Schenley’s Patented Jar Mystery


Recently I saw a design patent for a jar and it struck me that the jar wasn’t much bigger than its cap. The patent didn’t specify what it was designed to contain. I was thinking it would be funny if this jar contained something whose directions called for using “one capful” of the product.

The strange thing is, the patent was assigned to distillers, Shenley Industries. (Note: Paul Rand’s design for Shenley’s Gin packaging above, left)


Assuming the jar didn’t contain a single shot of distilled spirits, I wondered, “What was it meant to hold?”

(Mystery solved, after the fold…)

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Martha Stewart & Lifebuoy Soap


Ever since we found a video of the Martha Stewart Tareyton Cigarettes commercial, we’ve been on the lookout for her 1956 Lifebuoy Soap commercial. Yesterday, it suddenly appeared on the Advertising Age web site. Unfortunately for us, that video was not the embeddable type, so last night I made this crude silent-movie version below…

Then this morning I found this embeddable version (via Professor Barnhardt’s Journal). It has a slightly reduced aspect ratio, but at least it’s a “talkie”…


Stewart mentioned her role in this commerical on Larry King Live in 2003…

STEWART: I remember making some commercials. I did a Lifebuoy soap commercial.

KING: You did?

STEWART: Well, when I was like 15.

KING: Lifebuoy, Lifebuoy.

STEWART: I played a young married. Can you imagine? As I say, I was 15-years-old.

CNN transcript of “Interview with Martha Stewart, Martha Kostyra
Larry King Live, December 22, 2003

After seeing it again at an event last week Stewart commented, “I loved seeing that commercial because who smelled? — Did he smell or did I smell? It was done on Shelter Island. … I took off two days from school, I had a chaperone.”

Randy Ludacer
Beach Packaging Design

Containing a Product / Supporting the Troops


We recently needed a can of WD-40 and the one we bought turned out to be one of their limited edition series of collectible cans to honor American military forces. It made me wonder about this kind of “Support Our Troops” packaging.

There were lots of companies during World War II that made “supporting the war effort” a key element of their advertising. (See: Life Savers at War) Today, I expect, few of our transnational, global corporations would want to be closely associated with any one side of a conflict. Not when there’s so little political consensus and even terrorists are potential customers.

As a marketing strategy, “Supporting the Troops” is similar to other ethical marketing causes. A portion of the proceeds of each purchase are supposed to benefit the troops.

Necco’s “Red White & You” Sweethearts candy, the benefit is delivered via the USO:

As part of the program, New England Confectionery Company donated  Sweethearts for every Operation USO Care Package sent from June through August. Candies were printed with heartfelt sayings like “Miss You,” “Brave One” and “Home Safe.”

Schneider Associates

Srixon Golf Balls also “teamed up” with the USO:

Srixon, a world leader in golf club and golf ball technology, is proud to announce that in support of our troops overseas and the sacrifices they and their families have made in service to our country, Srixon has teamed up with the United Service Organization (USO) to give back to our troops.  From July 1, 2010 through December 31, 2011, we will be donating 5% of net proceeds from the sale of Srixon camouflaged packaged golf products and accessories or those featuring the USO logo, to the USO.

Srixon Blog

WD-40’s troop support proceeds go to three different charities:

Crown Aerosol Packaging North America, a business unit of Crown Holdings Inc. and WD-40 Company are launching a limited edition series of collectible cans to honor American military forces. The series consists of four different designs: three depicting air, sea, and land themes and one combined graphic showcasing all five military branches, including the Coast Guard.

WD-40 Company will donate 10 cents per can purchased to three military charities: Armed Services YMCA, Wounded Warrior Project and Veterans Medical Research Foundation. Crown will also make a donation to each of the charities.

Package Design Magazine

Sometimes, even with the most charitable intentions, a package design can be disturbing.

(Packaging that attempts to honor “the fallen”, after the fold…)

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Shoe Box : Tissue Box


TissueBOX_02c More orthographically-projected “shoe boxes” reminiscent of the ones we showed last December, but these boxes (designed by groovisions in 2006 for Oji Nepia) are meant to be both shoe box and tissue box. The idea being that once the shoes are removed the box may be saved to dispense tissues.

Nice business on the “soles” of these boxes where there appears to be evidence of something having been stepped in. Which is odd to see on the proxy box for your brand new shoes, but does create a clear spot on the treads for some legible product information.

(Via: Packaging of the World)

(Another box and second thoughts, after the fold…)

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Uncapped Landfill Bottle(s) #5


Here are the last two bottles I’ll be showing on this, the final day of Curated Dead Horse Bay Bottle Week(s): Coke and Pepsi.

Like shooting fish in a barrel, but with such idealized advertising images of cold, refreshing soda bottles on an unspoiled beach, how could I resist?

