Friday, December 4, 2015

Murray and Lanman's Florida Water (1904)

Here's an interesting ad for a company that's still in business today and a product they're still producing! Murray and Lanman (now Lanman & Kemp-Barclay & Co.) started out in 1808 in New York, NY though they've moved to New Jersey since. They produced an assortment of beauty aids, everything from hair tonic to soap as well as the oddly named Florida Water. Put simply, Florida water is the American equivalent of Eau de Cologne with an emphasis on sweet orange, lavender, and clove. According to Wiki the name is a reference to the Fountain of Youth though, as too often is true, they provide no citation for this dubious sounding statement.

The ad is a little creepy, especially with all the color robbed from it by the scanning process. Santa, descending by rope from his Santa Claus zeppelin to deliver crates of cologne to the residents of some country home. You can almost see his revulsion in his face, "Jeesh, these people reek! Send down another three cases, Giggles, four won't be enough!" I also find the ad copy a little less than convincing. "An acceptable gift at all Seasons but especially appropriate as a Christmas Box". Acceptable? I don't want acceptable gifts. I want spectacular gifts, thoughtful gifts, marvelous gifts, not ones I'll look at and think "well, it doesn't offend me." Also the term "Toilet Perfume" is a little off-putting. When I hear "toilet perfume", I'm thinking it's an euphemism, not a gift.

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