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Non-Attributed CPC Products!

Depot Manager's Flavoring Extract Sample Case - 1901
Depot Managers' Flavoring Extract Sample Case
Depot Managers' Manual Description: The Second Outfit. This outfit, when ordered with other goods, will cost you only $1.25. The ten glass-stopper bottles hold one ounce each, and are put up only for these outfits. Never order the one-ounce bottle of Flavoring Extracts for customers. Those are put up for the outfits only. Note: this set also includes one labeled four ounce extract bottle (far left) and one labeled two ounce extract bottle (first in from left).

Violet Travelers' Perfume Bottle - 1906
Violet Travelers' Perfume Bottle
Catalog Description: Oriental Shape Perfume Bottle, with ground glass stopper, and screw cap; price (filled with 40¢ odors) 50¢

Holiday Gift Box No. 3 - Cut Glass Vinaigrette - 1903
Holiday Gift Box No. 3
Catalog Description: Cut Glass Vinaigrette mounted with heavy Sterling Silver Cap;
suitable for Lavender Smelling Salts or Perfume; sold empty for 75¢

To date, this particular "New Find" represents one of the most important discoveries to date effecting those avid California Perfume Company and early-Avon collectors: conclusive evidence for CPC products that do NOT bear any attributable labeling. In other words, there is nothing identifying the items as having been manufactured, put up, or sold by/through the California Perfume Company.

Please understand that the California Perfume Company and Avon sold items under their banners which were manufactured or put up by secondary companies and bore no CPC or Avon markings. As an easy example: the 1928 Vernafleur Atomizer. This green atomizer is quite rare and very collectible, however the fact that there are absolutely no identifying marks announcing,  "Avon" or "California Perfume Company" complicate its potential discovery. Even a seasoned collector must truly keep a sharp eye out to find one of these rare beauties. BUT...the fact IS that (probably) MANY of these Vernafleur Atomizers were sold in the late-1920's to early-1930's, potentially increasing the odds that examples can still be found today.

Now on to pictures above!

These incredible CPC treasures are from the turn of the Twentieth century. Each picture, in their own right, deserves an entire "New Finds" article! But for our purposes, these three will be lumped together. The Flavoring Extract Set shown in the upper left hand corner was offered as "The Second Outfit" to the CPC sales force in the 1901 Depot Managers' Instruction Manual. The materials inside the case were not to be sold separately. The Violet Travelers' perfume bottle, seen in the upper right corner, is an illustration from the 1907 Color Catalog. Lastly, the picture of the Cut Glass Vinaigrette, along with its accompanying verbiage, was found in D. H. McConnell's 1903 History of California Perfume Company (from which The Great Oak booklet was produced.) The common element between all three items is a lack of identification with the CPC. Of particular interest are the narrow, diagonal labels specifying only flavor (in the case of the Extract Case) or fragrance (in the case of the Traveler's perfume bottle.) The Vinaigrette possess no label at all!

The crux of the article is this: How do we recognize the earliest bottles marketed by D. H. McConnell? This question is quiet important. We know for a fact that McConnell was working with perfumes in the earliest years of the company. The second known fact—actually more critical than the first—is that the name California Perfume Company was not used until 1892. (See the Historical Overview for more information.) So the important question becomes, "exactly how, or under what company banner, were the first and the oldest, McConnell-related perfumes labeled? I think that the above extracts and pictures give us a bit of a glimpse into one very reasonable labeling possibility! Either no label at all...or a small label defining only the bottle's contents and nothing more.

Needless to say, this article is meant to raise the collectors' awareness. It is not meant to provide the "end-all, be-all" answers to the posed questions. We will have to just keep on looking!

Happy hunting!

If you have any comments, please contact me at george (at)

1907 Violet Toilet Water!


1907 Violet Toilet Water and 1903 le Parfum de Roses Trial Size
Violet Toilet Water
~Probably 1907
The Violet Toilet Water is shown next to the 1903 Trial-size CPC Le Parfum de Roses for size comparison; note the same bottle style, however the toilet water is a two ounce version and the perfume sample is a 1/4 ounce version.

