Lightyears Collection
Caprice Toilet Water
(c. 1872-1910)

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Caprice Toilet Water by Colgate

Caprice Toilet Water By Colgate

Colgate & Company, started as a soap and candle operation by William Colgate in 1806, entered the perfume business in 1966. By the 1920's, the success of toothpaste and dental products put an end to the company's ventures into fragrances, apart from perfumed soap.

This bottle of Colgate Caprice Toilet Water was probably produced in the years between 1866 and 1910. The label refers to "Colgate & Company, New York, U.S.A." In 1910 Colgate abandoned its New York City address and moved all operations to New Jersey.

The style of the bottle is also very 19th Century. The bottle is stoppered by a cork into which is fit a metal plug (see detail below). Over the cork is a gold wrapper and, in the case of this bottle, it can be seen that it originally sported a tamper-proof seal — a thread which went over or around the stopper and continues (in this example) to be embedded under the paper wrapper around the neck of the bottle.

The bottle itself bears the Colgate trademark on the back (see detail below) just above the back label.

On the front label, it is interesting to note that the Colgate company referrers to itself as "perfumers". In fact, by 1906, Colgate was marketing 625 different perfumes — in addition to perfumed soap and (originally) perfumed dental paste.

The label on the back of the bottle reads as follows:

"There are many delightful and refreshing uses for Colgate's Toilet Water.
It perfumes the bath water luxuriously ... It's just the think for 'freshening up' when a bath is impossible ... it makes an invigorating body rub to relieve fatigue ... Men like it after shaving ...A few drops on a bit of absorbent cotton will remove the last traces of Cold Cream from the face after massage ... It can always be used as a delicate perfume."

Note the unisex (i.e., "after shaving" and "will remove Cold Cream") and the upscale (i.e., "after massage") sales message on the back of the bottle.

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Caprice Toilet Water by Colgate

Detail Of Rear Label Of Caprice Toilet Water By Colgate
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Caprice Toilet Water by Colgate

Caprice Toilet Water By Colgate

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Philip Goutell
Lightyears, Inc.