Antique and collectible history / richard hudnut

Richard Hudnut Compacts & Heritage

Richard Hudnut Compacts & Heritage

Richard Hudnut studied at The Brooklyn Collegiate & Polytechnic Institute which was essentially a finishing school for young gentlemen.  It would safe to assume that some part of his education was pharmacy as he was the eldest son & he followed Alexander into that business.

When Richard was eighteen years old he began working for his father & for seven years he learned every aspect of this business, starting at the bottom. Either he or his father realised the huge potential for growth the perfume & vanity business offered. It was noticed that many French perfume houses (Rigaud & LT Piver) were selling well in America & naturally the Hudnuts wanted a slice of the action too. Both father & son visited Europe to study how the Europeans, most particularly the French conducted their business affairs. The South of France is so important for the essential oils it produces.

By the age of 59 Alexander had decided to retire due to ailments. He sold Hudnut’s Pharmacy & another NY based store for a reported quarter of a million dollars. The stores kept the name as this ensured future custom & indeed the name as well as the trade ensured this huge price tag. Although this was confusing as his son, Richard was also trading too.

A third pharmacy on 925 Broadway was operated by Richard Hudnut. Obviously his business was booming too as he moved into the prestigious The Dakota. From 1895 & for the next four years Richard Hudnut promoted his new fragrances in that year Extreme Violet, Superba & Indianotis. The year later Violet Sec. In 18982 Yanky, Lily of The Valley & the following year Violet Superba Face Powder.

To say that the trading situation was confusing is correct, despite the fact that Hudnut's Pharmacy and Richard Hudnut made efforts to distinguish each-other's products. Often the two Hudnut brands can only be identified by the addresses on the advertisements and labels. In 1893 Richard Hudnut launched the ‘Hudnutine’ brand. This brand included tooth powder, face powder, rouge and cold cream. Some say that the Hudnutine brand was the first cosmetic line.
You can find out more on the history behind this revered vintage brand in our bespoke fact packs that are supplied with every order from The Vintage Compact Shop - browse Richard Hudnut products here.
Read more