Samples and Demonstrator Kits

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Roses Perfume Sample Vial - June, 1906
Roses Perfume Sample Vial
~June 1906
Note: Depot Managers received one vial for each piece ordered during the month of June, 1906. Thus a 100-piece order resulted in 100 sample vials of Roses perfume received with the representative's shipment of goods that month.

Samples and Demonstrator Kits:

The primary method for demonstrating the various California Perfume Company wares (e.g., perfumes, toilet waters, powders, soaps, food preparations, etc.) within the homes of prospective customers during the late-1880's through early 1900's was for the Depot Managers to carry one, or more, Sample Case(s) filled with regular- or standard-sized products. Clearly, the benefits of placing the actual products into the hands of customers within their own homes was immediately apparent: 1) the customer could see and examine the actual goods offered for purchase in a familiar, inviting environment; and 2) the customer could more easily appreciate the quality, simplicity, and beauty of the containers, the labels, and packaging—elements that certainly helped to secure increased sales! However, the small size of the Sample Cases limited the number and selection of items that a Depot Manager could necessarily carry and demonstrate, thus potentially decreasing the total sales to a household.

Flavoring Extract Sample Case, Outfit #2 - 1899
Earliest Known California Perfume Company
Flavoring Extract Sample Case
Set contains one four ounce, one two ounce, and ten (glass-stoppered) one ounce bottles of Flavoring Extract put up in a Wooden Case. Note: The one ounce bottles were put up only for these outfits and never to be sold to the customer.

Click Here for Other Examples of CPC
Flavoring Extract Sample Cases

The oldest/earliest California Perfume Company demonstrator SET specifically designed as such is the 1901 Flavoring Extract Sample Case (seen to the right). The picture came from the 1901 Depot Manager's Instruction Manual and the set was identified as "Outfit No. 2." The other two outfits described in the manual were made up of the small wooden sample case and some assortment of standard CP products. An interesting point here is that the one ounce bottles that make up the largest portion of the samples within the Flavoring Extract set were ONLY for use by the representatives; these one ounce bottles were NOT part of the regular CPC product line-up of the time. One other important note about these particular one ounce Flavoring Extract bottles: notice the label is a simple diagonal strip of paper announcing only the flavor of its contents. There are no other identifying markings on these rarest-of-the-rare bottles to help the CPC collector find them!

Considering samples that were not put up in sets: the company's first use of actual samples (smaller-size containers of actual products given free to customers) is sadly lost to antiquity. The California Perfume Company's earliest recorded use of samples discovered thus far was found in the April 1905 Outlook (Vol. 1, Number 1) which asks in its front page article, "[d]id you take advantage of the offer of Furniture Polish samples which we sent with each order during March?" Later, that same article relates that, "[s]ome unfortunate circumstances, such as illness, may have prevented a few of our managers from sending in an order and getting the Furniture Polish samples during March[.] I would suggest in such instance that a regular bottle be procured, and when canvassing, demonstrate to those you call on what it will do—it will make old furniture look like new."

The California Perfume Company sent these free furniture polish samples to every Depot Manager submitting an order with delivery ONLY during the month of March, 1905. For every single item in a representative's order, a sample was provided by the company free of charge (i.e., if a representative's order contained 50 total pieces—the CPC would also send with that order 50 samples of Furniture Polish to distribute to customers.) Finding one of these Furniture Polish samples would be a treasure indeed! Consequently, the next free sample offer was Violet Antiseptic Talcum Powder samples sent to the CPC representatives during the month of May, 1905.

    Violet Talcum Powder Envelope Sample -Back- 1906
Violet Talcum Powder Envelope Sample
Dimensions 4 1/4" x


Vanilla Tonka and Vanilla Flavor Sample Advertisment - September, 1910
Vanilla Tonka and Vanilla Flavor Sample Advertisement
 in the CPC Bulletin
~20 September 1910

Vanilla Tonka and Vanilla Flavor Sample Bottle and Box - October, 1910
Vanilla Tonka and Vanillin Flavor Sample
~October 1910
(Vol.: One Teaspoon)
Note: Depot Managers received one extract sample for each piece ordered between 10 September and 10 October, 1910.

Starch Dressing Sample Pack
~October 1911
(Contents: Three Starch Dressing Tablets)
Note: Depot Managers received one Starch Dressing Sample Pack for each piece ordered from October 9 through November 9, 1911.

Additional Note: The Starch Dressing Sample offer of 1911 appears to be the last instance of the California Perfume Company providing free samples in bulk to their Depot Managers. Later, the trial-sizes or samples were either tied to customer purchase (see Daphne perfume to the immediate right) or purchased in bulk by the representatives.

Daphne Perfume Sample Vial
~June 1916
Note: Given to every customer that placed an order of $1.00 or more during the month of June, 1916.

Shampoo Cream Sample
~Approximately 1915

Kwick Cleaning Polish Sample
~September, 1922

New Perfume Demonstrator Set Advertisement
from June 1923 CPC Outlook
~June 1923

Perfume Demonstrator Set
Set includes four three dram bottles of "popular CPC odors," a sturdy perforated pad of demonstrator papers; and an instruction leaflet, put up in a leatherette box. The four odors show above are American Ideal, Daphne, Trailing Arbutus, and Vernafleur.

Originally offered to representatives in 1923 for $1.45 for the perfume set or $2.45 if purchased in combination with a New Color Plate Catalog.

Perfume Demonstrator Set
(Contents: Three Starch Dressing Tablets)
Note: Sets containing gold labels with green Letter are rare.

Perfume Demonstrator Set

Lotus Cream Sample

Rose Water Glycerine
and Benzoin Sample

Trailing Arbutus Talcum Powder Sample
Note: This size container available in the Jack and Jill Jungle Jinks Juvenile Set

Trailing Arbutus Vegetable Oil Soap Samples
~Approximately 1925-1928

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