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DeVilbiss Perfume Bottles
DeVILBISS PERFUME BOTTLES
DeVilbiss Perfume Bottles
5.5 in. tall and Atomizer - 6.5 in. tall.
Courtesy Bruce Hill
Much as anything else, these are curiosities whenever they present themselves to the collecting community. Few accounts have appeared in the usual briefs we all read with regularity, such as Club Newsletters, and carnival glass books which ordinarily espouse specific manufacturers products. What we believe is the most thorough writing we have ever seen on this subject, appeared in Collecting Glass #2 by Wm. Heacock, in 1985. By no means an in-depth study of the DeVilbiss company in Toledo, nor of its inventor Thomas A. DeVilbiss, it does offer some background information for better understanding of how and when these rather elaborate bottles came to be. We sincerely hope that you gain some insight from reading it.
What story lay hidden behind the brick walls of this industrial giant? When did the firm begin? Was this a manufacturer of colognes and perfumes, or simply a packaging firm which used a patented atomizer head? We heard the company made industrial air compressors and hospital supplies involving air compression. It stands to reason that Mr. DeVilbiss thus built a company around the mechanical control of air pressure. Of one fact we are certain - we know they did not make the glass bottles for their atomizers. All bottles have acid stamp marks, stamped metal collars or paper labels identifying them as DeVilbiss bottles. The atomizer head was patented Apr. 11, 1922.
The earliest perfumes seem to have come from the U.S., before the firm realized they could have them made more cheaply in Europe. Bottles which have been attributed to the Cambridge Glass Co., largely based on color and decoration matchups, have been found with the patented atomizer head. The time frame for this atomizer head certainly conforms to the production of the Cambridge opaque colors.
Most DeVilbiss bottles made in the U.S. can be confirmed as made during the World War II years, when the glass industry in Europe was virtually at a standstill (except for Sweden). A letter from the DeVilbiss company to a collector confirms that Czechoslovakia was the firm's main source for bottles during the 1925 to 1938 period. The variety of shapes and colors seems endless, making a collection of these perfume bottles a virtual study in the versatility of the Czech glassmakers.
When the War disrupted DeVilbiss' source for fine bottles, a relationship was established with The Fenton Art Glass Co. of Williamstown, W.Va., as a supplier. Various opalescent colors and shapes were used, sometimes using existing molds, producing the bottles in colors not in the usual Fenton line. Some Fenton molds were specifically designed for use with the DeVilbiss bottles, such as one used for a French opalescent bottle of less than 6 ½” tall. It carries Patent No. 121,909 on the atomizer.
We have no information concerning a specific manufacturer for the marigold bottles of interest to carnival glass collectors. That is unfortunate. Should this be read by anyone having factual data, we would be most appreciative of your help in this. Please let us hear from you.
On Sept. 18, 2004, the originally boxed, complete set we display here, sold for $375. at a Reichel Auction in St. Louis; a notable result, to be sure!
Dean & Diane Fry~~Oct. `04
Should you care to contact the Frys, their email address is:
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