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ama-mi

❄️Mudlark’s Advent, Day 12❄️
Another day, another bottle. A mini-miniature this time, and definitely not medicine – at least, not the medical kind. This bottle dates somewhere between 1909-27, and once contained make-up.

When I first found this bottle, I assumed it related to the 1950’s Proctor and Gamble hair product, Amami Wave Setting lotion (only recently discontinued, to much consternation). However, upon closer inspection, some of the original product is visible inside, looking very much like a burnt umber pressed powder, along with the application brush, once attached to the screw top lid.

Amami in this case is in fact the brand name of a UK company trading as Prichard & Constance Ltd., 11 Broad St. London, W.C.2. According to one website, the name Amami was first used commercially in 1909.

“Not much is known about the English company, Prichard & Constance Ltd. It had its beginnings in 1831, the use of the trademark ‘Amami’ came much later. In the United States one of the earliest references to that particular name comes from the US Patent and Trademark Office, where June 1909 is recorded as the date when ’Amami’ was first used commercially.”

In England the company also supplied the theatrical profession, offering crayons, powders, glove powder, scalp stimulants, brilliantine, dentifrices, rouge and toilet ammonia, in addition to the products mainly associated with their name – shampoos and perfumery.

Of the limited range of products offered in America, Amami did include talcum powder with a notation , “Perfumes by Royal Appointment to the Queen of the Belgians”.
Evidence of Amami face powder products is rare and hard to find, however, and even rarer are Amami-branded vanity cases or powder boxes, but do exist.

Lots of legal wrangling and a tedious court battle involving the brand name followed, but by 1927 it appears that Amami had flown its British nest fully, to the USA.

Skip to the fifties, and the next mention of Amami in England is the aforementioned Proctor & Gamble product. Friday nights were came to be known as ‘Amami nights’ – a time when “ladies washed their hair whether they needed it or not”.

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