Saturday, January 18, 2014

Melba Perfumes

Melba Manufacturing Company. Established by Frances W. Jones at 4237 Indiana Ave, Chicago in 1908; bought out by Vivaudou/Vadsco Sales in 1926.

Melba produced toiletries including perfume, toilet waters, powders, nail products, deodorant, rouge, lipsticks, face cream, face massage cream, skin creams, skin lotion, tissue cream, hand cream, talcum, skin cleanser and men's shaving products. By 1942, Melba was no longer in business.

Nellie Melba, the famous opera star, at the height of her fame in 1908,  happened to walk by a shop on New York's Fifth Avenue whose window was filled with bottles labeled Melba Perfume and corresponding posters of her. Suspecting the quality of the scent, she entered the store and was nearly suffocated by the villainous odor, for it was rubbish of the most sickly kind. "How dare you attach my name to such dreadful stuff, and how dare you use my name at all without asking my permission!" The druggist replied "Look here Madame, I have as much right as you to that name as you have, for your real name is Mrs. Armstrong." Nellie retired but quickly patented the name so that no one else could use it, so she sued to stop the sale of the perfume. Triumphantly, she won the lawsuit.

The perfumes of Melba:
  • 1908 Melba
  • 1910 Lov'Me, The Perfume of Romance
  • 1912 Rose
  • 1912 Violet
  • 1912 Lilac
  • 1912 Ambre
  • 1917 Brema
  • 1919 Ador'Me
  • 1920 Grape Blossom
  • 1922 Ambre de Melba
  • 1920 Sarene
  • 1920 Jolly Good
  • 1920 Isis
  • 1920 Joy
  • 1922 Melbaline
  • 1922 Ariette
  • 1922 Glory
  • 1922 Shamrock
  • 1923 Lilas
  • 1923 Bouquet
  • 1923 Fleurs
  • 1927 Narcisse
  • 1927 Lavender
  • 1927 Sweet Orchid
  • 1928 Violetta
  • 1931 Lily of the Valley

It is possibly to find a frosted glass perfume bottle for the fragrance Lov'Me, it features a nude and her lover on the side. Many people mistake it for a Lalique bottle, but it was not made by Lalique.

A very rare bottle was produced by Quezal for the Melba Manufacturing Company in 1922 for the perfume Jolly Good (and possibly others). It was a golden aurene type iridescent art glass with a tapering body and hexagonal amber glass stopper. The buttress style, corner ribs taper from the bottom to the neck of the bottle. Base will be signed Quezal and Melba. Bottle stands 7 1/2 inches tall. The bottom has a square base that is 1 5/8 square.

A less expensive frosted glass version of this bottle was also made, however, it was not made by Quezal, sometimes the glass has been tinted a purple color due to the sunlight. Other times, you can find a green satin glass version of this same bottle. 

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Annual IPBA Perfume Bottles Auction