Close up of Violet Toilet Water Label - 1907
Close up of the Violet Toilet Water Label
~Probably 1907


This is a VERY interesting find on par with the "Newly Discovered Toilet Water Bottle." As noted in that previous article, a White Rose toilet water was discovered that was put up in a two ounce version of the same bottle (style) normally associated with eight ounce CPC Furniture Polish. And the toilet water's front label was one normally associated with CPC perfumes of that period—a strange and extremely rare find to be sure!

Focusing now on the bottle pictured above, this too is fascinating! The bottle is a two ounce version of the smaller (one quarter ounce) bottle normally used to put up the California Perfume Company's line of French perfumes. The smaller bottles were distributed as Trial Size bottles, sold for the nominal price of 25¢. The larger, two ounce bottle has never before been depicted in the CPC catalogs, representative's Outlooks or Bulletins, customer flyers, or in the Avon Encyclopedias (specifically the Bud Hastin's Avon Collector's Encyclopedia and the Western World Avon Collector's Encyclopedia last published in 1985). In many articles within this web site, I have emphasized the need to "expect the unexpected" and realize that most of the CPC products were never depicted by illustration or picture during the company's 53 year history—before being renamed Avon in 1939.

This bottle and label combination doesn't appear as if it was simply grabbed and used as a short-term replacement while stocks of the "normal" bottles and labels were replenished. The label appears distinctly cut/prepared to fit the smooth opening of the bottle's front(see close-up of the label pictured above.) As well, the neck label on the Violet Toilet Water was a staple on the two ounce toilet water bottles of the period. At this point, I would lean toward this bottle being in the actual CPC line-up at some point in time...and that gets to the sticky part: dating the bottle.

The two labels (front and neck) are really the primary focal points for dating this piece, and the bottle to a lesser extent. So, the key elements are: 1) label font; 2) the Eureka Trademark on the front and neck labels; 3) the fragrance (doesn't really help in this particular case since Violet was available from 1886-1928); and 4) the bottle itself. Using all of these factors, this Violet Toilet Water dates somewhere between 1902 and 1908, but probably closer to the 1907-1908 time period.

Happy hunting!

If you have any comments, please contact me at george (at)!

1906-1910 California Tooth Wash!

 California Tooth Wash - 1908
California Tooth Wash

Note: This label has the 1906
Food and Drug Act Guarantee

 California Tooth Wash Illustration from 1909 CPC Catalog
California Tooth Wash
(Illustration from the 1909 CPC Catalog)
Note: This label has the 1906
Food and Drug Act Guarantee

Rear, embossed panel of the California Tooth Wash Bottle - 1908
Embossed lettering on rear panel of the bottle: California Tooth Wash

The above pictured 1906-1910 California Tooth Wash is a truly phenomenal discovery! To date, this is the only known example of this extraordinary California Perfume Company item with BOTH its front and neck labels. So, my first question to you, the reader, is: do you know of any others? If you do, please let me know. Please drop me an e-mail addressed to george (at)

In obsessively watching e-Bay from 1999 until now, mid-2010, I have noted, maybe, five to ten tooth wash bottles with the same bottle design come up for auction. None of those bottles had/retained any portion of their original front panel or neck labels. To me, one of the most interesting points of this find is: who in the world would keep a used tooth wash bottle for over 100 years? It isn't pretty. I highly doubt that this piece is someone's "family heirloom". It doesn't even have ANY of its original contents nor its cork and metal crown stoppers (see picture to the above right taken from a 1909 CPC catalog.) The moral of this story is that even today, rare and previously un-photographed CPCs are STILL being discovered!

For a small bit of historical context: the California Tooth Wash was a 1899 or 1900 addition to the tooth products line up. The CPC's earliest catalogs do not illustrate the California Tooth Wash, only a written description is provided (for an example, see page 47 of the 1906 CPC Catalog). The 1908 through 1910 catalogs (see the Library section of this web site) all use the same illustration as depicted above (right). Please note that the labels depicted in the illustrations and the label on the actual tooth wash bottle (above left) both have the 1906 Food and Drug Act guarantee—dating the piece at 1906 and later. By comparison, the next iteration of this product drops the Eureka trademark and begins using the CPC Chain (or football as some collectors like to call it) trademark around 1911-1912. Also, the earlier iteration of the California Tooth Wash, from 1899-1905, probably has the exact same label as depicted above, only without the 1906 Food and Drug Act information (much the same as the Lavender Salts and Flavoring Extracts of that period.)

