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Vintage Perfumes For Sale

Friday, January 18, 2019

Columbian Exposition 1893

"The World's Columbian Exposition (the official shortened name for the World's Fair: Columbian Exposition, also known as the Chicago World's Fair and Chicago Columbian Exposition) was a world's fair held in Chicago in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival to the New World in 1492.



 The centerpiece of the Fair, the large water pool, represented the long voyage Columbus took to the New World. Chicago bested New York City, Washington, D.C., and St. Louis for the honor of hosting the fair. The Exposition was an influential social and cultural event and had a profound effect on architecture, sanitation, the arts, Chicago's self-image, and American industrial optimism.

The layout of the Chicago Columbian Exposition was, in large part, designed by John Wellborn Root, Daniel Burnham, Frederick Law Olmsted and Charles B. Atwood. It was the prototype of what Burnham and his colleagues thought a city should be. It was designed to follow Beaux Arts principles of design, namely French neoclassical architecture principles based on symmetry, balance, and splendor. The color of the material generally used to cover the buildings facades gave the fairgrounds its nickname, the White City. Many prominent architects designed its 14 "great buildings". Artists and musicians were featured in exhibits and many also made depictions and works of art inspired by the exposition.

The exposition covered 690 acres (2.8 km2), featuring nearly 200 new (but deliberately temporary) buildings of predominantly neoclassical architecture, canals and lagoons, and people and cultures from 46 countries. More than 27 million people attended the exposition during its six-month run. Its scale and grandeur far exceeded the other world's fairs, and it became a symbol of the emerging American Exceptionalism, much in the same way that the Great Exhibition became a symbol of the Victorian era United Kingdom. "-  Wikipedia

Souvenirs were sold in many forms, which included jewelry, coins, stamps, hand fans, post cards, photos, and a bit rarer,  are the perfume bottles. The perfume bottles shown below are of three types: throwaway bottles (erroneously known as tear-catchers), scent bottles and a commercial bottle by Herman Tappan.

The throwaway bottles are long skinny, crudely fashioned glass bottles which often had gilded decorations, these bottles were for the attar or otto of rose or oxford lavender. Many people erroneously have used the term "tear bottle" to market these simple scent bottles, which also go by names such as tear bottle, tear catcher, lapel bottle, tear vial, boot bottle, unguentaria, bosom bottle, or unguentarium. There are also several less common spellings for lachrymatory, including lacrymatory.



Dubbed throwaway bottles as when the lady of the house returned from the store where she purchased her otto bottle, she would then decant the contents into her own fancy bottles on her vanity or in her chatelaine scent bottle. The majority of these rather crude perfume bottles were made more for the common folk than the wealthy. These were sold at spas, fairs and shops and not made for refill, hence the name throwaway. The earliest mention I have found for them is in an 1804 newspaper, The Times (London). Another early mention is from an 1830 New York Evening Post newspaper, "Otto of Roses, in small gilt bottles, warranted pure, put up in boxes of one dozen each."

Most bottles measure 7” to 8” long and have a ground stopper with a round, flat top. These bottles were usually made of clear glass, but can also be found in blue, amber, green or other colors.

These bottles were blown glass and the stoppers often had a long dauber that reached down near the end of the bottle, the glass was decorated with ovals, crisscrosses, spirals, crosshatching, and flat planes cut into the sides. The bottles were hand decorated with bright enamels or rich gilding.

I had reported previously that the bottles were only made in Germany and Bohemia but upon further research, I have found that many of the gilded examples actually originated in Beykoz, Turkey.


The opaline glass scent bottles were most likely made in either France or Bohemia and imported into the United States. These are a white milk glass, fitted with gilded brass flip top caps, and each bottle has a transfer printed scene of a Columbian Exposition attraction, such as the Aqarium [sic], the Miner's Building and the Woman's Building. One of the bottles has a chain with finger ring attached to the collar so that it could be suspended from the finger or a chatelaine hook. The bottles also have flat bottoms so that they could be stood on the vanity table or inside of a cabinet when not in use.


Closeup photos of the bottles showing the scenes.





The Exposition featured many perfumers who displayed their newest and most popular wares amongst one another, often in fabulously decorated pavilions and booths. 

Exhibitors from around the world came to America to show off their imported perfumes. I have listed the various companies and firms, as well as any comments that were written about them at the exhibition.

