaughter. Employing many thousands of men in the varied industries growing out of their vast slaughtering business, the firm has found it immensely profitable to utilize all portions of the raw material by the firm.

The story went on to provide this menu of  products manufactured under the Armour name at the turn of the century. The list would grow well into the hundreds by the 1920’s

The business got its start with John Plankinton, not in Chicago but further north in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His biography, available on wisconsinhistory.org tells the story.

John Plankinton was a meat packer and businessman. In 1849 he began the packing of beef and hog products, and in 1852 formed a partnership with Frederick Layton under the firm name of Layton and Plankinton Packing Co. In 1861 Layton withdrew and Plankinton continued the business alone until 1863, when he was joined by Phillip D. Armour, and the firm became Plankinton, Armour and Co. (Plankinton & Armour)

Armour had arrived in Milwaukee by way of California where he had been lured by the gold rush.  Whether he made any money on the west coast is apparently open to speculation. According to his biography published in “A History of the City of Chicago,” published in 1900:

Mr Armour returned to the East in 1856, after having a varied experience in mining enterprises, and it was conjectured at the time that he brought back with him considerable of the golden dust, but the facts of this interesting matter are known only to himself.

Another biography, this one published in the January 7, 1901 edition of Chicago’s “Inter Ocean,” described Armour’s Milwaukee years leading up to his association with Plankinton.

Mr. Armour went to Milwaukee, where he had a friend, Frederick S. Miles, who was engaged in the wholesale grocery and commission business, and soon became his business partner, the style of the firm being Miles & Armour. The firm was prosperous, but in 1863 Mr. Armour withdrew from it to engage in the shipment of wheat, in which he saw more money. He purchased the largest grain elevator in the city, and was again as successful as could be desired.

In the meantime the pork-packing firm of Plankton & Layton was dissolved, and John Plankinton formed a new firm, in the same business with Mr. Armour, under the style of Plankton & Armour.

       

It appears that shortly after his association with Plankinton the financial foundation for the Armour business was laid. His “Inter Ocean” biography went on to say:

The firm was successful from the first, and suddenly amassed a great fortune, all through the brilliant management of Mr. Armour. This happened in the spring of 1863, when the war of the rebellion was drawing to a close. At that time pork was selling at $40 a barrel, and the New York operators were buying it recklessly under the impression that it would go to $60. Mr. Armour believed that the war would soon end, and that pork would decline to $20 or less. He laid his plans before his partners, who gave him their approval, and then went posthaste to New York, where he sold pork short for $40 as long as anybody would buy it. Sure enough, pork soon fell to $18, and Mr. Armour and his partners were made millionaires.

In the meantime Phillip’s brother, Herman O. Armour, had started a grain commission business in Chicago sometime in 1862 and by 1864 the two brothers along with Plankinton had joined together in that city under the name H. O. Armour & Co. In 1868 they began packing pork under the name Armour & Co. and by 1870 all the business transacted in Chicago was  done under the Armour & Co. name.

According to a story written years later in the December 2, 1951 edition of the Tribune, the Chicago operation moved to the Union Stock Yards in 1872 where it would remain until the late 1950’s.

The first Armour hog plant was the old Bell house in the Archer Avenue packing center which had been built up during the Civil War. About 1868 packers began to move south to the area just west of the stock yards and Armour followed in 1872.

As early as 1865 Herman left another brother, Joseph, in charge of the Chicago operation and opened an office in New York under the name Armour, Plankinton & Co. The office was first listed in the 1866/1867 New York City directory at 129 Broad Street in Manhattan.

By the end of the decade the Armours had also established another plant, this one in Kansas City run by a fourth brother, Simeone Armour, under the name Plankinton & Armours.

As early as the mid-1870’s a story in the Kansas City Times clearly viewed their operation as the leader in the country and world’s meat packing industry.

Thoroughly identified with the packing business of the whole country, there are no names in the United States more familiar to the trade than those of the Plankinton’s and the Armours, there being two of the former-father and son-and four of the latter-brothers. These six gentlemen stand at the head of beyond all comparisons the heaviest beef and pork packing business of the world…

A May 10, 1880 story published in the The (London) Times featured the American bacon and pork industry and included this description of the Armour business.

A few hogs are slaughtered and salted by the farmers, but the great bulk pass to the packers…

Messrs. Armour & Co. handle nearly 1,000,000 hogs annually at Chicago, and have similar establishments at Milwaukee and at Kansas City, at each of which upwards of 400,000 are slaughtered and packed. From small beginnings in 1860 their business has steadily increased; within six years it has doubled. At the Chicago works at the stock yards, 10,000 pigs are frequently killed daily in summer; 20,000 constitute a full day’s slaughtering in winter. Two thousand tons of meat are sometimes dispatched in a single day from the railway sidings which are conveniently brought into the premises. The work covers 14 acres; the buildings are four stories high, and are being constantly added to. There are six lifts, and hydrants and fire hose are fixed at convenient points on every story. A trained fire brigade is recruited from among the operatives. The premises are insured for a million dollars, the annual premium on different parts of the works varying from 1 to 1 3/4  percent. Two thousand men are employed in summer and 3,500 in winter.

The raw material which keeps this great establishment moving is conveniently found in the contiguous market where 60,000 hogs are sometimes pitched (sold) in a morning, and on one occasion last summer the number ran up to 80,000… Messrs. Armour have large pens and yards where their purchases are fed and watered until required. No fasting is practiced as in England. The grunter has his breakfast even if he is doomed before dinner time.

An advertisement published in the March 18, 1882 edition of the (New Orleans) Times-Democrat, for one of Armour’s agents, McCloskey & Henderson,  provided this list of canned meat products being  produced and shipped out of Chicago by Armour at the time. By this time the business included beef and even chicken soup, as well as pork.

Over the course of several years during the early 1880’s the Armours and Plankinton severed their various business relationships, apparently amicably. As the dust settled, the resultant situation was summarized in the October 26, 1884 edition of the Kansas City Times.

As appears from a dissolution notice published in the advertisement column of THE TIMES this morning, the partnership which has existed for twenty-five years between Mr P.D. Armour and Mr. John Plankinton, has been dissolved, Mr. Armour retiring from the Milwaukee house and Mr. Plankinton from the Kansas City house, which will in the future be known under the firm name of the Armour Packing Company.

The dissolution does not effect either the Chicago or New York houses, as Mr. Plankinton has not been connected with the former business for several years and a few weeks ago sold his interest in the New York house to Mr. H. O. Armour retaining an interest in but one establishment, that of Milwaukee, of which he is the chief owner.

It was during the remainder of the 1800’s that the Armours laid the foundation for much of the company’s expansion into industries related to their meat packing business, adding a glue factory, soap works and a pharmaceutical department among others to their operation.

A story in the January 1, 1886 edition of the Chicago Tribune announced the acquisition of the Wahl Bros. glue factory.

In a circular-letter to the trade, dated December 21, 1885, they announce the purchase of Wahl Bros’ extensive glue factory (which covers eight acres) in this city, together with the good will and all appurtenances. They will continue to produce glue in all it’s varieties, and all other products that their predecessors did, including gelatin, brewers’ isinglass, size for papermakers, bone-meal, neatsfoot oil, etc., etc. The regular packing business of the firm furnishes them with a fresh daily supply of materials, which is such an essential feature in securing superior qualities and perfect results… They employ 300 hands in the glue factory.

Ten years later, another item published in the Chicago Tribune, this one on May 5, 1896, announced the formation of their soap works.

Commencing this day the firm of Armour & Co. has added another feature to their business, to be known as the Armour Soap Works. The new building and plant are situated at Thirty-first and Benson Streets. With the inauguration of the soap works Armour & Co. now utilize everything in the way of raw material from the hog and steer.

An April 17, 1897 advertisement For Oshkosh Wisconsin’s “Kruschke’s” Department Store, confirmed that less than a year later the soap works was manufacturing at least three different soap brands.

Both the glue works and soap works were included in this May 28, 1897 advertisement in the Chicago Chronicle.

By the early 1890’s a pharmaceutical department had also been established  as evidenced by this excerpt from an April 10, 1892 Chicago Tribune article.

In the downtown office of Armour & Co. are several rows of shelves filled with bottles and at first sight a stranger would think the “old man,” as P.D. Armour is called by his employees among themselves, was running a drug store on the side to make both ends meet. In these bottles are a great and unique variety of preparations extracted from animals killed at the yards. The man who manages this department is a duly licensed druggist and physician, and the big packer’s hobby when receiving visitors is to invite them to sample his dried bullock’s blood or desiccated ox gail.

It’s likely that the above mentioned licensed druggist and his department were the very beginning of  Armour Laboratories. According to a November 13, 1949 Tribune story:

One of their earliest (products) was pepsin, a commercially valuable compound recovered from the stomach linings of hogs. For many rears the rudimentary laboratories at Armour’s were called the “pepsin department.”

On April 15, 1900 Phillip Armour formed a corporation that included most, though not all, of the Armour businesses. His reasoning was explained in a February 18, 1900 Chicago Tribune story.

The business of Armour & Co always has been carried on as a partnership. The recent death of Phillip D. Armour Jr., and the illness of Phillip D, Armour, the founder and head of the firm, are said to have supplied the reasons for deciding to put the business in a stock company. For several months the elder Armour has been ill, but it was not believed his illness was sufficiently grave to warrant any change in the management of the business. The death of his son was a severe blow, however, and is said to have determined the plan of incorporation.

The new corporation included the packing houses (excluding the Armour Packing House of Kansas City),  glue factory and soap factory, as well as a felt and hair factory and rail car shops.

The factories that will be taken into the stock company are large concerns. The glue factory is one of the largest in the country. The soap factory of Armour & Co., a more recent establishment, is also an important plant. The hair factory has an output which is said to be unequalled by that of any similar institution. The car factory is used to manufacture and keep in repair the hundreds of cars used in the transportation of the meat and other products of the various Armour industries.

In addition to the manufacturing plants, the packing house includes the large cattle interests of the firm. The agencies of Armour & Co. also will fall into the corporation. In every city of any size in the United States Armour & Co. has an agency for the distribution of dressed beef and the other packing house products of the firm. There are besides agencies in foreign countries. These are to be found in every port of consequence in Europe. In Asia and Africa the firm also carries on its widespread business.

The stockholders of the new corporation were Phillip D. Armour (50%), his son, J. Ogden Armour (25%) and the estate of his deceased son Phillip D. Armour, Jr. (25%). Shortly after the business incorporated, Phillip Sr. also passed away and J. Ogden Armour assumed the presidency. It was J. Ogden Armour who, according to an August 17, 1927 Chicago Tribune story, developed the business into a world wide organization.

Expansion in this country was followed by invasion in the South American field. In 1909 Armour & Co. acquired an interest in an Argentine packing plant. Now (1927) it has in that country five large plants whose products go to the world meat trade.

