Majestic Brand Compact Mirrors Patents & History

Many collectors of vintage powder compacts and handbags will recognise the brand names Majestic & Majestry. Nathan Kasdan was the founder of the firm who owned these brand names. This company was known as the Majestic Metal Specialities Company of New York. Kasdan was a highly skilled metal worker who was born in Russia in 1889. Kasdan emigrated to America and entered the workforce as a metal worker just before the Russian Revolution.  

The decision of Tsar Nicholas II to leave Petrograd in 1915 to go to the front as Commander-in-chief of the Imperial army ensured that he was blamed for the heavy losses suffered in the Brusilov Offensive. By February 1917 the Russian Revolution had begun. 

In the WWI era Kasdan’s was employed in the aeronautical industry.

During his years of employment he had many ideas of how to improve items that he was making.  

He would go on to become a prolific inventor with many patented designs to his name.  

Kasdan was not employed by others for that long because in 1918, Majestic Machine and Tool Company leased space from Charles B. Walker at 178 Centre St., New York. 

The company filed for incorporation two years later. 

It appears as though Kasdan’s first patent application (US1469562) was filed on January 18 1923. 

At this time Kasdan described himself as a citizen of Russia. The co-inventor of this device is listed as Daniel Pollack, who he employed as his manager.

PATENT NO. 1469562
To whom it may concern:
Be it known that we, Nathan Kasdan, a citizen of Russia, and a resident of Bronx, city and State of New 
York, and Daniel Pollack, a citizen of the United States, and a resident of Brooklyn, New York, have 
invented certain new and useful Improvements in Combination Vanity Articles, of which the following is
 a specification. 
The object of the invention is to provide a novel combination vanity structure possessing a number of utilities and which may be conveniently carried and used as occasion may require.
The article of our invention comprises a box having a hinged lid and includes in its structure a housing for a lip-stick holder, a mirror and a compartment for a compact and a pad or powder puff or similar articles for housing the lip-stick holder. 
Fig.2 shows a casing which is typically used to hold a lipstick the inventors also state:
We have indicated that the holder 21 as a lip-stick holder but we do not limit the invention to any particular cosmetic that may be held within the holder 21. 
While the holder 21 is a lip-stick holder, it may be employed for a cosmetic other than rouge, as, for instance, a stick of black material for the eye-brows.

The Majestic Metal Specialities Company of New York would go on to design and manufacture vanities for other companies who did not possess manufacturing premises. The company’s groundbreaking designs gained the firm a huge following and many commissions from well known American companies followed. These companies included Marinello and Dorothy Gray.


The compact shown above is named Majestry. It bears the patent numbers 1847948, 1847949,  and 1855170. This stylish Cubist inspired Art Deco compact has such an eye-catching 3D design. Truncated square pyramids alternate with a design of panels embellished with repeated rectangles. The lid lifts to reveal a metal powder well lid with a grill through which powder is dispensed. This powder well lid is signed Majestry



The mirror bezel is signed  Majestic U.S.A. The M is formed into a simplified crown, orbs set atop. 



The base is fitted with a lid through which loose powder is installed. The original puff is present too.

We are delighted to have found the patent for this interesting compact mirror.  The patent description details an extremely complex design of loose powder compact.

The patent drawings show that this model was also available with a recess near to the mirror which was designed to hold a lipstick. See Fig. 9.


PATENT NO. 1847949
The following information describes the patented devices used in the construction of this vanity.
Application filed June 12,1931, Serial No. This invention relates to loose powder dispensers, especially those for use as, vanity cases and has for its object to provide such a device in which the powder will not clog or compact to impede discharge of powder.
Another object is to provide such a device in which there will be means to guard against an accidental discharge of an excess of powder.
 Face powder for vanity cases has been sold in two principal ways, in solid or cake form over which the puff is wiped, and in the form of loose powder. The cake form is most convenient to carry around without danger of spilling or discharge of an excess of powder but the cake form has the disadvantage that little particles of grit or adhesive used as a binder for the powder sometimes get on the puff and scratch the face. For this reason it has long been appreciated that loose powder would be preferable if the disadvantages incident to carrying and dispensing it could be overcome. If loose powder is carried in a box which is opened on raising a lid, there is danger of air currents blowing the light powder particles over the clothes, as well as … that the puff will take up an excess of powder, which excess easily shakes off onto the clothes…
…Although many suggestions were proposed and patented relating to compressed loose powder type vanity cases having a spring follower plate or its equivalent, one of the difficulties was the clogging of the powder between the spring pressed follower plate and the perforate plate which resulted in retarded discharge of powder and inability of the container to discharge substantially all of the powder. We have discovered that this clogging can be greatly reduced so that feed of the powder will be …and the movement of the spring pressed follower plate toward the perforated plate will not be retarded. 
Specifically this is accomplished by so shaping the perforations in the movable plate with regard to its travel that substantially the entire powder  surface contiguous to the movable plate is agitated. Under a magnifying glass the agitation of the contiguous powder surface, by the edges of the perforations seems to be in the nature of a scraping or shaving action. If a portion of the powder surface is not so agitated it becomes compacted to such an extent as to act as a solid block and impede feed by preventing upward movement of the follower plate. 
PATENT NO. 1847949
Fig. 3 is the bottom view of the device.
As shown in Fig. 3 the slidable latch 67 for retaining back member 17 in closed position is of the shape illustrated and is provided with a thumb-nail receiving recess 66 so that upon moving the slide 67 to the left in Fig. 3 the spring portion 64 is bent so as to release back portion 17.
The portion 17 of the casing back which closes the powder compartment is hinged as illustrated to allow refilling of the powder compartment upon opening the back member 17 and removing the follower plate 13 and spring.
Our notes:

