[Avon] California Perfume Company | Art Deco chromolithographic perfume & cosmetics catalogue for 1929

  • An early edition of this sumptuous chromolithographic beauty catalogue originally introduced at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition by the California Perfume Company. The firm was founded in 1886 by door-to-door book salesman David H. McConnell and would later become Avon. This catalogue includes 35 plates depicting perfumes and air fresheners, soaps, shampoo, skin creams, shaving kits, toothpaste, gift sets, food flavourings and colours, laundry powder, detergent, and household cleaning supplies. Of particular note are the attractive Art Deco packaging designs, a key aspect of the company’s success. There are a number of items from the Avon line, which by 1930 had become the dominant products.

    These catalogues were expensive to produce but extremely successful at promoting the company’s products. Between 1915 and 1917 they were bound with screw-back posts so that pages could be added and removed, but after 1924 the use of screw-back posts was discontinued, so that salesmen were required to buy new catalogues. Price lists were originally issued separately, but this was discontinued in 1919, and this catalogue includes product details and prices interleaved on a lighter paper stock.

  • New York: California Perfume Company, [1929].

    Oblong folio. Original limp black cloth with fold-over lower cover, bound with metal rivets, title and floral design to upper cover gilt. Chromolithographic title and 35 plates depicting beauty products, all save the last two with with a numbered cloth thumb-tab, interleaved with informational pages on lighter paper stock. With a pink slip on the amount that a sales associate can expect to make loosely inserted. Significant vertical crease affecting the entire catalogue, a little toning of the non-illustrated pages, chromolithographs fresh and clean. A very good copy.