In the teens their food product menu extended well beyond the by-products of their meat packing business.  A product list published in 1919 bears this out.

According to the February, 1917 edition of a journal called “Advertising & Selling,” their food product line alone had reached over 300 items that were being distributed by 350 branch houses throughout the country. So it was out of necessity that around this time they unified much of their advertising under the “Armour Oval Label”

According to the 1917 story in “Advertising and Selling:”

About two years ago (1915) it was adopted as a permanent trademark for all Armour top grade products, and since then has appeared in all the advertising of these products; newspaper, poster, magazine, window display, booklet advertising, alike, all have the Oval Label as a prominent and permanent feature of the copy. (A label committee , composed of representatives from the selling, operative and executive departments, decides upon the eligibility of a product for the Oval Label, only the highest quality products being admitted to this class.)

Armour Laboratories had also grown significantly from the fledgling department of the early 1890’s.  An advertisement published in the 1919 edition of the “Modern Hospital Year Book,” included the laboratory’s pitch to the medical community.

We are headquarters for the organotherapeutic agents. Our abattoirs supply enormous quantities of glands and membranes from which digestive ferments and endocrine gland preparations are made. Raw material is selected with rigorous care. Nothing but healthy normal material is employed, and this is put into process before any deterioration has set in.

The laboratory is conveniently located. All desiccating is done in vacuum ovens at a low temperature, which prevents injury to active principles.

The advertisement went on to provide a descriptive list of their preparations.

The post World War I years brought pressures on the business that would ultimately, in the 1920’s, transition it from a company closely held by the Armour family to a publicly held company. A feature on J. Ogden Armour published at the time of his death in the August 17, 1927 edition of the Chicago Tribune described the influence of World War I on the corporation.

During the war American packers carried tremendous meat supplies, both for the American armies and for those of European allies. Prices of live stock and meat joined the wartime inflation.The business of Armour & Co. increased sales to around $1,000,000,000 a year…

With the abrupt ending of the war American packers and the allied governments alike had vast quantities of meat on hand. The wartime demand faded. Governments cancelled contracts and threw their surplus stocks on the market for whatever they would bring. Prices of live stock and meat dropped. With the post-war depression the currencies of Europe also plunged down in value.

The result of all this was that the large inventories of American meat packers lost tremendously in value. Their stocks in Europe were paid for in constantly depreciating currencies. It is estimated that Armour & Co. lost around $125,000,000 in two years.

Ultimately in 1923 a refinancing of the business was effected that ultimately resulted in J. Ogden Armour both relinquishing the presidency and selling the majority of his stock.

The Associated Press announced the organizational change on January 3, 1923.

Armour & Co. for the first time since it was organized in 1862, today operated without a member of the Armour family in the president’s chair.

Instead F. Edison White, a worker from the ranks, occupied the controlling station made vacant by the resignation of J. Ogden Armour yesterday, who became chairman of the board of directors.

However, members of the Armour family will retain important positions with the company. Phillip D. Armour III who has been a vice president of the company was designated first vice president, and Lester Armour was continued as a member of the board of directors.

A Chicago Tribune Story, dated February 14, 1925 revealed that the refinancing plan also included an option to purchase the bulk of Mr. Armour’s stock holdings within five years. The story went on to say that the purchase began at that time with a third of his holdings.

Armour & Co., largest of the packing concerns, will be owned by a large body of investors and will cease to be a family corporation with the working out of plans made known yesterday.

It is understood that about one third of the total stock holdings of J. Ogden Armour will be bought by the banking group, which conducted the financial reorganization of Armour & Co. two years ago, and then offered publicly to investors. Later on and as market conditions permit, further offerings of stock will be made.

J. Ogden Armour’s 1927 Chicago Tribune obituary mentioned that Armour’s stock holdings at the time of his death were not large, so it appears much of his remaining stock was sold over the next two years. Four years later in January, 1931 P. D. Armour, the grandson and namesake of the founder, resigned as first vice president. He would be the last member of the Armour family to hold an executive position in the corporation.

Overall the company had its ups and downs but continued to grow through the 1930’s and early 1940’s as evidenced by this financial snapshot included in the Chicago Tribune’s January 23, 1943 edition.

Stockholders were given a glimpse of company progress as indicated by a comparison of balance sheets of last year and of 1923, after a reorganization. Funded debt was reduced from 144 million to 62 million dollars during the 20 years, and sales increased from slightly more than 800 millions to 1 billion 300 millions.

Around this time they were contributing significantly to the World War II effort, so much so that an April 11, 1943 Chicago Tribune story announced that 90 to 95 per cent of Armour’s total production was devoted to war production. As a result, the army and navy awarded their E flag to company officials.

Notice that Armour & Co. had been elected to the award came in a letter from Robert P. Patterson, Undersecretary of War. The letter read in part; “You men and women of Armour & Co. are making an outstanding contribution to victory. You have every reason to be proud of the record you have set, and your practical patriotism stands as an example to all Americans.

Among the company’s specific accomplishments in aiding the war, (Armour)President Eastwood cited the following: “The development of wood veneer drums to replace metal drums, such as are used in the shipment of lard; a new method of smoking ham and bacon for army use which takes 96 hours instead of seven days; the telescoping of lambs to save shipping space.”

He also pointed to a new product “Tushonka,” a canned pork popular with Russians; to a new style of “stuffing horn” for packaging of ground beef; and, finally to the formula for “Pemmican,” an emergency ration carried by airplanes and ships.

The award also recognized the achievements of Armour Laboratories.

Brig. Gen. C. C. Hillman, acting Surgeon General, Washington D. C., said in his statement of the award to Armour Laboratories that they had “given a rich endowment, not only to the war effort but to the entire field of medicine. Listed on the chart of Armour’s achievements will be their production of ligatures, insulin, and other medical supplies for the military service. In addition to this, your conversion of facilities for the absorption of great production loads all shall be listed on the war chart victory.”

After the war the company continued to introduce new products and innovations. In 1948 the company introduced their famous brand, DIAL deodorant soap.

An August 11, 1948 Chicago Tribune advertisement bragged that the soap was so popular that after being introduced, it immediately sold out.

In the mid-1950’s Armour became the first company to vacuum package their bacon as well as other meats. A May 5, 1956 Chicago Tribune feature provided the details.

Armour was the very first to discover how to keep bacon slicer-fresh from packing house to your pan. Old style packages of bacon usually lost freshness after a week or 10 days, so Armour research set about developing a package that would maintain freshness for three weeks.

Since air was known to be the villain that made bacon lose flavor, the obvious solution was to remove the air and pack bacon in a vacuum.

Obvious? Well not exactly. While vacuum packed jars and cans have been used for years, the requirement that a bacon package be both flexible and transparent gave the problem new complexity.

Several hundred kinds of materials, and nearly as many different shapes and types of packages were tried and discarded.

Finally, a new plastic was tested and found to have just the right combination of strength and pliability for use in newly developed vacuum packaging machines.

Subsequent taste tests revealed that bacon packaged the new way keeps fresh much longer than was once thought possible. This fundamental research on bacon packaging was so successful that it soon led to vacuum packaging of many other products.

Armour Laboratories was also making significant advances during the late late 1940’s and 1950’s. Some were enumerated in a December 2, 1951 story.

Recently the science of animal utilization has reached its highest point at Armour & Co., which is now headed by Frederick Specht. The company views its laboratory accomplishments primarily from a humanitarian, rather than a money making angle.

The outstanding achievement was development of the pituitary hormone , ACTH, which was ordered into production in the early summer of 1949. It has been used in treating arthritis and 20 other diseases. A later development is trypsin, which has the ability to turn dead flesh into liquid without damaging live tissue. Trypsin, like the insulin used by diabetics, come from a meat animal’s pancreas.

Hormones are not the only medical products of meat packing. Liver extracts are used in treating anemia, many products are made from animal blood, and a stomach lining substance is used for ulcer.

As the 1960’s approached the overall corporate picture was apparently beginning to lose some shine. In 1959 Armour discontinued all slaughtering operations in Chicago. A story dated June 9, 1959 in the Chicago Tribune detailed the facts and reasoning behind the decision.

Armour & Co. announced Monday that it will discontinue all slaughtering operations at six plants, including the one at Chicago…

Approximately 5,000 employees will be affected at all plants, including 2,000 in Chicago. Armour employs nearly 3,000 persons in its Chicago unit, but not all of them work in slaughtering operations. Such Chicago operations as refining of fats and oils, wool pulling, soap manufacturer, and sales and distribution will be continued. In addition, Armour will continue to buy cattle on the Chicago market for its eastern plants…

The company said there were several basic causes for its inability to reverse substantial losses encountered at these plants. These include obsolescence of buildings, many of which were constructed more than 50 years ago; shifts in live stock numbers sectionally; declining receipts of live stock at some markets; and a general and widely recognized condition of excess production capacity in the meat packing industry.

Ultimately Armour was acquired by the Greyhound Corporation in 1970. This strange marriage is explained by company histories.com.

The country’s leader in the motor coach industry since 1930, Greyhound under chairperson and CEO Gerald H. Trautman had begun to diversify its operations in the 1960’s in response to declining bus ticket sales. As automobiles and airline tickets became less expensive and bus line profits dwindled, Greyhound acquired small companies in the fields of automobile leasing, money orders, insurance, and catering. Greyhound board members were approached by Armour in the late 1960’s when General Host threatened Armour with a hostile takeover, and Greyhound was persuaded to add Armour to its subsidiaries. The 1970 $400 million purchase was Greyhound’s first major acquisition. To reduce its investment, Greyhound immediately sold $225 million of Armour assets, retaining only the meatpacking and consumer products subsidiaries. The meatpacking operation was renamed Armour Foods, while the consumer products operation was renamed Armour-Dial.

Less than a year later, and after more than 100 years, the Arizona Republic announced that, now a subsidiary of Greyhound, the Armour headquarters was leaving Chicago for Phoenix Arizona.

Greyhound Corp. the nation’s 29th largest firm, and its big subsidiary, Armour and Co., are moving from Chicago to Phoenix.

Gerald H. Trautman of Paradise Valley, chairman and chief executive said the move will affect ” a few hundred”employees of the headquarters staffs of the Greyhound Corp. and of these subsidiaries:

Armour and Co., Greyhound Bus Lines, Greyhound Leasing and Financial Corp., and Greyhound Computer Corp., except its service center personnel.

The largest of Greyhound’s subsidiaries is Armour and Co., acquired in 1970. From its start in meat packing, that firm has diversified into a modern industrial complex.

 

Today Armour meat products continue to be sold by Smithfield Foods and are still marketed under an oval label.

Over the years I’ve found two Armour bottles, both small and mouth blown. One embossed “Armour Laboratories,” is colored brown and approximately one ounce in size. The Armour Laboratory Pharmaceutical List, published in the 1919 “Modern Hospital Yearbook” included a one ounce bottle size for both pepsin and pancreatin powders.

