Purola2

Purola was a popular brand of cosmetics originating from the Portland, Oregon company Blumauer-Frank from the early 1900s through 1920s. Bottles embossed with Purola may have held an assortment of different items, including Purola Liquid Face Powder, Purola Bandoline (Hair Dressing), Wistaria Cream, Smelling Salts, Hair Tone, Tooth Powder, etc. A full list of all of the purola products can be seen here.

A 1914 article in the Sunday Oregonian spoke to the quality control and packaging of Purola. “A strict check system is used by the Blumauer-Frank Company to avoid any mistakes. Each parcel is checked first by the chemist who makes It and then by the foreman who supervises its filling, before it is transmitted to the finishing room. Here the foreman hands out the proper labels and wrappers. But before these are placed on the respective preparations, the goods are again Inspected and O. K.’d by the foreman in charge. Then they are packed, finished, labeled and wrapped. Every label is cross-indexed to facilitate dispatch as well as provide caution. All of the printing, including the color work on the “Purola” packages, is done in a well-equipped printing establishment adjoining the laboratories. The toilet preparations are done up in two shades of blue and a gold. Every package, even the jar cover, is stamped with the name “Purola.” Special moulds being made for the glassware. The medicine bottles, manufactured on the Pacific Coast, and the tinware specials also carry the trade mark of purity coined by Mr. Frank. “Purola” products embrace household and toilet preparations.

This is my Purola bottle when it was dug. Notice the remnants of a neck label (blue line). The colorful sheen is typical on a dump-dug bottle.

This is my Purola bottle when it was dug. Notice the remnants of a neck label (blue line). The colorful sheen is typical on a dump-dug bottle.

The product was heavily advertised in Pacific Northwest newspapers of the early 1900s. Purola was carried by druggists throughout the Pacific Northwest and enjoyed extensive product placement in local newspapers (no doubt funded by the deep pockets of Blumaeur-Frank). By 1920 the product seems to have hit a peak in advertisements, as shown by the below full page ad in the January 13, 1920 edition of the Seattle Star, reading “This is Purola Week”. The article shows the full line of Purola products and notes that “the leading drug stores in Oregon, Washington, Idaho are Demonstrating the Merits of Purola”.

Purola Week

This 1920 Advertisement demonstrates the success of the brand in the Pacific Northwest. Click the ad to see the full version.

Variations

There are numerous variations of antique bottles bearing the Purola name. The most desirable of these is a cobalt blue version. Other examples include various amber and clear versions in bottles ranging from small jars to tall tapered bottles. Shown below are some of the different examples. 

A Labeled version from the early 1900s. Source. Notice the blue lines match that of my dug bottle.

A Labeled version from the early 1900s. Source. Notice the blue lines match that of my dug bottle.

A labeled cobalt version. Source

A labeled cobalt version. Source

An amber version excavated in a Seward, Alaska archaeological dig. Source

An amber version excavated in a Seward, Alaska archaeological dig. Source

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