France: 

  • A. Bourjois et Cie of Paris
  • Cottan of Paris
  • Demarson-Chetalet (Houbigant) of Paris
  • Georges Lamaille et Cie of Paris
  • Louis Noir (Ancienne Maison Leopold) of Paris
  • Ed Pinaud of Paris
  • Raspail of Paris
  • Oriza Legrand of Paris
  • Rigaud et Cie of Paris
  • Victor Vaissier of Roubaix (Nord)
  • Jean Charles Wiggishoff of Paris

World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, Ill., 1893, Volume 2:
"It was not hard to discover that in the line of perfumes France took the lead. The largest exhibit was that of Pinaud of Paris whose display was par excellence. His was the center of attraction to thousands of visitors who lingered around its scented precincts. This salon was one of the gems of the manufactures building and its treasures of musk were worth more than their weight in gold. Rose sandal and other precious woods were examined with infinite pleasure and after seeing it all one ceases to wonder why the products of the Parfumerie Ed Pinaud have such a reputation the civilized world over. The display of essential oils and crude perfumes was an attractive one and the collection of different kinds of musk won the admiration of all druggists who saw it. 
The following firms had exhibits of finished products all finely installed in a characteristically Parisian manner: Vaissier Paris, Rigaud Paris, the latter was quite lavish in the use of an atomizer upon the crowds which passed through the section. Demarson & Chetalet Paris perfumes and soaps, Societe Hygienique Paris, medicated soaps and dentifrices. Raspall Paris perfumes soaps and toilet preparations, Dorin Paris powders and cosmetics, Lamaille & Co Nice perfumes and extracts, Lautier fils Graese perfumes, pomades, extracts, and olive oil." 



Belgium:

  • Auguste de Marbaix of Antwerp


Japan:

  • Fusajiro Hiroocka of Osaka
  • Kyuzo Kamagai of Kyoto

Germany:

  • Johann Marie Farina of Cologne
  • Anton Sauberlich of Zwickan

Austria:

  • Anton Adamek of Vienna

Great Britain:

  • Alexander James & Co of London
  • JE Atkinson of London
  • Crown Perfumery Co of London
  • J. Gosnell of London
  • Sarah Sprules of Wallington
  • Stevenson & Howell of London

Canada:

  • Lyman Sons & Co of Montreal

Russia:

  • A. Rallet of Moscow
  • H. Brocard of Moscow
  • A. Ivanov of Moscow
  • A. Rheinherz of St. Petersburg
  • R. Eliashev of St. Petersburg

United States Congressional serial set, Issue 4374
"A. Rheinherz St Petersburg showed plasters, capsules, perfumes, and various chemicals. A. Rallet Moscow had a fine display of perfumes."


USA:

  • BD Baldwin of Chicago
  • Joseph Burnett of Boston
  • JS Kirk & Sons of Chicago
  • Frederick Stearns 
  • Ladd & Coffin (Lundborg) of New York
  • Lazell of New York
  • George Lorenz of Toledo, Ohio
  • Robert Low's of Brooklyn, NY
  • Theo Ricksecker of New York
  • Zehring of Chicago

United States Congressional serial set, Issue 4374:
"The perfumery and toilet articles display as a whole was quite creditable although not in such a luxurious style as the same class of exhibits in the French section. Ladd & Coffin of New York were equally as lavish with their special odors in supplying the public as was Pinaud. This firm had a very attractive display, their goods are of superior quality, put up in attractive style and have a reputation for delicacy of odor, lasting fragrance and true to name. Theo Ricksecker had a very handsome display of his popular odors. The products of this firm were the only odors allowed for sale on the Fair grounds. There were many other displays in this line that deserve special mention but as I am requested to write up the pharmaceutical display proper....
 Frederick Stearns and Co. This was a very handsome and tasty exhibit and a very pleasant place in which to pass an hour now and then. It was the most homelike of all exhibits and the very pleasant greeting by Mr Stearns Jr and Mr Penrose Jones made one soon feel at at home. This firm exhibited for competition their elegant line of perfumery and toilet articles in plain ornamental and cut glass bottles. The reputation gained by this firm on their perfumery was manifest by the request for their leaders Crab Apple, White Rose, Heliotrope, Four Roses, and Amorita. This firm exhibited also a full line of pharmaceuticals consisting of fluid and solid extracts, elixirs, syrups, wines, powders, pills, compressed tablets, and triturates.
One of the most artistic and attractive of our domestic exhibits in the great manufacturers building was that of Joseph Burnett & Co of Boston. This firm had on exhibition their flavoring extracts cologne water smelling salts and their wonderful color pastes...The cologne and lavender waters wood violet extract and other odors displayed are of exceptional sweetness delicate and lasting."

The World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893:
 "Another of the same character and also of excellent merit is that of Theo Ricksecker. The pavilion which contains it is handsome and elaborate and the wares are also beautiful and attractive." 

Official Guide to the World's Columbian Exposition in the City of Chicago, 1893:
 "Pavilions of Note. Among the most striking of the pavilions in the Manufactures building are the the following: JS Kirk & Co toilet soaps, Ladd & Coflin and Theo Ricksecker perfumeries." 



Some of these perfumery companies produced special perfumes commemorating the event, such as Seely's Columbian Bouquet. This World's Fair perfume bottle made for Herman Tappan was most likely made by Corning, as they manufactured most, if not all of Tappan's perfume bottles. The date on the bottle reads "1892".

To read about another exhibitor at the exposition, view my blog post on the Lundborg PerfumeryIt was at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair that the Young, Ladd & Coffin firm was awarded the highest award for their Lundborg Perfumes. By this time, Lundborg had received eight medals in total for their perfumes.



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