Lightyears Collection
Bay Rum
California Perfume Company (Avon)
(Launched in 1890. Bottle shown here was produced between 1930 and 1936)


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California Perfume Company Bay Rum in bottle from the 1930s

California Perfume Company (Avon) Bay Rum in bottle from the 1930s

The California Perfume Company (now Avon Brands) began selling Bay Rum around 1890. The exact date is not known. The earliest bottle we have seen dates from 1898. (See CPC website for pictures of other Bay Rum bottles.)

Although the company hired an experienced perfumer in 1898, it is likely that Bay Rum was created by William McConnell, founder and owner, himself.

The original price for a four ounce bottle was forty cents. By 1930 that price had increased to fifth cents. The product was 50 percent alcohol. The fragrance came from "a genuine west indies distillation of bayberry leaves."

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California Perfume Company Bay Rum in bottle from the 1930s - Detail of label

Bay Rum in bottle from the 1930s - Detail of label.

Note that the "Avon "name appears large on this label while "California Perfume Company" appears only in small print. This was the time of transition when the company was still the California Perfume Company but they were beginning to test replacing it with the Avon name.

Notice that the Avon trademark shows a little house and gate — Shakespeare's house at Stratford-On-Avon ... or perhaps William McConnell's house in Suffern, New York.


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