The second bottle is approximately two ounces in size and embossed “Armour and Company,” not “Armour Laboratories,” which leads me to believe its not a pharmaceutical bottle. Armour produced lemon, orange and vanilla flavoring extracts in several size bottles, including two ounces, so I’m leaning in that direction.

 

ED. Pinaud, Paris

Not far from Paris, on the Ourcq Canal, is the thriving town of Pantin, famous for the works of Ed. Pinaud, where is manufactured the delightful perfumery which has made its name so widely known.

That’s the opening paragraph of an October, 1893 Merck Report feature on Ed. Pinaud. A French perfume and cosmetics line originally founded by Edouard Pinard, their brand strength was and continues to be such that, although produced for almost two centuries and under several different company names, the brand name “Pinaud” has remained steadfast.

There are several different versions of Pinaud’s early history, but I’ll stick with the one presented on the web site of Washington D. C.’s Dumberton Oaks Research Library and Collection.

Ed. Pinaud (Ed. Pinaud’s Perfumery) is a Parisian perfume and cosmetics company founded by Edouard Pinaud (1810 to 1868) in 1830 at 37, boulevard de Strasbourg, Paris. He named the business A la Corbelle Fleurie. In the 1850’s, Emile Meyer (1817 to 1888) became a partner and opened a second shop called Parfumerie de la Noblesse. After Pinaud’s death, his son-in-law, Victor Klotz (1836 to 1906) took over the company, which was renamed Victor Klotz et Cie although its products were sold under the Ed. Pinaud name.

The 1893 Merck feature hinted at the size of the Paris operation just before the turn of the century.

To return to the factory at Pantin, which is an imposing building, we find that no less than 200 hands are employed, and, if that does not give an idea of the magnitude of the business transacted, the sight of several private freight cars bearing the firm’s name, most assuredly do so.

The presence of Pinaud’s products in the United States dates back as least as far as the mid-1840’s. The earliest Pinaud reference I can find was in a newspaper advertisement for the business of G. Saunders & Son, located at 177 Broadway in New York City. Printed in several October and November, 1845 editions of the Hartford (Conn.) Courant, the advertisements touted cosmetic and shaving products under a wide range of categories one of which was “perfumery,” where it stated:

PERFUMERY – The most choice of Guerlain’s, Lubin’s, Prevost’s, Ede’s, Patey’s, Roussel’s and Pinaud’s Extracts, with a full assortment of Perfumery, in boxes suitable for presents.

This October 13, 1855 Brooklyn Evening Star advertisement for a company called the McNary Brothers mentioned Pinaud products “Cosmetique” and “Almond Soap” by name.

Back then Pinaud’s business in the U. S. was with firms like G. Saunders & Son and McNary Brothers who apparently imported the company’s products directly from Paris. That being said, there was no orchestrated plan for growth in this country. According to Merck’s 1893 feature that all began to change in the late 1870’s.

Long ago demand for the Ed. Pinaud’s goods necessitated the establishment of branch offices in London, Brussels, St. Petersburg, Melbourne, and other leading cities of the world; but, strange to say, only within the last seventeen years has the house been represented in this country. Their first New York office was at 10 Cortlandt Street, subsequently moved to 496 Broadway; but very little business was done, and our visitors to Europe continued to bring back dainty bottles of Ed. Pinaud’s perfumery, sachets, and sweetly odorous soaps as Parisian souvenirs, in ignorance that they could have purchased them here.

In May 1890, the agency was transformed into a branch house with Emile Utard in charge, and soon after “Parfumerie Ed. Pinaud” was a sign which became naturalized and the goods, once being known, leaped into popular favor.

The 10 Cortlandt Street address was actually the address of Henry Dreyfus & Co., who was listed there (sometimes 6 Cortlandt St.) as a perfumer (sometimes importer) from 1880 up through 1887. In a series of 1886 advertisements that ran in several U. S. cities they referred to themselves as Ed. Pinaud’s “sole agent for the United States.”

 

During the same time Dreyfus also listed another another office in Manhattan at 13 (and later 25) Maiden Lane. That office listing included the occupational heading of “diamonds,” so Pinaud’s lack of growth mentioned in the above story could certainly have been, at least partially due to Dreyfus’s other interests.

In any event, by 1890, Utard, not Dreyfus, was listed as a “perfumer,” now at the 496 Broadway address. A year later the company was listed at 42 East 14th street where they would remain until the  early 1900’s.

The feature goes on to name a wide variety of perfumes, essences, toilet preparations and perfumed toilet soaps being produced by Pinaud in the late 1890’s. Here’s an advertisement touting their “latest creations,” in the Spring, 1898.

Around the same time, a December 1897 item found in the Druggist Circular and Chemical Gazette advertised a line of extracts that included 37 scents with names like Lilly of the Valley, New Mown Hay and Spring Flowers.

Men were also in luck with a number of hair and shaving products. This December 1891 advertisement included products like “Brillantine” (for hair and moustache brilliancy and softness), “Eau De Quinine” (the king of all hair tonics), “Cosmetique” (whose reputation for excellence is universal), and “Lavender Water” (for use after shaving has no equal).

They even advertised dental products as evidenced by this December, 1897 advertisement.

Product’s Pinaud called their “leading specialties” were included in this price list published in the October, 1897 edition of the “Practical Druggist and Pharmaceutical Review of Reviews.”

The company’s growth through the turn of the century lead to their construction of a new United States headquarters in 1903. Located in Manhattan at 84 – 90  Fifth Avenue, Pinaud advertisements in the following years would mention its address as simply “the Pinaud Building.” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle described its opening in a March 6, 1903 story, referring to the new building as a “skyscraper.” (By my count it’s 11 stories.)

NEW ED. PINAUD BUILDING

On the site formerly occupied by the Old Guard Armory, the proprietor of the Ed.Pinaud perfumery has erected a skyscraper that contains all the latest devices in construction and equipment. To celebrate the opening yesterday Victor Klotz, the proprietor, tendered a reception during the afternoon to his friends and customers. The building is at Fifth Avenue and Fourteenth Street, Manhattan.

Mr. Klotz came from Paris to attend the opening. The offices, all newly fitted up and finely decorated, were adorned with French and American colors and floral pieces. A collation was served, during which corks popped merrily.

The story goes on to credit advertising for fueling much of their expansion.

The growth in popularity of Pinaud’s perfumes in the United States is due alike to their fine quality and business ability of the American manager, Emil Utard. During his incumbency of thirteen years it has necessitated a constant increase of room and facilities. Mr. Utard attributes his success to the wide and unique advertising used in popularizing Pinaud’s perfumes.

In an interview with Emile Utard, published in the February 12, 1902 edition of Printers Ink, he stated that the company began investing in advertising at the time they established their American branch in 1890. Since then, in the following twelve years, according to Utard:

The volume of our trade in America has grown six-fold since we began advertising.

The interview goes on to say that at the time they didn’t have much experience with the daily newspapers but did advertise heavily in a wide variety of magazines.

If we like the character of the publication, and have a fair estimate of its circulation, the price being right, we adopt it.

The interview also mentioned mass transit advertising.

We are, however, liberal patrons of street cars and of the elevated system. This year we are in all the surface cars of the city and on the stations of the elevated.

Another of their advertising avenues that caught my attention involved what they called “schemes.”

But really our greatest efforts, those on which we expend the most thought and have our greatest outlay, are our schemes. Among these, those that have to do with theaters engage our attention most, and yield the best results…

Concerning theaters, we own between twenty and twenty-five drop-curtains in good theaters in leading cities throughout the country. The better the theater the more benefit it is to us. Each of these curtains is a specimen of the scene painter’s art. All representing some view of the Riviera, along the Mediterranean Sea, where our flowers are grown…

Among the drop curtains of this kind that we now own are those of the Casino in this City (New York); the Alvin of Pittsburg; the Park in Boston; the Century in St. Louis; the Academy of Music in Montreal, Canada; the Chestnut Street Theater in Philadelphia; the Dallas Opera House of Dallas, Tex.; the Boyd Theater of Omaha, Neb; the Grand Opera House of New Orleans.

We perfume a great many theaters in addition. For instance, we have no less than six in this city, which we serve every night. One of our young employees makes the round and sprays the lobby before the performance and the house during the performance. We have consequent mention made of this nightly in the respective programs.

By the mid to late 1890’s, Pinaud products were  pretty much included in drug and department store advertisements nation wide. This item appeared in a May 13, 1899 department store advertisement in the Salt Lake (City, Utah) Herald.

You could even pick up a bottle of Eau de Quinine while in Helena, Montana as evidenced by this November 19, 1896 advertisement in the Anaconda (Montana) Standard.

Victor Klotz continued to run the business under the name Victor Klotz & Co. until his death in 1906. At that point his sons, Henry and George took control of the company and while the product line continued to be called Pinaud, the name of the company was changed to H & G Klotz & Co.

It was around this time that the company apparently added the daily newspapers to their advertising strategy. Between 1905 and 1908 you could see a number of celebrities including Lilian Russel touting Eau de Quinine and Lilac Vegetal in the local newspapers.

While other products were mentioned, it was these two in particular, Eau de Quinine and Lilac Vegetal that were the focal point of their advertising from the early 1900’s up through the 1920’s. In a series of advertisements in 1911 they were even offering sample bottles for five cents.

Sometime around 1927 the name of the U. S. business was changed to Pinaud, Inc., and the business moved to a new location in Manhattan at 220 East 21st Street. It appears that in addition to distribution, by this time they were also using this new facility to manufacture products as well.

By the mid 1930’s the Klotz brothers were no longer running the company, or at least the New York operation. The 1931 NYC directory named George Klotz as president of Pinaud, Inc. but by 1938 the listing of Industrial Research Laboratories of the United States named Jacques Heilbronn as President.

During the late 1930’s and early 1940’s the business was still profitable but apparently headed in the wrong direction. Court records (Perfumers Manufacturing Corporation, Transferee Petitioner, v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Respondent) pick up the story from there.

The business of Pinaud, Inc. had been a profitable one prior to World War II, but it suffered several reversals after the war because of its obligations , usual in the perfume and toiletry trade, to accept sizable returns of unsold merchandise from customers who had purchased and paid for its products but had failed to sell them. The volume of returns was large and Pinaud, Inc., found itself required to issue substantial merchandise credits to its customers representing a liability to deliver merchandise for which it will not be paid. To add to its difficulties, Pinaud, Inc., found itself unable to meet its cash liabilities.

The court records went on to say that Pinaud, Inc. eventually sold the business.

Pusuant to an agreement entered into on June 24, 1947, Pinaud, Inc., transferred its entire business to Ed. Pinaud, Inc. (then known as Barbara Alice, Inc.),  which was, and is, owned by persons unrelated to the owners of Pinaud, Inc…

…Ed. Pinaud, Inc. was granted the exclusive general agency to manufacture, sell and distribute “Pinaud” products for 15 years with the option to renew for additional terms of 15 years.