We have to wonder how ladies felt about the instructions given regarding the refilling of the powder compartment. The inventors went to great pains to ensure that this compact would not spill powder and in doing so created complex mechanisms. 

64 can be seen on Fig. 4.

17 is a little door (back member) which once open allows access to the powder container 12 (Fig. 4) into which loose powder is placed. Fig. 2 shows 17 open to reveal a Z shaped spring 16.





The compact has a recessed top plate which is ideal to store the powder puff.


PATENT NO. 1847949
PATENT NO. 1847949
Fig. 9 is a top plan view with the cover open illustrating another embodiment of this invention and one in which provision is made for carrying a lipstick.
The perforations 18 in the stationary top plate are of the shape shown in Figs. 1 and 9 while the perforations 19 in the lower 80 or movable plate 14 are of the shape illustrated in Fig. 6. The edges of the perforations 18 are beveled as illustrated at 20 in Figs. 4 and 10 to facilitate scooping up of the powder and to facilitate wiping of substantially all the discharged powder upon the puff.
The image below shows another intriguing patented design.
PATENT NO. 1855170

Around the time this compact was crafted the Majestic Metal Specialities Company bought machines and equipment from the National Trading Company after it was declared bankrupt in 1930. The National Trading Company was founded by Joseph Baer in the early 1920s. The company was located in Chicago, Illinois. The firm produced a variety of Norida branded cases. By November 1926 they had moved to New York. This firm also manufactured JC Penney and D’Haussy branded cases. 

It is highly likely that the Majestic Metal Specialities Company also purchased the client list from the National Trading Company.  

FIG. 9. PATENT 1847949


The Pinaud compact shown above is from the private collection of Jenny Bacon. 

The compact was made to the US patented design 1847949.

Fig. 9 and Jenny’s Pinaud compact both show provision is made for a lipstick.

The cover for the lipstick is denoted by 70. 

The bevelled perforations 18 in the stationary top plate on both brands of compact are shown on here. This Pinaud model also has is a little door (back member) which once open allows access to the powder container.

PATENT 1847949

The exterior of the Pinaud compact looks exactly the patent drawings above.  

You may also see the similarity between some Majestic and Dorothy Gray brand vanities. This is because they were contracted by Dorothy Gray to make vanities, which include the Swashbuckle case, which was made to look like a wallet with a shagreen (sharkskin) effect.


A larger version of this adorable little case was made with a lipstick holder attached to the case. 

The interior case of the Swashbuckle Triple Compact contains rouge and face powder. 

We have included an advertisement which showcases the triple compact. 

This advert was placed in Harper's Bazaar in 1947.                      

HARPER’S BAZAAR 1947      

It is interesting to note the similarities between the compact shown above and the Dorothy Gray Picture Hat loose powder compact. The dimensions and design are very similar. The base is identical.

The lid is gorgeous and shows a golden ship in full sail on a choppy dark green sea with a beautiful blue sky and three clouds in the background. The lid is decorated with brushed gold tone & a border detail. The inner lid is signed Majestic & decorated with a golden spiral.


The original presentation box is marked:

Majestic FIFTH AVENUE NEW YORK NO.7547 COLOR .....BLUE                                                             

The Majestic Metal Specialities Company of New York also manufactured bags and purses. The wide variety of goods, many of which had groundbreaking designs, gained the firm a huge following and many commissions from well known American companies.

During WWII the company played a vital part in the war effort by manufacturing parts for planes and even bombs. 

It is thought that manufacturing of vanities and accessories continued throughout this era.



The advertisement shows various brands of compacts which include Shalimar by Guerlain at the apex of the tree of beauty.  Faberge (top left), Wind Song by Prince Matchabelli (top right).  

On the second row we can see three Majestic brand compacts which are described as follows middle left to right:

Majestic gold coloured square compact with a powder sifter built into the base to release just the right amount. 

Majestic Compact, Sunburst of rhinestones on gold coloured fluting, for her to show and use with pride. 

Majestic compact and lipstick set in coral or jade for her to carry at all times of the day. 

The bottom line of compacts show (left to right) Marhill and two Elgin American models. 

The five bags are all Majestic accessories described as Majestic Fitted Kits.

All Majestic Kits fitted with comb and compact. 




The company was liquidated in 1958.

More beautiful vintage compact mirrors.





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