The San Francisco Branch

CP Company

George  J. McConnell at Desk with Secretary
Mr. George J. McConnell and Assistant at the San Francisco Branch of the California Perfume Company
~Probably early-1900's
Observe the open doorway seen in the upper left hand side of the picture; apparently the door leads to some type of store room.
The perfume and toiletry items on display are Goetting & Co., New York.

Virtually no information concerning the San Francisco branch of the California Perfume Company survived this past century save a few pictures, and a few references in various company documents. One important discovery shed light on the time-line of the branch's initiation. Common understanding held that the San Francisco branch was stood up and managed by Mr. George J. McConnell—David H. McConnell's younger brother, six years his junior—sometime in 1898 at 506 Mission Street. The BIG discovery was that of three California Perfume Company shipping documents from November 30th, 1895; December 9th, 1895; and December 21st, 1895. Plainly identified in the upper left hand corner of each shipping document are three cities: New York, Chicago, and SAN FRANCISCO. Whether or not George McConnell was manager of the San Francisco branch prior to 1898 may be lost to antiquity, however the shipping documents annotate the fact that the San Francisco branch was in existence at least as early as 1895.

There was one primary reason for the stand up of the San Francisco branch (as with the Luzerne, Pennsylvania branch in 1895; the Davenport, Iowa and Dallas, Texas branches in 1896; and others later on): to facilitate the quickest possible shipping of products to the area Depot Managers. The California Perfume Company experienced unprecedented growth from its very start. Unconfirmed numbers of Depot Managers canvassing for the California Perfume Company were 5000 in 1898; 6100 in 1901; 10,000 in 1902; and 25,000 representatives by 1925. Manufacturing, filling, and shipping of ALL the orders from 126 Chambers Street, and then from the Suffern Laboratory, was untenable. McConnell clearly understood that without expeditious shipping and delivery to the customer, it wouldn't matter how superior his product was compared to his competition. Therefore, McConnell set up distribution points—branches—from which orders could be quickly mailed out to his Depot Managers throughout the United States.

It is important here to note another principle role for the San Francisco branch: a whole sale store front for Goetting & Co., New York products. In his 1903 A Brief History of the California Perfume Company, D. H. McConnell reported that he secured the services of, "the best perfumer [he] could find, a gentleman who...had the reputation in New York and vicinity for making the finest perfumes on the American market." Mr. Adolph Goetting became the Chief Chemist for the California Perfume Company in 1896 following McConnell's purchase of the Goetting company lock, stock, and barrel. To his great credit, McConnell seized this opportunity to continue manufacturing and sales of the Goetting perfumes and toiletries at least through 1918. Please note the in the many Goetting & Co., New York products in the above and below pictures.

George McConnell Demonstrating Customer Goetting Perfumes
George McConnell Demonstrating Goetting & Co., NY Perfumes to Customer
~Probably early-1900's
Observe the "Goetting Girl" placard on the upper left hand self.


Stock Room at the San Francisco Branch
Staff Working in the Stock Room
~Probably early-1900's
Observe the "Goetting Girl" placard in the in the left center of the picture. Also, the box at the lower left contains a huge amount of Goetting & Co., New York perfume demonstrator cards.

The office at 504 Mission Street was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire. The office was immediately reopened on the corner of 16th Street and Landers Street in San Francisco. Lastly, in 1922, the San Francisco branch was closed with he retirement of George McConnell; and the distribution duties of the branch were transferred to the Kansas City branch which opened in 1903.

Table Filled with Goetting & Co., NY Perfumes and Toiletries
Goetting & Co., New York Products
~Probably early-1900's

George McConnell at His Desk in the San Francisco Branch
George McConnell in a Meeting
~Probably early-1900's

Staff Office in the San Francisco Branch
Office Staff at the San Francisco Branch of the California Perfume Company
~Probably early-1900's
Note the woman seated in the back, right hand desk is the same woman wearing the same scarf/tie as seen in the picture at the top of this page. Additionally, note the map on the back left hand wall is that of California and the calendar hanging on the back right hand wall is the same as that observed hanging on the door in the second picture down from the top of this page.

Note: Pictures used by permission of the Hagley Museum and Library

If you have ANY information about the San Francisco, or other early California Perfume Company, branches, please contact me at george (at)

CP Company