The Coca Cola ad is via; the Pepsi ad (from a 1954 Mexican edition of Life Magazine) is via Puercozon’s Flickr Photostream. The center photo is another of Debby’s photos of “bottle beach” where the bottles were found.

Note how both ads above featured sea shells in a supporting role. I actually did see one conch shell that day on bottle beach, but shells there are clearly outnumbered by bottles.

(Another photo, after the fold…)

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Uncapped Landfill Bottle #4


TinyFitch This bottle turns out to have contained either Fitch Dandruff Remover Shampoo or Fitch Ideal Hair Tonic. (The same bottles appear to have been used for both products.)

I like the way these men’s hair care bottles originally had matching embossed skirts & caps. The company’s founder, Fred W. Fitch, started out as a barber, so the slanting, slightly helical pattern is probably meant to evoke: barber pole.

And, as was so often the custom in those days, these bottles were, themselves, packaged in a carton. I like the concentric exclamatory graphics on the box.



In 1946 Fitch’s advertising ran afoul of FTC.

In 1892, Frederick W. Fitch was a barber in Madrid, Iowa (pop. 565). His shampoo became so popular that he quit barbering to make “Fitch’s Dandruff Remover Shampoo.” By last year, his company had annual sales of $11,000,000. The advertising that did the trick: “Fitch Shampoo removes every trace of dandruff on first application.”

Last week, after 54 years of such advertising, the Federal Trade Commission decided that it was “false and misleading.” Reason: it made the public believe that “dandruff is an abnormal condition.” The truth, according to FTC: “Dandruff is a physiologically normal condition . . . and cannot be removed permanently through the use of any cleansing agent.”

Fitch Won’t Save It
Time Magazine
Monday, June 10, 1946

(“Fitch Shampoo Airport” after the fold…)

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Uncapped Landfill Bottle #3


Third bottle up is barnacle-covered with vertical, corduroy-like ridges. This bottle turns out to have once contained a Marcel Rochas men’s fragrance called, Moustache. Launched in 1948–49, the product is still available, but comes in a different shaped bottle with a sans-serif logotype. (During the 1950s the “Moustache” logotype was, itself, mustachioed.)


Sometimes these bottles were sold in boxed sets…


Sometimes these bottles included atomizer bulbs…


In addition to a “citrusy opening” note, the Moustache scent is said to also include “the urinous aroma of animalic notes that recalls horses’ sweat.” (Which is fitting, considering that I found my bottle in Dead Horse Bay—final resting place for so many 19th Century work horses.)

Moustache was clearly intended as a mens product, but like Irish Spring and riding horses, some women like it too…

After the citrusy opening, the characteristic faintly floral and hay-ish powdery heart slowly gives way to the funk of the base notes with their sweaty, urinous and pungent leather impression which lingers quietly, intimately for a long time. Despite it being, marketed as a masculine scent, women who find citrusy or "hazy" suede compositions to their taste should definitely give it a try.

Rochas Moustache: fragrance review & history
Perfume Shrine, september 7, 2009


I thought there might have been a design patent for this bottle, but if there was ever an American one registered, I could not find it.

(Although I did find one design patent by Marcel Rochas for something else entirely, after the fold…)

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Uncapped Landfill Bottle #2


Some vintage medial waste found on the beach at Dead Horse Bay:

1. An injectable medicine vial (shaped just like my insulin bottles, only a litle bigger) with a script “L” on the bottom, identifying its source as Eli Lilly(again, the same company that manufactures my insulin today). But, who knows what injectable drug this bottle once contained?

2. Part of a huge 20cc glass syringe with Luer-Lok branding. Luer-Lok is Becton, Dickinson’s trademarked name for cofounder, Fairleigh S. Dickinson’s patented hypodermic syringe connection system. No sign of the needle or the plunger.

The contents now washing out of this eroding landfill preceeded the AIDS epidemic by about three decades. So no worries there. Although, as one person familiar with the area put it, “Don’t get too comfortable handling it. The 1950’s were the worst for chemical dumping in our country’s history. The garbage from the 1850’s [on the other hand] is deep in the middle under the airport.”

BloodVialNot that you can’t find more recent medical waste on a New York City beach. Just last April, Debby (my partner at Beach Packaging Design) found a relatively fresh vial of blood on South Beach. (photo on right)

This more contempory bit of medical waste still had its label showing the source to have been Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.

As suggested by its name, “Franklin Lakes” has lakes and is not adjacent to an ocean. This blood vial, therefore, did not float all the way to Lower New York Bay from one of Franklin Lake’s lakes. Not without some illegal human intervention.

But I digress. Here’s what my 20cc Luer-Lok syringe probably looked like when it was still intact…


(See also: Diabetic Packaging, Early Insulin Packaging and Color-Coded Bloodstream)

Randy Ludacer
Beach Packaging Design