Thursday, May 29, 2014

1891 magazine advertisement for Murray & Lanman's Florida Water

"Murray & Lanman's Florida Water is the original 'FLORIDA WATER' and must not be confounded with the numerous trashy perfumes that usurp its name..."
...states this bold advertisement from a mere 123 years ago, in the August 1891 issue of Woman's Work for Woman, a monthly magazine published by the Women's Foreign Missionary Societies of the Presbyterian Church.

Florida Water is an American cologne that was introduced in 1808 by Robert I. Murray. According to Wikipedia, Florida Water "has the same citrus basis as Cologne Water, but shifts the emphasis to sweet orange (rather than the lemon and neroli of the original Cologne Water), and adds spicy notes including lavender and clove."

Official Florida Water is still produced by Lanman & Kemp-Barclay & Co., and you can buy it on Amazon, because it's not manufactured by Hachette. According to Lanman & Kemp-Barclay, the unisex cologne has many uses. It can be added to the bath, used after a shower, used before and/or after shaving, used to cool off in hot weather, used as a perfume, used after exercise, sprinkled in the hair, sprinkled around the boudoir or just generally deployed to freshen rooms.

In fact, it's probably the only perfume that's used both in the boudoir and on the baseball field. Some swear by it. One message board poster stated in 2009: "I can remember playing baseball games in the middle of the day in July. Our coaches would soak each player with Florida Water before running out on the field. That stuff was awesome." Another poster added: "It doesn't actually do anything other than have a distinctive smell and give an additional cold sensation in water that is already cold from ice, and it's not even that noticeable. That doesn't make it any less awesome — it's one of those smells that will always remind me of playground baseball as a kid."

To way to provide the refreshing treatment for athletes, according to Wikipedia, is to "[fill] a small lunch sized ice chest with water and ice and a few caps of Florida Water. [Players] then soak rags in the tonic and wipe their pulse points and necks with the soaked rags, providing a very cooling effect to the skin and body."

Then there are the Amazon reviews for the product, some of which are quite amusing. There might even be a plant or two in there. Here's a sampling:
  • "The clove scent makes the house smell like apple pie."
  • "It's helpful for covering up the odor of my cat's litter box, so it does have uses."
  • "I'm 21 and I'm here to tell you that this isn't just for old people. I use this stuff all the time to just freshen up."
  • "What can I say. It has Florida in the Title. Which means Happiness, Fun, Sun Shine, Love and Happiness. This is Great stuff and it smells CLEAN and FRESH."
  • "My mother and I both use Florida water first thing in the morning. Me to help get in a great mood and her to aleviate her stiff knees and bursitis problem so she can get out of bed and walk without pain."
  • "Always good to have in the bathroom for any one to use."
  • "I bought some Florida Water from Amazon for both my brother and myself, and we each love it. When I wake up, after I wash my face, I splash some Florida Water on my arms, neck, and back, and I am instantly refreshed and ready to face the day. Its clean, fresh scent makes it perfect as an after bath splash. The fragrance is light, but there is still a hint of it on my skin by the end of the day. My brother says it's bracing, but not overpowering. He also finds it invigorating. This is a wonderful product at a great price, and we both plan to keep it on hand."

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