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Vintage Perfumes For Sale

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Early American Old Spice for Women by Shulton c1937

Most of us know the famous men’s fragrance Old Spice, but very few know that this was originally intended for women to wear. It was launched under the name Early American Old Spice in 1937 by Shulton.

Fragrance Composition:

It was inspired by a rose jar (potpourri) his mother used to keep. An old advertisement described this perfume as a” tangy spice and rose petal enchantment.”

  • Top notes: orange, lemon, lavender, basil, petit grain
  • Middle notes: iris, cloves, carnations, geranium, lily of the valley, rose
  • Base notes:  patchouli, sandalwood, cedar, herbs, ambergris, vanilla and musk

I have a bottle of the toilet water, dating from 1960, when applied to my wrist, I can detect the loveliest marriage of roses and spices, it is actually quite exquisite and is an Oriental fragrance. The vanilla base holds it all together and makes me keep sniffing my wrist. If you haven't tried this yet, I highly recommend this perfume to anyone who likes Shalimar.


Early American Old Spice was developed around a colonial theme. During the Depression, there was a growing interest in anything related to early America. Shulton brought out their line of Early American Old Spice toiletries, appropriately packaged, began to advertise in Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, thus inadvertently became one of the first to board the trend toward Americanism in advertising. The founder of Shulton, George Schultz and his artist friend, Enid Edson, began to research books on early American lore and visited museums to look for designs for use on his products. When Schultz visited his retailing friends, he showed them his sketches and ideas for packaging toiletries in functional containers that had simple designs.

The perfume bottles were clear glass with naïve folk art styled enameling of Pennsylvania Dutch (German) figures. Shulton’s perfume bottles were an homage to the early glasshouses of "Baron" Heinrich Wilhelm Stiegel of Philadelphia and Casper Wistar of Alloway, NJ (which is the town next to mine), whose decorated flasks were known as bride‘s bottles/colognes. Stiegel was the first American glass manufacturer to enamel glass. Pieces made of white, or clear, glass have their decoration of birds, tulips, and scrolls painted on freehand with red, green, and yellow enamel. The motifs used reflect typical Pennsylvania German traditions of decoration. Museums around the country display relics from these historical glassworks and no doubt Shultz would have seen them.

Early American Old Spice was available in toilet water, perfume, dusting powder, bath salt crystals, body sachet, talcum powder. The perfumes and ancillaries were often packaged in light wooden boxes decorated with folk art themes, these boxes had no advertising on them and could be used for other purposes such as storing hankies or stockings. One box even had a small pin cushion on the top and could double as a sewing workbox. Early American Old Spice toiletries were an immediate success. In fact, sales at the end of 1938 were $982,000.

Old Spice for Men:

Shulton introduced a few items of Old Spice for men in time for Christmas that year, and by the end of the following year, sales were $3 million. Men’s fragrances include Old Spice, introduced in 1938, a tweaked version of the women’s, a classic masculine scent of citrus, flowers, and vanilla which was, and Old Spice Whitewater. With the launch of Old Spice, Schultz wanted to keep the colonial theme but also wanted a nautical touch, so he incorporated the colonial sail boat which has endured as a lasting trademark to this day. In 1963, a reorchestrated version was released in association with Proctor & Gamble.

Men's Old Spice Notes:
  • Top Notes: Orange, Lemon, Spices, Clary Sage, Aldehydes
  • Heart Notes: Cinnamon, Carnation, Geranium, Jasmine, Heliotrope, Pimento Berry
  • Base Notes: Vanilla, Musk, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Benzoin, Tonka, Ambergris

Fate of the Fragrance:

In 1946, Shultz moved his factory to Clifton, NJ, so any products bearing this location will date after this time. Early American Old Spice for women was still being marketed in 1969..

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