Dennison Watch Case Company Vanity Box Patent

A Brief History Of Vogue Vanities And The Dennison Watch Case Company

This patent drawing relates to the British patent no. 344196, which is described below by the inventor.

We, DENNISON WATCH CASE, COMPANY LIMITED, of 24-32, Villa Road, Handsworth, in the City of Birmingham, a Company incorporated-under the Laws of Great Britain, and ATHUR GILBERT DENlNISON, a British Subject, of the same address, do hereby declare the nature of this invention to be as follows:
This invention comprises improvements connected with vanity cases and refers more particularly to that type in which loose powder is carried, a spring, controlled diaphragm forcing the powder through a series or apertures upon the partial rotation of a closure member in which is provided apertures which are adapted to register with the apertures before mentioned, the object of the present invention being to provide an improved case of the type specified.
The present invention is characterized by the rotary receptacle which is adapted to receive the powder and having perforations therein, said receptacle being adapted to rotate relatively to the easing.
We found patents and entries in the Chemist And Druggist trade journal which help to explain a timeline of this business. The patent below links the two brands Vogue Vanities and the Dennison Watch Case Company.
PATENT NO. 344196

The patents provide us with the addresses and peoples’ names, so that we are able to link brand names etc.

PATENT NO. 380176


The patent drawings shown above relate to improvements in the design of what are known as tap flap powder compacts.

Fig. 3 shows the underside of the inner lid.

Fig. 9 is the tap flap.

When the inner lid is shut the tap flap is depressed to release powder onto the puff. Usually these compacts were turned upside down and the puff was placed onto the tap flap so that when Fig. 9 was depressed the puff was coated with powder.

On June 27 1931 Cedric William Platts Blackmore applied to patent the invention which he describes below:

This invention concerns improvements in boxes or containers for powder, particularly toilet powder, of the kind in which the container for powder is provided with a: lid or cover in which is provided an aperture closed on the underside by a spring pressed plate, the arrangement being that this plate has to be depressed to eject powder from the container.


PATENT NO. 380176

We were pleased to find reference to the company in The Chemist And Druggist trade journal.

In 1935 the firm was known as Blackmore Howard & Metherell Ltd. 

In the same year the company was a listed exhibitor at the British Industries Fair (Stand D 61).  

The extract shown below was published in the February 16 1935 edition of The Chemist And Druggist. It gives a good idea of the products the firm was making in the Art Deco era. 

We can see that the name of Blackmore Productions must have originated from one director's surname.

This company's registered name was Blackmore Howard & Metherell Ltd. 

Vogue Vanities, D 61

(Proprietors, Blackmore Howard & Metherell, Ltd., 52-53 Hatton Garden, London, E.C.1, and Branston Street, Birmingham, 18) are showing the well-known Vogue Vanities, comprising flapjacks and powder cases in all the newest styles. 

A large variety of shapes, colours, decorations is shown, together with cigarette cases, many which match the flapjacks, are shown in coloured lacquers.

A range of flapjacks mounted with badges as souvenirs of the Silver Jubilee of their Majesties is a leading novelty.

New pastel shades which are forecast as the new popular styles of women's clothes for 1935 will be shown on flapjacks, one model of which is mounted with real marcasite ornament to retail as low as 4 s. 6 d.  


This extract shows that the firm was now styled as Blackmore Productions Ltd.

It was a listed exhibitor at the British Industries Fair in 1939 (STAND D 1115)

(vanity cases; powder compact, rouge and mascara boxes;
Lipstick cases and metal bottle-caps for perfume bottles)

A related firm is also shown as a listed exhibitor:

(crepe papers, gift-wrapping materials, drinking straws of transparent material)

Interesting to note that one of their competitors, Jarrett, Rainsford & Laughton Ltd. are listed as:

(powder boxes, lipstick cases, cosmetic containers for manufacturers; a range of British made powder boxes for chemists; novelty powder holders; cosmetic containers and vanity boxes in a variety of finishes to compete with items previously made on the Continent)

We can see from the following patents that Arthur Gilbert Dennison was not only responsible for Vogue Vanities branded patents but also for those belonging to his other firm which was known as the Dennison Watch Case Company. Both companies operated from Villa Road in Birmingham. As the image above shows this area was densely populated with workshops and retail premises

We include images of the patents as well as the patent drawings because they provide us with information about the inventors and owners, as well as the location of the business premises and sometimes the dwellings owned by the company directors etc. 

Under the next patent drawing we have included Arthur Gilbert Dennison’s description of his invention.

PATENT NO. 525406
The present invention is characterized by a split tubular member which is adapted to be positioned between the lugs on the watch-case and into which is fitted the end of the strap or band which is attached to the watch-case by means of a bar mounted in the lugs.
In carrying the present invention into practice, the watch-case is provided at each of its ends with a pair of lugs in each pair of which is mounted a bar on which may be mounted a tubular member on which the strap or band is mounted on to a split tubular member is provided which is of a length equal to the distance between a pair of the lugs on the watchcase.
The split tubular member is adapted to be positioned over and grip the ends of the strap or band which is to be attached to the watch-case.
After the split tubular member is positioned on the end of the strap or band the bar is then positioned in the lugs passing through the tubular member positioned in the loop formed at the end of the strap or band, thus securing same to the watch-case. This arrangement forms a very neat attachment, whilst the loop of the strap or band is protected and strengthened.
PATENT NO. 525406 

The next patent is for powder distributors in compact cases.