At this point Ed. Pinaud, Inc.,was operating under the umbrella of the Joubert group that, two years later, in 1949, merged with the Nestle-LeMur Company. The merger was announced in the July 17, 1949 edition of the Hartford (Connecticut) Courant.

Nestle-LeMur Company announces shareholders have voted to merge the company with the Joubert group of companies in New York and New Jersey. The Joubert group includes Joubert Cie Incorporated and Irresistible Incorporated which controls Blue Waltz Incorporated, Irresistible Blue Waltz Exporters Incorporated and Ed. Pinaud Incorporated…

The new firm would keep the Nestle-Le Mur name.

It appears Ed. Pinaud, Inc. continued to operate under that name as a subsidiary of Nestle-Le Mur up through the early 1980’s and, based on this September 12, 1980 advertisement in the Belleville (N. J.) Times, they continued to operate out of the 22o East 21st Street location.

Nestle-LeMur was merged into a subsidiary of Kleer Vu Industries in December, 1983.

Currently the the Pinaud  brand is owned by American International Industries and today they sell a line of men’s toiletries under the name “Pinaud Clubman.” Their web site states:

Grooming Generations for Over 200 Years

The Pinaud Building, built by Victor Klotz in 1903, still exists to this day on the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and Fourteenth Street.

 

The building at 220 East 21st Street is currently occupied by the School of Visual Arts.

The bottle I found is mouth blown and resembles the smaller Eau de Quinine bottle pictured on this turn of the century poster.

       

According to this 1906/1907 price list published by the Des Moines Drug Company, Eau de Quinine was sold in 4oz, 8oz, 1/2 liter and liter bottles. It’s certainly the 4 oz size.

On a final note, Eau de Quinine is still available today, albeit in plastic bottles.

 

 

Colgate & Company, New York

  

Originally a candle and laundry soap manufacturer, Colgate & Company was founded by William Colgate around the turn of the nineteenth century. The business ultimately grew into today’s Colgate-Palmolive, a global household and consumer product corporation with over 38,000 employees.

William Colgate was the son of Robert Colgate, an English farmer who was forced to leave England as a result of his political sentiments that favored the democracies of France and America.

According to William Colgate’s obituary, in the March 26, 1857 edition of the New York Tribune, in March, 1795 the family sailed for America on the ship “Eliza,” arriving in Baltimore after passage of 70 days. As a young boy, Colgate lived with his father in Baltimore before moving to New York City. The obituary picks up the story from there.

In 1804, William Colgate, at the age of 21, left his father’;s house and came, a comparative stranger, to the City of New York. He had scarcely a cent that he could call his own. His purpose. however, was fixed; and in his pursuit, he entered the counting-room of John Slidel & Co., then the largest tallow chandlers in the city, located at No. 50 Broadway…The salary proposed was small. But it was not the salary, it was the business that he wished; and in a very short time he accomplished his purpose. He was soon transferred from the manufacturing to the sales department; and at the end of three years, when the firm dissolved, Mr. Colgate was its principal business manager.

At the age of 23, in the year 1806 Mr. Colgate commenced the soap and candle business for himself in Dutch Street…

It appears that the business was originally organized as a partnership between Colgate and Francis Smith. The company was first listed in the 1807 Longworth’s New York Register and City Directory as “Smith and Colgate, tallow chandlers,” with an address of 6 Dutch Street. A rendering of the original Dutch Street location was included in a profile of Colgate’s business published in the July 1921 edition of Printers Ink Monthly.

The Printer’s Ink story went on to reveal why Colgate chose the Dutch Street location for his business.

In meeting the first problem that confronted him – the selection of a location for his business – the young soap and candle maker exhibited good judgement for the Mayor of New York lived on Dutch Street, and in the immediate vicinity of his little factory were the homes of many other prominent men of the day. Thus it followed that the influential citizens of the city must of necessity become familiar with his business by passing it every day. And the out-of-town friends who visited the Mayor and his neighbors must need see the Colgate factory and carry back home with them that impression of metropolitan prestige for which even today businesses spend fabulous sums in erecting towering buildings and great sky signs in New York and other large cities.

The partnership of Smith & Colgate was listed until 1815 when it apparently dissolved. Subsequently William Colgate was listed individually as a tallow chandler at 6 Dutch Street until 1820 when the listing changed to William Colgate & Company. Colgate would add the manufacture of toilet soaps to the business in 1847, continuing  to mange the company until his death in 1857. At that point, his son Samuel Colgate and nephew Charles C. Colgate took over and the company name listed in the directories was shortened to simply Colgate & Company.

According to the Printer’s Ink story, the two younger Colgate’s continued to add the manufacture of new products to the business.

Still studying the trend of the market as had the elder Colgate, and ever on the alert to add new products that might appropriately be made and sold by a soap manufacturer, the two young Colgates decided to add perfumes to the Colgate line, and in the early 60’s this was done with great success.

Then in line with the demand for a perfumed toilet soap, in 1869 or 187o the first kettle of the now famous Cashmere Bouquet was made.

During this period, advertisements for their perfumed toilet soaps began to appear in the newspapers. The first ones I could find referenced brands named “Honey Toilet Soap” and “Aromatic Vegetable Soap.”  The advertisements below appeared in 1867 (Hartford Conn Courant) and 1869 (Rutland Vt. Daily Herald) respectively.

 

By the early 1870’s, their famous Cashmere Bouquet toilet soap had been added to what had become a long list of toilet soap brands. That list of at least 17 different brands appeared in  several August/September 1872 editions of the Burlington (Vt.) Free Press.

According to this November 5, 1873 advertisement in the Buffalo Commercial, a Cashmere Bouquet perfume soon followed.

This delightful perfume will be appreciated by all who have enjoyed the lasting fragrance of Colgate & Co.’s Cashmere Bouquet Soap, which is so universally popular.

It was around the same time that, according to the Colgate-Palmolive web site, Colgate introduced their “antiseptic dental powder” sold in a jar. As evidenced by this November 17, 1895 Frank Brothers Department Store advertisement in the Chicago Tribune, by the mid-1890’s they were selling toothpaste in a tube as well.

This 1911 advertisement, for the Paine Drug Company in Rochester New York, provided a listing of the Colgate products they carried at the time. It provides a feel for how much Colgate’s product line had expanded in their first century.

This expanded product line required expansion of both their office and manufacturing facilities as well.

A story in the January 21, 1906 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle dedicated to Colgate’s 100th anniversary celebration described the expansion of the company’s physical plant over their first 100 years stating that in 1847 the company added a Jersey City factory and in 1865 they expanded their New York facilities extending their Dutch Street offices through into John Street.

Around this time their New York City directory listings for Colgate began to include addresses on both ends of their block; 6 Dutch Street and 55 John Street. Their Jersey City factory was situated along the Hudson River waterfront. Initially located on the corner of York and Greene Streets, according to a July 17, 1988 New York Times article, by the 1890’s it encompassed the full block bounded by York, Greene, Hudson and Grand Streets.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle 100th anniversary story went on to provide this description of the company facilities as they existed in 1906.

…by now offices and perfume manufactory have overflowed until they cover very nearly a third of the New York block, and the Jersey City factory, just equipped with new buildings, fills out the entire block and portions of other blocks in the neighborhood. Here are the greatest soap kettles or “pans” in the world, four stories high (five of the largest hold 700,000 pounds each), also the original pan of 1847, which was considered a giant in those days. William Colgate was told that it was folly to build such a big “pan,” that he could never use it. That “pan” is, however, a pigmy beside those of today. Only soap is not made now by building a fire underneath as in the old days. Coils of steam pipes run inside the monster kettles.

Samuel’s Colgate’s biography contained in the National Cyclopedia of American Biography, Vol XIII, published in 1906, adds to the picture by describing the extent of Colgate’s perfume operation in that centennial year.

As a producer of perfumery the firm is the most extensive in the United States, and stands second or third in the entire world. In the valley of the Var, France, bounded by the towns of Grasse, Nice and Cannes, many acres of flowers are cultivated for the manufacture of perfumery, and Colgate & Co. take the total output of a factory in which the essence of fragrancy is extracted. Over 100 tons of rose leaves are thus used annually, besides large quantities of other flowers.

The company continued to occupy their Dutch Street/John Street location in New York City until 1910. At that point it appears that most of the operation had moved to New Jersey although they did continue to list a New York location at 199 Fulton Street from 1911 to 1922 and later 403 Broadway in 1925.

The Colgate Company ultimately merged with the Palmolive Peet Company in July, 1928. A well established company in their own right, the Palmolive Company was formed in 1864, and on January 1, 1927, they had acquired the Peet Brothers Company, which had been established in 1872. A July 11, 1928 UP story covered their merger with Colgate:

PALMOLIVE, COLGATE MERGER IS PLANNED

Directors of the Palmolive-Peet Company and Colgate and Company have agreed to a plan of consolidation of the two firms, subject to action of stockholders. The merger would be effective as of July 1, 1928, if approved, it was announced today.

The name of the new company would be the Colgate Palmolive Peet Company.

The new organization will have large manufacturing units at Jersey City,  N.  J., Milwaukee, Chicago, Jeffersonville, Ind., Kansas City, Kan., Berkeley Calif., and Portland, Ore.

The executive offices will be located at Chicago. No public financing is contemplated at present.

The following officers were reported as probable selections: Sidney M. Colgate, chairman of the board; Charles S. Pearce, president and general manager, and A. W. Peet, chairman of the executive committee.

Later, in 1953, the company would shorten its name to Colgate-Palmolive.

The story mentioned that Colgate’s Jersey City plant would continue to operate as one of Colgate Palmolive’s manufacturing units, which it did for another 50 plus years, ultimately expanding to a footprint of six city blocks.  Finally, in 1985 the company announced its closing. The announcement was covered in the January 15, 1985 edition of The (Paterson N.J.) News.

Colgate – Palmolive Plant in N. J. to Close

The Colgate-Palmolive Co. plant on the Jersey City waterfront, whose 54-foot high clock is a landmark, will close in three years, the company said yesterday.

The company is closing the plant because its products can be made more cheaply at factories in the Midwest, a company spokesman said. Colgate-Palmolive expects the plant closing to result in a savings of $20 million per year.

Today, the initial Jersey City block occupied by the Colgate factory is home to the tallest building in New Jersey, a 79 story luxury condominium, however, another Jersey City  building in the area, located at 81 Greene Street, provides a reminder of it’s former use.

According to the “Library of Congress” this building served as the principal manufacturing facility for the company’s personal care products from 1915 to 1987.

I’ve found two Colgate & Co. bottles over the years. The first is machine made and is embossed with the Colgate & Co. trademark (C & Co enclosed within a double circle). It most likely contained one of their toilet water brands. It matches a Colgate bottle recently offered for sale on the internet labeled “Dactyus Toilet Water.”