Happy hunting!

If you have any comments, please contact me at george (at)!

Goetting & Co., New York Carnation Pink Perfume!

Goetting & Co., Carnation Pink Perfume - 1900
Goetting & Co., New York Carnation Pink Perfume

~Probably early-1900's
(Possibly 1/8 Ounce Bottle Shown)
Graciously provided by Ms. Christine Mazzotta

One of the greatest pleasures that this web site has offered over the years is the wonderful opportunity to connect with people literally around the globe to share CPC and Avon collecting stories, pass pictures of new discoveries, and link up with new and old collector friends, associates, and acquaintances. My vision for the site has always been that it would be a continually expanding electronic encyclopedia of the California Perfume Company...and with the discovery of D. H. McConnell's other business endeavors, the 'well of collecting possibilities' got a whole lot deeper: Goetting & Co., New York, the Mutual Mfg. Co., New York, the D. H. McConnell Company, New York, and others. It really is amazing to see all the irons that McConnell had in the proverbial fire!

Now to the photo above: Goetting & Co., New York products are extremely rare! Sold for almost 40 years—first under the proprietorship of its founder Adolph H. Goetting from approximately 1876 to 1896, then under the proprietorship of David H. McConnell from 1896 through at least 1918—this successful company sold a vast line of perfumes and toiletries in drug and department stores of the period. The beauty in packaging and superior quality of many Goetting products compelled McConnell's to purchase Goetting & Co. lock, stock, and barrel in 1896 with the end goal of acquiring this master perfumer's talent for the position of Chief Chemist of the California Perfume Company. But back to the bottle...

Thus far, I have come across EXTREMELY few examples of Goetting, & Co., New York products. The 1/8 ounce Carnation Pink perfume bottle pictured above was recently discovered in an old building that was undergoing repair/reconstruction—the only Carnation Pink example that I have come across. The bottle itself does seem similar to the White Lilac perfume bottle pictured in the Goetting's products section of this web site. The Goettings are somewhat of a conundrum though: the perfumes and toiletries were sold in drug and department stores, leading to the basic assumption that the products generated good, solid sales, thus the possibility of many bottles, tins, and containers remaining until today. However, the opposite seems to be the case! There actually seems to be extremely few products—empty or full, boxed or not, in poor to mint condition—still around today! So, I was especially happy when Ms. Mazzotta sent me a note along with a couple of pictures asking about this Carnation Pink treasure that she found. As for value, that's a bit hard, but I could easily see this bottle sell for $100.00 to $150.00 plus, even in it's current condition.

For all you CPC and Avon collectors out there...the Goettings are a special treat!

Happy hunting!

If you have any comments, please contact me at george (at)!

Newly Discovered Toilet Water Bottle!

White Rose Toilet Water - 1909 
White Rose Toilet Water
~Probably 1909
(Two Ounce Bottle)
Early Toilet Waters 
The White Rose Toilet Water bottle flanked by 1902 (L) Eau de Cologne
and 1915 (R) Carnation Toilet Water bottles

(Two Ounce Bottles)

The absolute greatest treat for me as a collector of California Perfume Company items—bottles, tins, paper, etc.—is finding previously undocumented treasures like the one above: the two ounce White Rose Toilet Water bottle that was probably manufactured and sold around 1909. The bottle itself is an exact, albeit smaller, replica of the eight ounce bottle used by the CPC to put up furniture polish from approximately 1912 through 1916. The picture to the above right provides a comparison view of the White Rose Toilet Water bottle (middle) with earlier and later CPC Toilet Water bottle styles.

