Dorothy Gray Compacts History & Heritage

Dorothy Gray Compacts History & Heritage

Without doubt Dorothy Gray compacts are some of the most collectible & eye-catching. During WWI the Company first appeared & its founder was one of those remarkable women who was a pioneer in the cosmetic business. Although today nobody except compact collectors have heard of this lady in her day she was as well known as Helen Rubinstein or Elizabeth Arden.  

She was a farmer’s daughter born on 18th December 1886 in Maine, USA. She was named Dorothy Cloudman. Later on she changed aged 24 years old she changed her name to Dorothy Cloudman Gray.

Her first notable employment in the cosmetics business was working in Elizabeth Arden’s Fifth Avenue Salon. By 1915 she had been sacked as Elizabeth Arden had found out that she was living with a man to whom she was not married.

Fortunately there was a huge demand in America for beauty treatments and so her business flourished.

In 1922 her Company started to manufacture its own preparations. The laboratory was situated on East Fifty Ninth Street manufacturing face creams. Later on rouge & face powder were added to the list of goods produced & eventually in 1924 her first compact was produced.


Dorothy Gray Timeline:

1916 Dorothy Gray opens a salon in New York.

1922 Dorothy Gray Laboratory was set up on East Fifty Ninth Street, NY.

1926 Dorothy Gray bought out by Lehn & Fink.

1928 Dorothy Gray includes UVA sunscreen in some of their products.




1928 Dorothy Gray Building opened in 1928.

1929 Invests in radio sponsorships.

1930 The first Dorothy Gray salon opens in Paris.

1932 The first Dorothy Gray salon opens on a ship - the Santa Rosa.

1967 Dorothy Gray sold to Sterling Drug.

Dorothy Gray then changed hands a number of times -

1988 Sterling Drug was sold to Eastman Kodak.

1998 Dorothy Gray was acquired by Playtex Products.

2005 Cenuco Incorporated bought Dorothy Gray.

2006 Cenuco Incorporated is known as Ascendia Brands.

2008 KCM Brands acquires Dorothy Gray.




The advertisement shown above shows Dorothy Gray and the signature which can be seen on vanities crafted by this maker.     



Dorothy gray image Vogue 1941.jpg

Dorothy gray image 1942.jpg




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