   

The Dractylis brand was included in the 1911 Paine Drug Store advertisement presented previously in this post. Machine made, it likely doesn’t date much earlier than the 1911 advertisement and certainly no later than the 1928 Colgate-Palmolive merger.

The other is a mouth blown jar embossed Colgate & Co./ Perfumers / New York. In spite of the embossing it looks more like this labeled tooth powder jar to me…who knows???

I couldn’t end this post without at least touching on the iconic Colgate Clock  that has overlooked the Hudson River and served as an identifying symbol of the company since 1908. Designed and built in connection with Colgates centennial anniversary, according to a New Jersey City University Internet Post entitled “Jersey City Past and Present,” it sat atop the roof of an eight-story Colgate warehouse at the southeast corner of York and Hudson Streets.

It was officially set running on May 25, 1908. A special dispatch to the San Francisco Chronicle covered the start-up.

The largest clock in the world was set going today on top of Colgate & Co.’s eight-story factory building on the river front in Jersey City. It is visible for miles along the Hudson River and can be clearly seen from the New York skyscrapers.

Mayor Wittpen of Jersey City pressed the button which started the mechanism of the giant timekeeper, and when the immense minute hand began moving the boats on the river joined in a chorus of whistles.

The dial is thirty-eight feet in diameter, with an area of 1,134 square feet. The next largest clock – that on the Philadelphia City Hall, has a diameter of twenty-five  feet and a face area of 490 feet. The diameter of the Westminster clock in London is twenty-two and one-half feet and its dial area is 393 feet. The minute hand of the Colgate clock is twenty feet long and weighs nearly a third of a ton. The clock’s weight is approximately six tons. At night red electric bulbs mark the hours and white electric bulbs show the minute spaces.

The above story attempts to convey the size of the clock but, as they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words” and the following photographs put the clock’s size in perspective. The first found in the November, 1908 issue of a publication called “Wood Craft” compares the clock to a worker (to the right of the clock) standing on a support beam. The next two, found in the May 23, 1908 issue of “Scientific American” appear to be construction photos that show the clock’s hands in relation to construction workers.

   

A lot of publicity was generated around the design and construction of the clock of which Colgate took full advantage. This advertisement in the June 20, 1908 edition of “Collier’s” linked the clock to a number of their products.

A July 17, 1988 story in the New York Times suggested that the clock was worth more than simply advertising to the Colgate Company.

The Colgate sign and clock was a sophisticated piece of advertising, comparable to the landmark headquarters buildings of the Metropolitan Life Insurance and Woolworth Companies of the same period. It was seen by the thousands aboard ships trafficking New York Harbor. In 1910, Colgate moved its executive offices to the Jersey City complex and the clock, and sign, became for the public the very symbol of the company’s corporate identity.

The 1988 New York Times story went on to say that:

In 1924 the Colgate clock was replaced with a new larger one, 50 feet in diameter of practically identical design – including the trademark octagon dial shape. Mayor Frank Hague turned on the new clock on December 1…

In 1983, Colgate, long out of the perfume business took down the “Soaps-Perfumes” lettering on the sign, replacing it with an inartistically drawn toothpaste tube representing one of its most identifiable products.

The original 38 foot clock was relocated to Colgate’s newly opened Clarksville Indiana plant where according to Images of America – Clarksville Indiana, by Jane Sarles, it was lit for the first time on November 17, 1924.

“Secret Louisville: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure,”By Jill Halpern, completes the story.

An enduring vision in downtown Louisville for as long as locals can remember, the bright red clock (when lit) usually shows the correct time, or at least close, 100 years later, despite the fact that Colgate-Palmolive moved its operations out of town in 2008. The clock’s continued operation is likely because the facility was placed on Indiana Landmarks list of 10 Most Endangered Landmarks.

The nomination to place the Clarksville plant, including the clock, on the National Register of Historic Places was announced in the December 13, 2013 edition of the Louisville Courier-Journal December 14, 2013.

The newer 50 foot version of the clock still resides on the Jersey City waterfront next to the Goldman Sachs Tower and is maintained by Goldman Sachs.

Calder’s Dentine

Calder’s Dentine, usually called Calder’s Saponaceous Dentine, was a tooth powder developed by Providence, Rhode Island native Albert L. Calder.  Although it was comprised of nothing more than chalk (56%) and soap (44%) flavored with wintergreen, it became popular in the 1860’s and was sold well into the 1920’s. According to Merriam-Webster the word saponaceous is based on the Latin word “sapo,” meaning soap.

Weeks & Potters Revised Catalog of Foreign and Domestic Drugs, published in 1879, included an advertisement promoting it “for cleansing, preserving and beautifying the teeth.” The advertisement went on to deliver much the same message as today’s toothpaste manufacturers.

This agreeable and efficacious Tooth Powder, established by more than twenty years experience, has received the sanction of the members of the Dental and Medical profession generally, and by them it is daily recommended and prescribed. It is as pleasant in the application as it is excellent in its effects; it speedily renders the teeth white and smooth, the gums healthful, red and firm; and by frequent use will preserve them in this desirable condition. It gradually but effectively removes tartar, and destroys the parasitical animalcule which neglect may have permitted to collect and prevents their further accumulation, thus serving as a complete beautifier and preserver of the teeth.

Another early advertisement, this one printed in the June 10, 1872 edition of Davenport Iowa’s Quad-City Times sent the same message but a little more succinctly:

Everyone having teeth and wishing to keep them should use Calder’s Dentine. Sold everywhere.

According to Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island, Vol 2, published in 1908, Albert L. Calder was born and raised in Providence Rhode Island and spent some time in Boston before returning to Providence for good in 1850. At that time:

He engaged in the apothecary business with his brother George B. Calder, this arrangement continuing from February 1851, until June, 1853. In the latter year the store which stood on Westminster Street, where is now Dorrance Street, was burned out in a disastrous conflagration. Mr. Calder at once bought the lease of the (nearby) lot on Westminster Street where the new part of the Journal office is now located, erected a building for his business purposes, and continued there until he sold out in 1885, to retire from the apothecary business, in order to give his special attention to the manufacture of Calder’s Dentine, a proprietary article which was well and favorably known throughout the country.

Information in the Providence city directories supports and adds to the above narrative. Calder’s, initial apothecary  was listed in both the 1852 and 1853 directories at 151 Westminster Street. His brother George Calder was listed as a clerk at the same address. After the fire caused Calder to relocate in 1854, his new address was listed as 161 Westminster Street. At this point he was the sole proprietor of the business, his brother George having started his own apothecary business at 21 Westminster Street under the name Chambers & Calder.

Albert Calder remained at 161 Westminster Street through 1886. Although later advertisements mention that Calder’s Saponaceous Dentine had been manufactured since 1850, it was during this time that the product apparently gained prominence. This is evidenced by Calder’s annual advertisement in the Providence City Directory

As late as 1866, Calder  focused on his retail pharmacy business that in addition to medicines also included perfumes, soda water, cigars and artists materials. There was no mention of Calder’s Dentine.

It wasn’t until 1867 that he even mentioned in small font that he was the “sole proprietor of Calder’s Saponaceous Dentine.”

Several years later, in 1870, the product had achieved much greater visibility.

It was some time in late 1885 or early 1886 that he gave up the retail portion of his business, selling the pharmacy to two local druggists. The sale was announced in an April 15, 1886 news item in the Pharmaceutical Record.

Mr. A. L. Calder of Providence R. I. has sold his well known pharmacy on Westminster Street to Harvey I. Leith and E. C. Danforth, both pharmacists of excellent repute of that city. The new firm is Leith & Danforth, and they will certainly receive, from all who know them, congratulations and good wishes in their new home and for great business prosperity.

Calder proceeded to construct his new office and laboratory for the manufacture of Calder’s Dentine at 181-183 North Main Street in Providence where it was first listed in 1887.

In 1890, Albert Calder’s son, Charles Albert Calder, joined the business. His biographical profile also contained in Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island, stated:

In 1890 he became interested with his father in the manufacture of Calder’s Dentine, and upon his father’s death succeeded him in that business.

Albert’s death occurred on May 24, 1899 after which Charles was listed as “manager”at the North Main Street address up through 1906 or 1907. The 1908 directory stated that Charles A. Calder had removed to Diamond Hill so it appears that he was no longer associated with the business by then.

On January 14, 1908 the Albert L Calder Company incorporated and a year later, on January 5, 1909, a new company, the Calder Dentine Company, was also incorporated. The relationship between the two corporations was described in the 1910 Providence City Directory listing.

CALDER DENTINE CO. The lessees of The Albert L. Calder Co., dentine and toilet articles. 183 North Main.

The accompanying advertisement in the directory simply mentioned the Calder Dentine Co.

Sometime during this period the business apparently formed an association with Samuel Everett, founder of  Everett & Barron, a large shoe polish manufacturer. In 1912 both firms were utilizing the same address, 217 Canal Street and according to the 1915 edition of “Who’s Who in New England Samuel Everett was serving as president and treasurer of both Everett & Barron and the Calder Dentine Co.

Both companies listed 217 Canal Street as their address up through the late teens. At times the Calder Dentine Co. also listed 181-183 North Main as another address so it’s likely that they maintained their manufacturing facilities at that location.

In the early 1920’s both companies relocated to 359 Eddy Street, also in Providence. The Calder Dentine Company remained listed there until the mid 1930’s but the product itself disappeared from newspaper advertised drug store price lists by the mid-1920’s.  Everett & Barron was still listed in the Providence directories well into the 1960’s.

Over the course of its history Calder’s Dentine was sold in 25 cent and 50 cent sizes. Smaller 10 cent sample sizes were also available. The bottle I found is a small mouth blown jar, two inches in diameter and three inches high. It matches the smaller of the two bottles shown in this October, 1900 advertisement published in Parsons Magazine suggesting it was the 25 cent size.

A labeled example of the 25 cents size that recently appeared for sale on the internet is pictured below.

This 1901 Cosmopolitan advertisement indicated that if you were looking to purchase a bottle you had to look for it packaged in a paper wrapper.

Finally, in addition to being available in bottles, this 1907 Life Magazine advertisement stated that Calder’s Dentine was also sold in metal containers. A metal example also recently appeared on the internet.

          

 

 

E. W. Hoyt & Co., Lowell, Mass., Hoyt’s German Cologne

E. W. Hoyt & Co.’s signature product was called Hoyt’s German Cologne which they began producing in Lowell Massachusetts around 1870.

The company was named after its founder and initial proprietor, Eli Waite Hoyt. His biographical sketch in the “History of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, by D. Hamilton Hurd, published in 1890, stated that he was born in Alexandria, New York in 1838 and moved to Lowell when he was eight years old.

The biographical sketch went on to describe the start of the business.