This underscores two critical points that have become my mantras: First, we don't know what we don't know. This refers to the fact that the California Perfume Company did NOT depict all the variations of their available products over the years, especially in the early years (1886-1915). The first catalog was produced in 1896, ten years after the company's inception and that catalog contained text only. The second catalog, and subsequent catalogs through approximately 1900-1901 contained sparse hand-drawn illustrations meant to artfully accentuate the text rather than truly depict what was for sale. From 1901-1902 through 1915, the California Perfume Company depicted more of their products in their small catalogs, however, not all products were shown. And something else to consider: the company OFTEN chose not pictorially reflect updates/differences in packaging or labeling from year to year in their catalogs. With the move to Color Plate catalogs, many more products were illustrated/pictured...but again, not all. The fact is, most of the products sold in the 53 years under the CPC banner were NEVER pictured (i.e., California Cough Syrup, California Glove Powder, and Root Beer Extract just to name a few).

The second point is: there are still plenty of undocumented treasures out there just waiting to be found. Some time ago, a seasoned CPC collector said to me, "Rusty, everything that could have been found has been found. There's really nothing (previously undocumented CPCs) left to find." I respectfully disagreed. And within a month of that conversation, I had acquired three—not just one, but three—previously undocumented CPCs. What "previously undocumented" means is that the item is not found in the Bud Hastin's Avon Collector's Encyclopedias or the Western World Avon Encyclopedias. But more importantly, the item is not found in available catalogs, brochures, or representative's materials. And really, that accounts for a ton of collecting possibilities!

Back to the above White Rose Toilet Water bottle. The most interesting point about this bottle is the front label provided a bit of a dilemma. The embossed eureka label was, until now, only known to be used on early CPC perfumes (prior to 1915). Conversely, the crown stopper and neck label are indicative of later CPC toilet waters (approximately 1912 to 1922). This two ounce bottle itself has never been pictured anywhere and, in larger Vol. (eight ounce), was used as the container for CPC furniture polish. One last thought: the labels on early CPC toilet waters shared very similar fonts and overall styling with some of the CPC floral perfumes (please compare the floral perfumes and toilet waters sections of this web site). After 1909, there appeared to be a large divergence in the labeling of perfumes and toilet waters, perhaps in a calculated move to highlight the distinction between the two product types. Therefore, I believe this bottle falls in the realm of transitional bottles—a little old style (front label), a little new style (neck label and crown stopper). Therefore, the date of production and sale of this item is probably around 1909 to 1910.

I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on this one! If you have any comments, please contact me at george (at)!

Why Empty Boxes ARE Important!

Box X Flavoring Set - 1915
Box X Flavoring Set
~Probably 1915-1918

Catalog Illustration of the Box X Flavoring Set - 1916
Box X Flavoring Set -
Color Plate Catalog Illustration


Nestled in the heart of the Collector's Tips page is a small section entitled, "Buy The Empty Boxes!" And herein is a perfect example of just THAT tip!

Complete CPC sets, basically in any condition, are extremely hard to find today. However, it must also be acknowledged that many sets (i.e., late-1920's and 1930's Manicure sets, 1915-1922 Baby sets, 1924-1929 Daphne Septette Gift sets, various 1930's Women's sets, etc.) have survived to become  integral parts of numerous California Perfume Company collections.

The key point here is this: while it may be reasonably understood why certain CPC items/sets were NOT thrown into the rubbish pile (beautiful packaging, family keepsakes, or simply because people from that era didn't discard things as easily as we do today), that would not seem to be the case for the various CPC household products (i.e., California Plate Polish (silver polish), Starch Dressing, Vegetable and Harmless Colorings, Furniture Polish, etc.) The Box X Flavoring Set would DEFINITELY be in this latter—household goods—category. In other words, "why in the world would an empty flavoring set be kept, especially just the outer box, once the contents are exhausted?"

In the case of the above pictured box, the answer was simple! The outer box was kept to hold "stuff."

I purchased this true CPC treasure from the granddaughter of the set's original owner. After the grandmother used the set's contents, she then kept the box to hold keepsake letters and Christmas cards. After the grandmother passed away, the granddaughter found this extremely rare item. This currently represents the ONLY known example of the Box X Flavoring set outer box! In the above picture, the bottles placed by the box's sides were staged for the picture only in order to give the viewer real examples of what would have been included in the original Box X Flavoring set.

Lastly, the bottles to complete this set ARE still in circulation today! And to have a complete 1915 CPC Box X Flavoring set WOULD be an extremely rare and valuable treasure indeed!

If you have any thoughts on this article, please write to me at george (at)

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