Perusing the collection is a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and it’s really interesting to see how products and design have changed – or haven’t.
Smith’s Rosebud Salve still looks the same, for example.
For “Chapped lips, face and hands, minor burns and scalds, bites and stings of non-poisonous insects”
Mentholatum, now owned by Japan’s Rohto (the makers of those minty-fresh eyedrops) is famous for their lip balms, decongestant rub, and ointments for sore muscles.
“Try Mentholatum for Head Colds, After-Shaving, Chapped Skin, Cracked Lips, Sunburn, Burns”
Yardley is one of the first companies to specialize in beauty products, established in 1770.
“A liquid skin cream, smooth & refreshing. Brings elasticity & lustre to a dried skin and forms a perfect face powder base.”
Petrolatum was “discovered” by Robert Chesebrough, after he noticed oil field workers rubbing the jelly on their hands to help heal wounds.
Maybelline was commercialized by a 19 year old boy after he noticed his sister, Mabel, mixing vaseline with coal tar and using the mixture to coat her lashes.
Gel cream blushes are making their way back into popularity, but this one was made back in the ’70s by Love Cosmetics, which was owned by a company which later became GlaxoSmithKline.
This liquid hose was meant to even out the skin tone of the legs, much like Sally Hansen’s modern aerosol version.
I found an advertisement for this product in the 1945 Milwaukee Journal. During World War II, cosmetics became a luxury and some women used gravy browning to replace the now rare liquid hose.
There’s so too many other interesting finds to go through them all, but I’ve put some of my other top picks in this gallery.