At the age of about fourteen years he became a clerk in the drug-store of E.A. Staniels, on the corner of Central and Middlesex Streets, and at length was received as partner in the business. Upon the death of Mr. Staniels, in 1861, Mr. Hoyt, then twenty-three years of age, became sole proprietor.

Lowell directories from the 1860’s listed his business as an “apothecary,” located at Central, corner of Middlesex, where they also served as a sales agent for various products. The first newspaper advertisement that I can find for E. W. Hoyt & Co. named them as an agent for “Wilder’s Crow Killer.” The advetisement first appeared in the April 22, 1865 edition of the “New England Farmer.”

According to Hoyt’s biographical sketch, it was around this time, in the mid 1860’s, that Hoyt’s German Cologne was in its infancy.

About 1866 he began, in a small way, the manufacture and sale of cologne, declaring that the first thousand dollars he should earn he would devote to that enterprise. This purpose he fulfilled. In 1870 Freeman B. Shedd, who, for several years had served as clerk in the store, was received as partner, and the firm began the extensive manufacture and sale of “Hoyt’s German Cologne.”

Initial newspaper advertisements for it began appearing in 1871. The first were in Bangor, Maine where it was being sold by someone named Chas. Hight.

Very quickly the business outgrew the old Staniel’s apothecary, such that in 1873 another building was constructed on the adjoining lot. An item announcing the new building was printed in the July 17, 1873 edition of the Boston Globe.

Messers. E.W. Hoyt & Co., druggists, have recently erected a large four-story brick addition to their store, on the corner of Central and Middlesex Streets. This addition is to be used by this firm for the manufacture of their celebrated German cologne.

The new four-story building was depicted in a June 1878 advertisement published in the Druggist Circular.

Ultimately, Hoyt and Shedd sold the retail portion of the business so that they could focus entirely on the manufacture of their cologne. According to Shedd’s obituary in the March, 1913 issue of “American Perfumer:”

In 1877 Hoyt & Shedd’s German cologne had become so high in popular favor throughout the world that the drug business was given over to the two head clerks and the attention of the two partners was given entirely to its manufacture.

Based on the 1880 Lowell Directory, the clerks were named Charles H. Crowell and A. J. Harrison and the drug store continued in business on Central Avenue under the name of Crowell & Harrison.

Shedd’s obituary goes on to say that E. W. Hoyt & Co. outgrew their  Central Avenue building and in 1884 constructed a new building at Church and George Streets. By then, the company had also established a branch in Montreal, Canada.

By the mid to late 1880’s, in addition to Hoyt’s German Cologne, the company was also manufacturing several new products, the most notable being  Rubifoam for the Teeth. This advertisement, printed in the 1890 edition of “Keesling’s Book of Recipes and Household Hints,” touts both Hoyt’s German Cologne and Rubifoam.

Eli Hoyt passed away in February, 1887 after which Shedd continued to run the company until his death in March, 1913. At that point, according to a March 17, 1913 story in the Boston Globe, the estate sold the business to his secretary, Alexis D. Sargent.

(to) Alexis D. Sargent, his secretary, he left his business, to be paid for at an assessed valuation, but no charge will be made for the good will.

Around the time that Sargent assumed control of the company their address in the Lowell directories changed to 295 Central, Room 8. I assume, but cannot confirm, that this was an office address and the manufacturing continued to occur at their facility at Church and George. Between 1901 and 1914 the company also included an address in New York City where they used local perfumers named A. B. Calisher & Co as their agent.

Lowell directories continued to list Sargent as manager of the business until his death in September 1926. Afterwards, the directories associated a Mary Sargent with the company so it appears that the business remained closely held by the Sargent family. The company was listed in Lowell, with Mary as manager, up through 1952. That year it was still listed in the Lowell business directory under the heading “Toilet Preparations – Mfrs.”

Other than it’s name, the cologne had no connection with Germany whatsoever. According to the “statement of facts” in  court records associated with a trademark case that occurred years later:

The name “German”had been selected merely to give a definite title to the cologne, and they did not intend to offer it as bearing any semblance to German cologne.

The court records went on to say that:

They designed three sizes of bottles for this cologne, calling them large, medium and trial size, which retailed for $1, 50 cents and 25 cents respectively. The large and trial size they designed in 1870, and the medium in 1876.

Later, in the early 1900’s the company introduced Hoyt’s Nickel and Ten Cent colognes as well. Apparently the name was more of a size designation than an indication of cost because there were a lot of deals to be had out there. One 1908 advertisement for a store called Efird’s in Concord, North Carolina offered up nickel and dime bottles for three and seven cents respectively. Better yet in Washington, D.C., in 1911 at Goldeberg’s, you could get a ten cent bottle for a nickel and a coupon!

     

The company was a big believer in advertising through the use of trading cards and, taking it a step further, they soaked their cards in perfume. An example that recently appeared for sale on the Internet is presented below.

They apparently made these cards available to both the general public as well as in bulk to their retail agents.  One advertisement, in the June 1888 edition of “Atlantic Monthly” aimed at the general public, actually promoted  the perfume as well as the card  which they would send to you if you provided them a two cent stamp.

Another advertisement, this one, aimed at dealers and printed in “Weeks and Potters Revised Catalog of Foreign and Domestic Drugs -1879,” offered to include the dealer’s business card information on the trading card.

We will send free of charge, to any dealer who applies to us, a supply of cards advertising “Hoyt’s German Cologne,” and perfumed with it, and in order that the distribution of them may be mutually profitable, we print the business card of the party on these cards…

According to www.cliffhoyt.com the company produced over 50 unique trading cards related to “Hoyt’s German Cologne.” In addition to trading cards, over the years the company also produced calendars and cardboard fans with advertising material printed on them. Visit www.cliffhoyt.com for some great photographs and additional information on E W Hoyt & Co. and their advertising materials.

The cliffhoyt website goes on to say that around 1918 the company dropped the word “German” from the name of the cologne, changing it to Hoyt’s Eau de Cologne.

This was certainly done in an effort to disassociate the product from its perceived German connection as a result of World War I. The need to do this, while obvious, was exemplified by a news story about a U.S. soldier who survived a gas attack during the war. Printed in the July 8, 1918 edition of the Chattanooga (Tennessee) News, it was entitled: Whiff of “German Cologne,” Now Recovering.

Fred L. Schwab, of the 117th engineers in France, is Chattanooga’s second boy to be gassed “over there.” In a letter to his mother, Mrs. J. M. Schwab, 220 East Main Street, he tells of his experience with a whiff of “Hoyt’s German Cologne,” as he pleasantly calls the gas bomb.

“Dearest mother,” he says in a letter dated June 1, “I am in the hospital now. No, nothing serious – just a whiff of German perfume. Don’t be alarmed, for I am O. K. now…

Believe it or not, Hoyt’s Cologne is being manufactured again today by Indio Products, Inc. According to their web site Indio maintains manufacturing, packaging, logistics and wholesale distribution facilities in Commerce, California. Indio has over 10,000 products and various trademarks, one of which is “Hoyt’s Cologne.”

Indio describes themselves as “the world’s most complete manufacturer and distributor of religious, spiritual, mystical and decorative products,” and their site implies that the cologne delivers good luck. One of their distributors, Wisdom products, Inc., describes it like this:

Hoyt’s Cologne developed in 1868 is truly an old fashioned fragrance reminiscent of early American colognes. A clean and refreshing scent with fragrance notes of citrus and floral. Hoyt’s is widely believed to bring good luck. Splash on your hands and body before playing games of chance.

I’ve found two Hoyt bottles, both mouth blown and about 3.5 inches tall.  Their appearance matches a description provided in the trademark court records.

In 1870 the plaintiffs (Hoyt) designed a bottle of peculiar shape, having a depression or panel upon one side of it, in which were blown in the glass, in block letters, the words “Hoyt’s German Cologne, E. W. Hoyt & Co., Lowell, Mass.”

I suspect that both bottles are the 25 cent trial size.

On a final note, the trademark case previously referred to in this post made its way through the courts between 1885 and 1892 and involved E. W. Hoyt & Co. and a Philadelphia based company called F. Hoyt & Co. At the time, both companies sold cologne in three sizes of bottles whose appearance and labeling were very much alike except that the wording embossed on F. Hoyt’s bottles was “Hoyt’s Egyptian Cologne, F. Hoyt & Co., Philada., Pa.” In fact, F Hoyt & Co. went even further, also imitating E. W. Hoyt’s pictorial cards and the wooden boxes in which the bottles were packed. E. W. Hoyt & Co. brought legal action against F Hoyt & Co. based on the premise that:

many people are liable to be deceived thereby, and buy the defendants goods under the belief that they are getting those of the plaintiffs.

The lower courts granted E. W. Hoyt & Co. an injunction restraining the other Hoyt from imitating their bottles, boxes or labels and later, went further, restraining them from  associating the word Hoyt’s with their cologne.

Ultimately however, the lower court decisions were overturned by Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court based on the fact that their indented panel bottle design was not patented and , in fact, the bottle could actually be purchased, off the shelf, “by anyone who fancied its use.” Likewise, their cap label was not originated or patented by them and their adoption of it gave them no title to it.

The entire case history is summarized in a document entitled “Weekly Notes on Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the County Courts of Philadelphia and the United States District and Circuit Courts for the Eastern district of Pennsylvania, January 29, 1892.”

As a result of this decision, imitation of E. W. Hoyt’s packaging by F. Hoyt & Co. continued into the next decade as evidenced by this October 7, 1907 advertisement in a publication called “Fancy Goods and Notions,” where F. Hoyt & Co. went even further, calling their cologne “Hoyt’s Genuine German Cologne.”

Most drug and department store price listings printed in newspapers during the early 1900’s simply list “Hoyt’s German Cologne,” so it’s not really clear which brand they were actually selling.

Murray & Lanman, Druggists, New York, Florida Water

Murray and Lanman’s Florida Water has been sold as a toilet water or perfume for almost two centuries. This 1885 advertisement called it the “universal perfume,” advertising it “for the handkerchief, the toilet and the bath.”

According to one advertisement, printed in the February 6, 1880 edition of the Oakland Tribune:

The pleasure of bathing is greatly increased by mixing in the tub half or even a quarter of a bottle of Murray & Lanman’s Florida Water. Instantly the whole atmosphere of the bath-room is as fragrant as a blooming flower garden, the mind becomes buoyant, and the body emerges refreshed and strengthened.

Other advertisements from the same era add that it’s also:

delightful and healthful in the sick room, relieves weakness, fatigue, prostration, nervousness and headache.

Some say that Florida Water has “magical” properties as well. Over the years it’s been used in Hoodoo, Voodoo, Santeria and Wicca practices for ritual offerings and purification among other things.

Murray and Lanman’s Florida Water is still made today by the firm of Lanman & Kemp-Barclay, who was featured in a February 7, 1999 article in the New York Daily News. According to that article:

Despite it’s name, Florida Water was never made in Florida. In fact, Florida wasn’t even a state when the company began. The word simply means “of flowers.”