PATENT NO. 524358
of 204, Soho Hill, Handsworth, Birmingham, 19, a British Company, and ARTHUR GILBERT DENNISON, of Old Rectory, 6 Wishaw, Warwickshire, a British Subject, do hereby declare the nature of this invention to be as follows: This invention comprises improvements in powder distributors of the type in which a sliding closure member is adapted to be moved over a plurality of apertures through which the powder is distributed to close same. The object of the present invention is to provide a simple and efficient construction wherein the risk of leakage of powder from the distributor when the apertures are closed is reduced to a minimum.

The home of Arthur Gilbert Dennison is listed as Old Rectory, 6 Wishaw, Warwickshire. The elegant Arts & Crafts building provided him with a tranquil setting away from his business ventures. 

PATENT NO. 524358
PATENT NO. 619578

The inventor of this neater fitting catch is Alec Hanbrey Swann. The company address is listed as 28 Villa Road, Hansworth, Birmingham 19. The application date is December 13 1946.


PATENT NO. 619578

On March 14 1947 Alec Hanbury Swann applied to patent a design, on behalf of Vogue Vanities, which would ensure that even when the sifter gauze had been removed from the powder well a seal would still form thus preventing loose powder from spilling.

PATENT NO. 623128

5 is the felt lining which forms a seal

6 is the sifter gauze


PATENT 623128
Here is an adorable compact which is fitted with this patented device.

A delightful unused boxed 1950s Vogue Vanities Chinese Bluebird powder compact. This compact has been on our list for sometime. A dream come true!

We are so pleased to find this lovely vanity in the original box with the original pouch, puff, sifter and guarantee leaflet. The original sticker is still in place on the presentation box. It reads: 53/196 Chinese Bluebird

The lid is embellished with gorgeous glossy black enamel and a charming oriental scene. There isn't any loss of enamel or fading. The lid lifts to reveal a mirror which gives a good and accurate reflection. The inner lid is signed VOGUE Vanities TRADEMARK MADE IN ENGLAND. All clasps and hinges work perfectly. The base is decorated with a spiral design. Measures 7.6 cm diameter. Weighs 97 grams.

This maker is known to have crafted compacts with the following brand names La Vogue, Vogue, Vogue Vanity, Vogue Vanitie & Vogue Vanities. 


This company was located at Soho Hill, Handsworth, Birmingham 19. Telephone: Birmingham Northern 1334. Cables: "Vovan, Birmingham". The London Office was situated at 26 Holborn Viaduct, EC1. Telephone: Central 6454

A 1947 patent was registered showing improvements connected with cosmetic powder cases. 

Documents show that the firm was present at the 1947 British Industries Fair. 

Advertisement for Vogue Vanities at the 1948 British Industries Fair:

Manufacturers of Vanity Cases, Powder Boxes, Cigarette Cases, Lipstick Cases and Perfumery Bottle Caps in Metal. (Jewellery, Electroplate, etc. - Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. D.1603)

The company produced highly colourful compacts. Many were considered fun or whimsical with witty decorations on the lid. One line of vanities was decorated with Arabian inspired designs. The Arabian Nights themed compacts series was made in the late 1940s.                            



The Persian Legend enamel lid decoration is a very well known design.    



The compact & lipstick are decorated with scenes portraying characters in Persian dress fighting with dragons. This design was used later by the company that owned the Stratton brand of accessories when they acquired the Vogue Vanities brand.                      



It is unusual to find a lipstick over 70 years old still in the tube. Normally they have been used up. This delightful matching lipstick is in good condition with quite a lot of pale pink lipstick left.



An absolutely gorgeous and highly collectible unused 1940s Vogue Vanities loose foundation powder compact. The lid is decorated with a splendid and colourful scene. There isn't any loss of design or fading. The colours are as vivid as they were back in the day. The whole compact is lacquered and so it will retain its lovely appearance.  It will never need to be cleaned nor will it tarnish, as long the lacquer is not damaged.The inner lid is signed VOGUE VANITIES MADE IN ENGLAND. The original pouch, information leaflet and puff are present. The inner lid is fitted with the original felt lining and so this compact never required a sifter because the felt forms a barrier when the inner lid is closed.

View more gorgeous vintage powder compacts.

In 1948 Vogue Vanities produced their Arabian Nights Series of powder compacts.






Around this time Arabian themed vanities were very much in vogue. 

The 1942 film, Arabian Nights in which Sabu, Maria Montez, Jon Hall & Leif Erickson starred was very popular. The film is derived from The Book of One Thousand and One Nights. 

Universal Pictures released a series of exotic tales during WWII which inspired manufacturers of vanities in Great Britain and the U.S.A.



Universal Pictures

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