Friday, February 20, 2009
The Continuing Story of Cara Nome Perfume
The story of Cara Nome began to interest me when I found I had collected 4 bottles, each with a different maker, city, style and scent but all shearing this same obscure little name. So what was the story behind this perfume? United Drug Company was the first maker who produced Cara Nome perfume in 1918.
United Drug Company was a titan of early 20th century American industry (190x-1927). The company started in New York- actually New Jersey, the industrial area a few miles west of Central Park and 5th Avenue somwhere around 1900. But by 1907 United Drug had already migrated or expanded to Boston according to the writings of Frank Edward Davis, who was the general manager of United Drug Company in Boston at that time. By 1911, Davis had moved on to head another United Drug Company located in Onterio, Canada. In 1913 United Drug was booming; the pockets of this giant became so heavy that sometime that year the company split to form United Candy Company, United Stationary Company, United Laboratories Company and the United Perfume Company.
Despite their exuberant expansion by 1921 United Drug Company was running into serious financial troubles. In fact a great depression was coming and United would not survive. Even so in 1922 the company released 12 new fragrances. Perfume, made with ingredients manufactured in their chemical laboratories, was one of the most profitable of their latter going concerns. In 1927, United Drug and Perfumes dissolved. As is often the case, another company seems to have been waiting in the wings to come along after United and buy up their most successful fragrances which began to appear under the Langolis Company label inthe late 1920s or early 1930s.
The perfumes of the United Drug company include in chronological order: 1915 Bouquet Dazira; 1916 Narcisse; 1917 Coeur d'Or; 1918 Cara Nome; 1918 Violet Dulce Jonteel and Truflor; 1920 Arbutus; 1921 Juneve. Then in 1922, a burst of releases: Coeur de Trefle, Coeur de Violette, June Bouquet, Nacre, Alma Zada, Dazira, Fleur des Bois, Harmony, Harmony Trefle, Intense, White Lilac and Rose. In 1923, Duska Toilet Water only. Then in 1924 and 1925 came the last two of the original United Drug/Perfume Company perfumes, Bouquet Ramee and Shari.
As a side note, coincidentially, (or more likely not), two of the United releases, White Lilac and Arbutus, are name copies from two of the earliest Avon perfumes (but under another name back then). Those earliest fragrances were produced under Avon's original name, California Perfume Company. Like United, the CPC was established in New York sometime around 1865. White Lilac and Arbutus were also produced by Mary Chess and Barcorns, probably all the later versions had been inspired by those very first successful CPC perfumes of the late 1870-1880s. Today Avon produces perfumes for the mass market of American women and has a reputation for producing "cheap" perfumes but you have to admire about any company that is over 130 years and still going strong!
But going back to our original story line, Langolis continued producing a number of the original United Drug/Perfumes such as Cara Nome and Shari. Under Langolis and unlike what I see in photos of the older United Drugs line, the packaging was often exquisit.
Our story isn't nearly complete yet but the Langolis trail becomes a dead end, so stay tuned for more... of how the story will evolve.