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 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.