Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Gay Manhattan

Alf hopes that all you Gay Manhattanites are going to have a great Valentines Day!

Daggett & Ramsdell were two pharmacists who formed a partnership in Newark, New Jersey sometime around 1890. Daggett had been working on skin care and cleansing products. By the turn of the century, Daggett had blended a few simple colognes, one of which he named Odoria. His products were sold door to door and out of stores located in New York and New Jersey. In the early 1940s perfumer Jean Desprez created the floral cologne Gay Manhattan for D&R. It sold well, and was presented in several different style bottles. Most of Daggett & Ramsdell's fragrance advertising was done during the 1940s when the company was at its peak. Later the perfume division was left to languish while the company focused on skin and hair care products. Another scent created by Desprez for D&R was Nuit de Versailles --a name similar to his most famous scent, Bal A Versailles (The House of Desprez.)

An advertisement from 1922. It claims that a woman's happiness depends largely upon her looks. What they meant back then by her looks was what we would call grooming today. Clean, smooth skin is the message here.
In 1922 one thin dime would buy you a tube of cold cream, but then the average weekly wages were: $14.00 if you were a maidservant in NYC, $25.00 if you were a factory worker in NY State, and $29.00 if you were a white collar worker, (like an insurance adjuster or something) in NY State. (Sources: NY Times, WSJ) With those wages, you'd pretty much have to spend your dimes carefully.

Even Dr. Seuss worked for D&R during their most successful period. (Notice the French words he used.)

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