Houppette Pli Antique Powder Puff

History Of Houppette Pli, Advertisements, Patents & Patent Drawings

The retractable powder puffs known as Houppette Pli were patented designs attributed to Leon Svirsky and Alexandre Willk. 

The advertisement shown above depicts the Houppette Pli and other vanities which Willk marketed.

A refillable puff known as the Houppette Automatique Plia en cygne. 

This translates roughly to automatic folded powder puff made from swan's down.

The puffs are fitted with a refillable powder well. The illustration shows how to fill the powder well. These puffs were available in 8, 9 and 10 cm diameters.

On the left we see the stylo fard pour les levres - blush pen for the lips (lipstick).

This also appears to be refillable.

In the middle of the advertisement we see images of the Houppette Pli.

We thought that we should allow the inventors to describe their own inventions.

Foldable puff
Mr. Leon SVIRSKY resident of France (Seine).
Requested on August 25, 1925, at 11:35 a.m., in Paris
Issued January 12, 1926. - Published April 21, 1926.


The present invention relates to powder puffs used for applying beauty powders or similar products.
It has for purpose of creating a folding puff occupying a very small volume and being able to be easily transported, for example in ladies' handbags, in the same way as makeup sticks, sprays, or other toiletry accessories. 
It has the advantage of combining, in a single element, the powder puff itself and the powder box associated with it, by placing the powder inside the powder puff support itself.
The description and the accompanying drawing represent by way of example one of the embodiments of the invention.

In the annexed drawing:
Figure 1 represents the vertical section of the unfolded puff conforming to the invention.


Figure 2 is a horizontal section along line A- - - -  B of figure 1
 Figure 3 is a vertical section of the puff shown folded

Figures 4 & 5 represent respectively in elevation, the stored puff and the ready-to-use puff.

Shown on figures 1 & 3…is a hollow cylinder whose upper bottom has a central sleeve (shown as 3) forming one with it and whose lower bottom is constituted by a cylindrical box 4 inserted in the cylinder and presenting an external rim 5.
Along this cylinder 1 can slide a sleeve 6 having internal grooves 7 in which tenons 8 are carried externally by the bottom 2 of the cylinder 1.
The back and forth movement of the sleeve 6 is limited on the one hand by the rim 5 of the box 4., and on the other hand by cleats carried there internally by the sleeve 6 at its lower end and coming against the tenons 8 carried by the cylinder 1.
We have also fixed to the upper part of the bottom 2 of the cylinder 1 a toothed circular part 10, provided with a central opening corresponding to the sleeve 3, and between the teeth of which are arranged springs 11 wound at one of their ends on an appropriate 12 mount and fixed at their other end to the edge of the powder puff itself 13. The puff 13 is fixed to the frame 11 by any means, and a socket 14 inserted inside the sleeve 3 keeps the puff in the central position, while leaving free communication with the interior of cylinder 1.
The operation of the device is as follows: the sleeve 6 being applied against the edge 5 of the box 4, the springs 11 are completely released, and completely unfold the powder puff 13, so as to occupy the position of figures 1 and 5. 
If on the contrary, as in Figure 3, we bring the sleeve 6 upwards, holding the cylinder 1 and sliding the grooves 7 on the tenons 8, the upper edge of this sleeve comes to press on the springs 11 in their central part, and causes, as it progresses, the folding of the springs, 11 and consequently that of the puff 13 inside the sleeve 6. When the sleeve 6 is fully upwards, that is to say the cleats abut against the tenons 8, the puff is completely folded inside the sleeve 6 which can then be covered by a cover 15, as shown in Figure 4.

The box 4 and the cylinder 1 can receive the powder, which escapes into the powder puff 13 through the sleeve 3 and the socket 14, when the powder puff is unfolded and ready for use.
We thus obtain a powder puff device occupying a very small volume and easy to handle. The device shown is indicated only by way of example, it is possible for example to vary the device for fixing the puff on the cylinder 1, the method of sliding the sleeve 6 on the cylinder 1, the shape of the springs 10, or even give the cylinder 1 a rim distinct from that of the powder box 4, without departing from the spirit of the invention.
PATENT 603684
PATENT 603684

The Houppette Pli translates to foldable puff.

Houpette = puff and pli = fold.

On the base of this puff are the words BREVETE pli S.G.D.G MADE IN FRANCE.

Brevete translates as patented. 

Breveté SGDG (Sans Garantie Du Gouvernement) patent without government guarantees.

Leon Svirsky and Alexandre Willk collaborated to patent variations of the Houppette Pli.


In the main patent the object of the invention is indicated schematically in appended figures 1 and 2 in which:
Figure 1 in section represents the powder puff holder as it exits the tube.
Figure 2, also in section, represents the powder puff as it exits the tube.
In these figures, the powder puff holder is identical in construction to that described in the main patent. The powder puff 13 is fixed at the top of a small cylindrical container 1 in which the powder is located.
The bottom of this container is formed by a cover 4 which allows the renewal of the powder.
This small cylindrical container can slide with gentle friction inside a cylinder 17 indented at its upper part and comprising a helical groove 18.
This cylinder 17 can rotate, without being able to be removed, in an external cylinder 16, the cylinder 16 and the cylinder 17 being connected to their bases by appropriate means which allow the rotation of 17 relative to 16.
The container 1 is guided vertically and it has a lug which engages in the groove 18 so that, by rotating the cylinder 17 relative to 16, in one direction or the other or can raise or lower the container 1 puff door; we close the tube 16 by a cover not indicated.
It is obvious that any other equivalent means could be used to raise and lower the recipient. 
These means being known are not part of the invention which simply claims their application.
Variant construction supported by the form of the folding powder puff described in the main patent and consisting of replacing its telescopic form which can raise and lower the powder puff holder by simply imparting a rotational movement to a cylinder interposed between the outer casing and the powder and powder puff container.

Houpette Pli are sought-after, especially when they have colourful designs which depict elegant ladies or wonderful Art Deco designs. 

We have seen an example which could be described as figural. This vanity depicts a flapper girl complete with neat bob and a top hat. The head and top hat are removed to enable the puff to be made ready for use. The top hat unscrews to reveal a compartment for lipstick / rouge.

We do not know if this example is authentic as we have only seen images but it appears to be antique.



We have included another patent for a variant of the Houppette Pli.




Patent Office.