The article went on to touch on the start of the business.

“We go way back,” says Stephen Cooper, president of Lanman & Kemp-Barclay, its makers. “Our company was founded in 1808 by Robert Murray. In the 1830’s, he got together with Lanman and that’s when they began our main product, which is Florida Water”

The earliest NYC directory I could find, Longworth’s New York Register and City Directory, published July 4, 1808, listed Robert J. Murray as a druggist located at 313 Pearl Street in lower Manhattan. In 1813 both Robert and his brother Lindley Murray were listed as druggists with different Pearl Street addresses and by the 1820’s both were listed at 263 Pearl Street under the name Robert & Lindley Murray, druggists.

In 1835, it was Lindley Murray (not Robert) who, along with David Trumball Lanman, established the partnership of Murray & Lanman. The business was first listed in the 1835 NYC Directory as druggists at 69 Water Street. Lindley Murray was also listed individually as a druggist at the same address. Robert Murray was not listed, either individually as a druggist or as a proprietor of the business.

Murray & Lanman was listed at 69 Water up through 1847. Then, in May of 1848, several legal notices printed in the Buffalo Courier named David T Lanman as the “surviving partner” of Murray & Lanaman, so Lindley Murray apparently passed away sometime in 1847 or early 1848.

Lanman remained listed individually as a druggist at 69 Water and apparently operated as a sole proprietor until 1853 when he formed a partnership with George Kemp called David T. Lanham & Co. The copartnership notice establishing the business was printed in the January 3, 1853 edition of the New York Times.

Five years later, another copartnership notice, this one printed in the January 1, 1858 edition of the New York Times, indicated that the name of the partnership was changed to D. T. Lanman & Kemp.

The company was listed in the NYC directories this way between 1858 and 1861, then in the 1862 directory they shortened the name to simply Lanman & Kemp. During this period, the business was apparently focused primarily on the foreign market. This advertisement, in the October 22, 1861 edition of the New York Times, called them “wholesale export druggists” further stating; “special attention paid to the execution of drug orders for the markets of Cuba, Mexico, West Indies and South Central America…”

It appears that by the early 1860’s, Lanman was no longer associated with the business. The 1862 NYC Directory no longer listed D.T. Lanman individually at the company’s Water Street address, and by 1865 the company listing in the NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory included the phrase “George Kemp only” as proprietor.

Lanman & Kemp remained listed at 69 Water Street until 1871 when they moved to 68-70 William Street. It was around this time that George’s brother, Edward, joined him in the management of the business and he continued to run the business after George Kemp’s death in 1893. According to Edward’s January 2, 1902 obituary he facilitated the construction of their long time headquarters at 135 Water Street.

In 1870 he became associated with his late brother George in the firm of Lanman & Kemp, his knowledge of commercial affairs and accurate judgement assisting greatly in making the business highly successful. It was he who built the fine building at No. 135 Water Street, in which the firm’s offices are now located.

The company was first listed at this location in the 1900 directory and they remained there through the mid to late 1950’s when they moved to New Jersey.  The 1957 NYC telephone book listed their general offices at 15 Grand Avenue, Palisades Park N.J., although it still included their 135 Water Street address as well. By 1959, the Water Street address was no longer listed.

They were first listed as Lanman & Kemp- Barclay & Co. in 1933. Today the company is located on Woodland Avenue in Westwood N.J.

Despite the many company name changes over the years, their florida water was always sold under the Murray & Lanman name and in fact, it’s still sold under that name today.  According to Lanman & Kemp-Barclay & Co.’s web site, the product was available in the United States as early as 1808.

Murray & Lanman Florida Water was introduced into the United States market on February 14, 1808. Immediately it gained popularity and approval from the consumer and became a woldwide, well-known cologne, not only because of it’s delightful fragrance, but also because of the more than twenty uses attributed to it.

Although the Murray’s may have been selling their florida water locally in the early 1800’s, a series of D. T. Lanman & Kemp advertisements from the late 1850’s indicate that the product wasn’t widely available in the United States until around that time. This advertisement which appeared in several Ohio newspapers between April 1857 and July 1858 stated under the heading “What Are Its Antecedents” that it was being sold in the Latin American countries for twenty years before being introduced in the United States.

For twenty years it has maintained its ascendency over all other perfumes throughout Cuba, South America and the West Indies. It has been introduced into the United States in response to the earnest demand growing out of its southern reputation.

Another advertisement from the same era stated:

Murray & Lanman’s Florida Water from its great celebrity in the South America and West Indian markets, for which for twenty years it was exclusively manufactured has been extensively imitated in the United States. Now however, the original article has been introduced throughout the Union, and as it bears the distinctive trade-mark of the proprietors, may be readily distinguished by its externals from the simulated preparations.

So, if you believe their own advertising, Murray & Lanman’s Florida Water was being exported to the West Indies and South America as early as the mid to late 1830’s, around the time the company was first established in 1835 and introduced in the United States sometime in the mid to late 1850’s. Recognizing the company’s focus on foreign markets this seems to make a lot of sense.

Like most successful patent medicines of the day, much of their popularity can be attributed to advertising.  Murray & Lanman’s Florida Water along with several of the company’s other products were advertised in their own publication called “Bristol’s Illustrated Almanac.” According to the 1999 Daily News feature:

…these products have been advertised for almost eight generations in Bristol’s Illustrated Almanac, the free booklets Lanman & Kemp give out each year. “Up until a short time before the Second World War, I think, it was published in Spanish, Portuguese, German, French and English,” says Cooper. The 1999 version marks 167 years of continuous publishing.”

And what publishing it is! Interspersed with page after page of shameless product endorsements are poems, recipes, weather predictions and jokes older than Florida water itself. “How to raise beets,” begins one seemingly serious entry in a turn of the century almanac. “Take hold of the tops and pull.”

What strikes me most about this product and the various companies that produced it over the years is the consistency of the image they have portrayed. The cover of their almanac hasn’t changed in over 100 years. Likewise, their bottle and its label have changed little, if at all.  Advertisements from 1887 and 1946 bear this out.

             

Finally, here’s today’s version.

On a final note, while it has the word “water” in its name, Florida Water has more alcohol than water in its formula. In 2004, after a woman, performing a Santeria cleansing ritual involving florida water and candles died tragically  in an apartment fire, the Daily News performed a test comparing the flammability of florida water to rubbing alcohol, paint thinner, nail polish remover and lighter fluid. According to the story, published in their February 26 edition:

In an indoor, controlled setting, Daily News reporters timed how long it took each product to turn a large cotton sweatshirt into a ball of flames.

About 4 ounces of each product was sprinkled on identical sweatshirts suspended on a wire coat hanger and ignited with a candle.

The sweatshirt doused in Murray & Lanman Florida Water was engulfed in flames in 10 seconds.

At 15 seconds, flames were shooting up 2 feet from the shoulders and by 40 seconds the sweatshirt was completely burned off the hanger.

The complete results of the experiment were published in the story.

The bottle I found is the typical florida water shape and is mouth blown. It’s embossed “Florida Water/Murray & Lanman/ Druggists/New York.” I’ve seen examples on the internet that also include the  69 Water Street address so it was most likely manufactured at the William Street location or right after the move to 135 Water Street.

Parfumerie Monte Christo, Beaume Mamma Dura

It appears Parfumerie Monte Christo is actually a line of toilet articles associated with L Shaw’s Hair Emporium and later with the Monte Christo Cosmetic Co., both located in New York City.

In an 1899 interview, published in the October 25 Issue of Printers Ink, the L Shaw business manager, Albert Edelstein, stated that the business had been started 37 years prior by Madame Shaw. This would put the start of the business around 1862, but the first listing I can find was in the 1871/72 NYC Directory: “Louise (sometimes Louisa in later directories) Shaw, real and imitation hair, 352 Bowery.”

Around 1873, the business address moved to Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village and then in about 1876, they relocated to 54 West 14th Street which served as their retail location through the early 1900’s.

The business was the predecessor of what we would call today the beauty parlor or spa. In his 1899 interview, Edelstein described the range of services provided at this location.

These four stories and the basement are devoted to all the details pertaining to the hair, hairdressing, dyeing, shampooing, scalp treatment, manicuring, facial steaming and care of the complexion. As advertised it is the largest hair store in the world.

In the interview he stated that they were also the leading wholesaler.

…while in another part of town we occupy another entire building for our wholesale trade, being also the leading wholesaler. We import our hair direct, and in fact are the only house doing so, and probably supply more hair goods to retailers than all other wholesalers together.

The firm’s clientele and primary target of their advertising was the wealthy woman. Edelstein stated that they began to advertise about 15 years prior (1884) and primarily used daily papers and the theatre programs. At the time there were eight New York newspapers and he preferred the morning papers to the afternoon ones. His reasoning leaves no doubt about who his target audience was.

We believe that people have more time to read them, and read them more closely. And especially is this the case with ladies, whom we catch at just the right time, we think for good results. It is seldom that a lady reads an evening paper closely, even on those evenings where she may stay at home. But in the morning, after breakfast, she generally has an hour or two of lounging, even before going out shopping – a time when seeing our ad makes a substantial impression on her.”

In fact, the second floor of the West 14th Street parlor was restricted to women only – “No man is permitted entry.”

The business marketed a wide range of hair and cosmetics items including several under the name Parfumerie Monte Christo. Sounding French it was probably named this way for appeal to the wealthy woman and her preference at the time for French toiletries and perfumes.

It’s not clear when they started using the Monte Christo name but items with this tag were being mentioned in advertisements as early as the mid-1880’s when the business started advertising. One from 1886, advertised “a complete assortment of beautifying cosmetics by the Perfumerie Monte Christo.

Another in the July 1891 issue of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine mentioned “all toilet preparations of the celebrated Parfumerie Monte Christo.”

The business changed hands around the turn of the century. The 1901 Copartnership and Corporation Directory lists the business for the first time as the Firm of L Shaw, with Gerson Hyman and Manuel Oppemheim listed as the principals. Around 1905 the business moved from their longtime 14th Street location to 506 Fifth Avenue. Hyman and Oppenheim remained listed as principals through 1909. The directories also listed Albert Edelstein, the business manager, at the L Shaw business location through 1909.

In 1910, ownership changed again and it appears that the Parfumerie Monte Christo piece of the business was split off. In the 1910 Copartnership and Corporation Directory the principals in the firm of L Shaw are listed as  Leo B. and Felix A. Simonson. In the same directory, listed for the first time is a firm called the Monte Christo Cosmetic Co., located at 13 East 30th Street with Albert Edelstein as the only listed principal.

The Monte Christo Cosmetic Company continued to be listed through at least the 1925 NYC Directory. After that, I lose track, but Edelstein still lists himself as a proprietor in the cosmetics industry in the 1930 census records. The firm of L Shaw vanished from the directories around 1920.

