Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Object of the Day: A Trade Card for Florida Water

Florida Water, an American Eau de Cologne, was introduced in 1808 by the New York City perfumer I. Murray who marketed the cologne as a light fragrance appropriate for use by both men and young ladies. The scent is citrus base with a dominant sweet orange aroma with added notes of lavender and clove. 

The bottle today.
In 1835, Mr. Murray was joined by David Trumbull Lanman and the Florida Water concern became known as “Murray & Lanman.” The company contends that their product still is made using the original 1808 formula, and that the current label is essentially the same artwork used in 1808 with only slight modifications.

Here’s a trade card from 1886 for Florida Water which I recently acquired with a large job lot of antique ephemera. It’s quite attractive, yes? The front shows a bottle of Florida Water being cooled in a clear lake. Upon its neck sits a handsome cockatoo who is framed by a luxurious background of palms, roses and exotic plants. All of this effectively puts one in mind of a cooling, fragrant product. 

As a fan, and daily user of Florida Water, I can attest that the marketing is essentially the same to this day. 

The reverse of the card reads:



The Universal Perfume



Professor Alexander Wassiliewitsch Poehl 

Analyzing Chemist for the Russian Gov- 

ernment, St. Petersburg: 

“Murray & Lanman’s FLORIDA WATER 
does not contain any integral parts 
which could be pernicious to health.” 

“The comparative investigation has 
shown that Murray & Lanman’s FLORIDA 
WATER possesses in a volatilized state 
a greater ability and power to purify 
the air than ‘Eau de Cologne;’ and in 
this respect Murray and Lanman’s FLORIDA 
WATER is far preferable to the well- 
Known Cologne Waters.” 

No. 6404 – Sept. 30th, 1886

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