1920's compact, the Pompeian Vanity Case.

When you hold this case, you are holding a lot of history...

This is a rare find, one of the first compacts ever marketed. It was only made for 2 years. It was called a vanity case because the word compact would not be in use for several years. It held face powder and rouge. The oval case was discontinued in 1922 because women wanted more face powder than rouge in a case.

The case is in great shape, considering it's nearing 100 years old. The mirror is in fine condition, the puffs and makeup are gone. It is gold toned, and the pictures show the finish discoloration. Mostly on the bottom and I have not tried to clean it. I used a polishing cloth on the top only and it did show improvement.

The case measures 2 & 3/4 inches by 1 & 1/2 inches by 3/4". Opens and closes easily.

The following information was taken from the Collecting Vintage Compacts blog. If you have time, visit the site, it's a fascinating read.

The History of The Pompeian Company - Part 1 - How a pink face cream became a million dollar business

A distinguishing feature of early Pompeian cases was their use of a Greek Key border design. In 1920
Pompeian's double vanity case contained both rouge and face powder and it was called a vanity case, as the word compact did not really exist in cosmetics as yet. It was Manufactured by E Loesser Mills company between 1920 and 1922.

Pompeian’s choice of manufacturer for its first metal case was E Loesser Mills Inc, a metal novelty manufacturer based in Montclair, New Jersey. By late 1919 Pompeian would again use Loesser, this time to produce an oblong-oval double vanity case for both pressed rouge and face powder. The oblong oval case marked another developmental marker in American cosmetics history. Women now wanted the convenience of a single box that contained both rouge and face powder compacts and soon they would expect that the same box would also contain lip rouge and an eyebrow pencil. But, at first the rouge and face powder compacts were a good first start and Pompeian would be one of the first American cosmetics companies to package their compacts in this type of container. It was marketed as the Pompeian Vanity Case because the term 'vanity case' was the most commonly used expression to describe such containers. The term 'compact' would not appear for some years.

The case designer for this double vanity case would be the prolific New Jersey inventor William Kendall (arguably, the father of the American compact case industry) who actually filed the patent application in April 1918. With the recognizable Greek Key design and the unique Pompeian font, the oblong-oval vanity case was matched by an updated version of a Pompeian Bloom rouge box. The oblong-oval vanity case would have been discontinued by 1922 and one of the reasons was women needed more face powder than rouge in their cases.

The woman in the pink dress was the original Pompeian Beauty in 1916. Mary Pickford was named Pompeian Beauty of the year in 1917 and this started the strong relationship between Hollywood and cosmetics.

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Lake Girl Vintage

Pompeian Vanity Case, 1920 Vintage Compact


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