In 1912, the Monte Christo Cosmetic Co. was convicted of violating the food and drug act with a product called Monte Christo Rum and Quinin for the Hair. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association:

The Monte Christo Cosmetic Company of New York City, which is a trade style used by one Albert Edelstein, shipped in interstate commerce a product labeled “Monte Christo Rum and Quinin for the Hair.” The claims for the product were: “Cools and Invigorates the Scalp. Prevents the hair from falling out. Removes and prevents dandruff, imparting to the hair a delightful perfume.”

A sample of the product was analyzed by the Bureau of Chemistry and the chemists reported the following results: ethyl alcohol 18.5%; wood alcohol 42.0% and quinin 38 grams per 100cc.

The preparation was declared adulterated in that its purity and strength were inferior to the professional standard under which it was sold, in that wood alcohol had been substituted for part of the rum. It was declared misbranded because the label was false and misleading and likely to deceive the purchaser into the belief that the product was composed of rum and quinin, when as a matter of fact it was composed of rum, quinin and wood alcohol.

Interestingly, there was no mention of the product’s false and unsubstantiated claims but only its mis-labeled contents. Containing mostly alcohol, were you supposed to drink it or massage it on your scalp?

The current building at 54 West 14th Street does not date back to the late 1800’s and therefore is not the building that housed the Shaw retail operation. It’s not clear where the wholesale operation mentioned in the 1899 interview was located.

The bottle I found is six sided, mouth blown and about four ounces. Embossed on two adjacent sides at on one end is “Parfumerie Monte Christo” and on the other end is “Beaume Mamma Dura.” Mamma Dura was mentioned in a written advertisement I found in an 1888 issue of Lippenott’s:

It may be understood at once that so far as hair, switches, curls, bangs, or wigs go, any aids to the skin and hair, hands and eyes, in washes or unguents, America offers none of such value as those prepared by L. Shaw, the world-renowned alchemist and coiffeur, at 54 west Fourteenth Street, New York. Nor in fact, is there in Europe just such as house as this from which all our beautiful women procure toilet articles. Lovely actresses, as well as rulers in the social world, preserve their charms with cocoa-milk, mama dura, and the superfine Monte Christo rouge.

Maybe it was some sort of facial lotion?

I’ve seen bottles embossed “Monte Christo Parfumerie” on the internet with L Shaw printed on a paper label that’s wrapped around the neck. The bottle I found includes the slightly elongated neck required for this label.

 

 

Richard Hudnut, New York

  

In the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, Richard A. Hudnut, a New York businessman built a fortune manufacturing perfumes, cosmetics and beauty products and he is widely recognized as the first American to achieve international success in the cosmetics industry.

His father, Alexander, a druggist, initially established a drug store on Court Street in Brooklyn in the 1850’s. An entrepreneurial businessman in his own right, an historical feature called “The Older Brooklyn” that was published in the June 29, 1911 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and described the Brooklyn of 50 years prior, credits his drug store with being “one of the first to introduce cream and syrup flavors into soda water.” Later, in the early 1870’s he opened a drug store in the Herald Building in Manhattan at 218 Broadway.

Richard began his career working in his father’s business. The early history of his life and business is told in “New York State’s Prominent and Progressive Men” published in 1902.

M. Hudnut was born in the City of Philadelphia on June 2, 1856. Soon thereafter the family removed to New York, and he was educated in the schools of that city, and in the Polytechnic Institute Brooklyn. At the age of eighteen years, he left school and entered the drug store conducted by his father in New York. There he made a thorough study of the drug business, and paid special attention to the chemistry and the manufacture of perfumes. He remained in association with his father in that store until the latter’s retirement from business and the closing of the famous store in 1889.

Mr. Hudnut made a prolonged visit to Europe, during which he traveled widely, and made a careful study of the most approved and successful methods of manufacturing perfumery. Then on his father’s retirement, he opened the Richard Hudnut Pharmacy Incorporated at 925 Broadway New York. To that establishment, he has since devoted practically his entire business attention. While conducting a general pharmacy business of the best kind, Mr. Hudnut’s corporation as might be supposed, makes a specialty of the manufacture and sale of perfumery. In that industry nearly a hundred persons are employed, and the Richard Hudnut Perfumes are sold in all parts of the country and are recognized as of the highest standard of excellence, competing not only with the beast American, but with the best foreign makes.

Much of this story is supported in the various NYC Directories of the time.

  • Alexander Hudnut is first listed at 218 Broadway in the 1870/71 NYC Directory.
  • In the 1880 Directory, Alexander and Richard are both listed at the 218 Broadway address and they remain listed together at this address through 1888.
  • In the 1889 Directory, Richard A Hudnut, drugs,  is listed at the 925 Broadway address for the first time.

Up through 1914, Hudnut maintained both a retail drug business and  perfume/cosmetics manufacturing business, a business that was continually expanding.

The ERA Druggist Directories between 1905 and 1914 listed the location at 925 Broadway under “retail druggists” and the 1905 Directory provided a menu of services at this location that included: drugs/medicines, drug sundries, wines and liquors and a soda fountain.

In 1902, the Copartnership and Corporation Directory began listing a second address for Richard Hudnut at 40 East 19th Street. The ERA Druggist Directories listed this location under “drug manufacturers” (toilet preps and perfumes.) In and around 1908, this piece of the business moved to a new headquarters at 115 East 29th Street. This location was a newly built six-story building that included manufacturing space, offices, shipping areas, laboratory and a showroom. Then, still in need of more space, on November 18, 1911, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that Hudnut had leased two floors, each 10,000 square feet, in Bush Terminal as general distributing and shipping quarters.

In 1914, Hudnut sold the Broadway location and effectively retired from the retail drug business. The May 1914 issue of the Pharmaceutical Era reported it this way.

The stock and fixtures of Hudnut Pharmacy, 925 Broadway, near 21st Street, Manhattan, valued at $50,000, were sold at auction on April 23. It is understood that Richard Hudnut has been looking for an opportune time to retire from the retail drug business and that the above action is a result of his desire. The wholesale and manufacturing business will continue undisturbed at 115-117 East 29th Street. The Richard Hudnut perfumes and toilet specialties are a well-known line in the trade.

Then, two years later, in August of 1916, the Pharmaceutical Record reported that Hudnut sold the manufacturing end of the business to Wm. R Warner & Co.

An announcement of interest to the trade was recently made by Richard A. Hudnut, who has sold substantial interest in Richard Hudnut to Messrs. H. Pfeiffer, G. A. Pfeiffer and G.D. Merner, of the firm of Wm. R. Warner & Co., of Philadelphia and St. Louis. Mr. Hudnut continues as president, and the business policies that have made the name “Richard Hudnut” famous in the perfume and toilet goods world will be continued.

The office and laboratory located at 115-117 East 29th Street, New York city, have been leased by the new organization.

Two years later, the 1918-1919 Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed Gustavus Pfeiffer as president of the Richard Hudnut Corporation and Hudnut was no longer mentioned. So within two years of the sale, Hudnut was no longer associated with the business. Whether this decision was Hudnut’s decision or the decision of Wm. R. Warner & Co. is unclear to me. He passed away in 1928, while living in France.

The Wm R. Warner Company became Warner Lambert Pharmaceutical Co. in 1955. Warner Lambert was acquired by Park Davis in 1970 and they merged with Pfizer in 2000.

Richard Hudnut was apparently producing perfume and cosmetic products as early as 1880 while working in his father’s business. By 1893 he had his own product line called Hudnutine that included perfumes, toilet water, talcum powder, face powder, cold cream, tooth powder, rouge, etc. A later product line developed by Hudnut was called DuBarry. After the sale of the business in 1916, the Hudnut name remained associated with various perfume and cosmetic products through at least 1959.

The bottle I found matches the bottle in a 1914 advertisement for a toilet water called Violet Sec.

The value of toilet water is the feeling of freshness its use inspires. The delicacy of Violet Sec Toilet Water, its elusive fragrance and lasting quality have made it the choice of smart women everywhere.

The above image is from Hudnut’s 1913 – 1914 Price List. A patent for Violet Sec Toilet Water was filed on September 17, 1912, however, based on a December 14, 1899 item in the Pharmaceutical Era, the product dates back to at least the late 1800’s..

One of the most artistic drug windows in New York is that of Richard Hudnut, on Broadway. Upon a royal purple background is displayed a varied assortment of goods for the holiday trade. Violet Sec Toilet Water, the “Apotheosis” of the violet odor, is having a great sale among the drug trade this year, selling to the retailer at 75 cents a bottle of six ounces. The essence of this same odor is put up in ounce bottles contained in fancy boxes of imitation grogran silk, decorated in Louis Quinze style.

For the fine trade Hudnut is equipped to supply the druggist’s holiday wants in anything pertaining to violets. (Apparently Hudnut had an entire line of “Violet Sec”Products including perfume, soaps, powders, bath salts, etc.)

In addition to his two New York locations, Hudnut’s products were sold in upscale New York department stores.  Between 1896 and 1905 his products were occasionally listed in Brooklyn Daily Eagle advertisements for Abraham and Strauss (Richard Hudnut’s Nailustre for the Fingernails – 1902 and Richard Hudnut Handkerchief Perfumes – 1905), H. Batterman (Richard Hudnut’s Perfumes – 1896) and Journeay and Turnham (Richard Hudnut’s 8 oz Toilet Waters, all odors – 1897).

The building that housed the Richard Hudnut headquarters at 115 -117 East 29th Street is still there today and has been converted to condominiums (each in the $2 million + price range).

   

The current building at 925 Broadway was built in 1918, after the Hudnut retail business was discontinued at that location.

The building at 218 Broadway, Alexander Hudnut’s first Manhattan location, was called the NY Herald Building. It is said that Alexander placed a large thermometer outside his drugstore and as a result, “Hudnut’s Temperature” was published every day in the NY Herald (and the NY Times).

The Herald Building was torn down in 1895, replaced by the St. Paul Building. According to “Glimpses of New York” published in 1917:

The St. Paul Building. One of the tallest buildings in New York when erected. This replaced the old New York Herald office building, where for years Hudnut’s Drug Store on the corner did a land office business in soda-water during the summer, his thermometer regarded as the official figure of temperature.

It should be noted that Alexander sold the business in and around 1889-90 after, according to his New York Tribune obituary, “discussing terms for only half an hour.”  The new owners continued to operate it as Hudnut’s Pharmacy at 218 Broadway until the building was torn down in 1895. At that point, the business moved to 205 Broadway where the NYC Directories still associated it with the name Hudnut (why change a good thing?) through 1904.

In addition to the Hudnut name embossed on the front, the bottle I found has the Hudnut Logo comprised of his initials RH (with the H presented both front and back) embossed on the side. It’s machine made and matches the image in the 1913-1914 price list dating it to that period. Amazingly, the bottle was found with the spout (also embossed Richard Hudnut NY) still attached.