VICTOR KLOTZ, MANUFACTURER
Virtually every denomination of battleship revenues can be found stamped with the initials “V. K.” This article explores the implications of two questions:
1) who was V.K.; and
2) why do these initials appear on so many different denominations?
A VARIETY OF VICTOR KLOTZ CANCELS
The short answers to these questions are easy to set out. V.K. turns out to have been one Victor Klotz, and the reason why his initials appear on so many values of the battleship revenues is that he manufactured a line of perfumes and cosmetics which were sold in a variety of different sizes and at many different prices. The implications which follow from these answers are more complicated to spell out and the variety of directions in which they flow link together some unusual anecdotes from a variety of disparate sources.
Although his initials appear on a great variety of U.S. revenue stamps, like the earlier-profiled Andreas Saxlehner, Victor Klotz was not even an American. However, unlike another earlier-profiled manufacturer, William Radam, his name was never, never used to promote his product.
PINAUD TRADECARDS SHARING A COMMON BACK
Klotz’s perfumes, still available today, were, and always have been, marketed under the much more chic French name Ed. Pinaud. His cosmetics line – particularly Pinaud’s Clubman Talc Powder, still marketed, available and displayed in its familiar green container – can also be found on the shelf of almost any barbershop in this country, although these products no longer belong to the Pinaud perfume company itself. Klotz’s name, however, remains largely unknown and unrecognized outside the perfume industry itself.
PORTRAITS OF EDOUARD PINAUD
(PICTURES WITH BLACK LABELS FROM ED. PINAUD WEBSITE)
The business which grew into Ed. Pinaud began in France during the Napoleonic Era, when, in 1810, one M. Besancon founded a perfume shop in Paris. He conveyed it to a M. LaGrand, who, in turn, sold it to a brash young man named Edouard Pinaud in 1830. At first, Pinaud called his new business “A la Corbeille Fleurie” (To the Flower Basket). According to the company’s own website, Pinaud displayed both a predilection and a genius for developing alluring scents early in his life. Born in 1810 in Abbeville, approximately one hundred miles northwest of Paris, he journeyed to Paris at age thirteen to apprentice in the perfume trade. His first triumph in his own business was an extract of violets which he called “Violet of Parma Bouquet.”
By 1840, Pinaud had broadened the scope of the business and had so identified his name with the perfumes he manufactured that the company’s name has not been altered since. In 1841, he was recognized as a master perfumer in the commercial registry of Paris. Increased sales allowed him to expand his operations. He soon acquired warehouses in Brussels, which, in turn, allowed him to sell his perfumes in England. Pinaud was ambitious and a keen publicist. At a time when France was transforming itself from the stodgy rule of the bourgeois Bourbon kings to the grandiose Second Empire of Napoleon III, Pinaud assiduously courted the new Emperor and his Empress, Eugenie, eventually winning their endorsement.
NAPOLEON III WITH EUGENIE AND VICTORIA
Not satisfied with the approbation of these nouveau royals, and sensing that patronage from older established royalty would awe the general public even more, when Queen Victoria of England traveled to Paris in 1855 to visit that year’s Universelle Exposition, Pinaud dedicated a new perfume to her. She was so impressed that she became a customer for the rest of her very long life and, in turn, he used her favor and endorsement to splash his name across the entire Victorian world. Pinaud continued to accrue acclaim and collect various prize medals at industrial expositions and fairs until, the company’s website insists, sheer exhaustion drove him to an early death in 1868. His memoirs, quoted by the company, included the following advice for those following after him: “… seek only in one direction, the one of Absolute Perfection.”
As the business grew and expanded, Pinaud brought another perfumer into the business as his partner in 1852. His name was Emile Meyer. Born in 1817 in Ihringen, Baden-Wurttemburg, just east of the Rhine River in Germany (across from Alsace, the province long disputed between France and Germany), Meyer brought a different vibration to the elegant, royalty-tinged perfume business, for he was a Jew. The business was renamed Pinaud & Meyer, as both the manufacturing and retailing operations were expanded. As time passed, Pinaud came to rely more and more upon Meyer, and upon Pinaud’s death, Meyer was the natural choice to carry on the business.
1859 PINAUD AD IN ENGLISH WEEKLY
Meyer was a sound and enterprising businessman who tripled the company’s business in five years. To attract and keep the best workers, he kept improving and expanding the company factory and instituted then-radical, new industrial practices like opening a canteen for employees and offering pensions to older workers. In an age before multi-shareholder, acronym-named (and, therefore, virtually faceless), international mega-corporations, custom dictated that a company’s product bear the name of the principal owner as a guarantee of its soundness and bona fides; an upright man endorsed his honest product with his name. When Pinaud bought the business, he had promptly placed his name on the perfumes he sold, and, in the normal course of time, Meyer should have continued this tradition by replacing Pinaud’s name with his own on the perfumes. By 1868, however, Pinaud had catapulted the perfumes – Ed. Pinaud perfumes – into the first rank.
Aside from Pinaud’s renown, Meyer’s name may have suggested another reason for not changing the name on the perfume bottles. The simple fact was that Jews were outsiders in the France, England and even in the United States, where Meyer made the earliest attempts to introduce the Ed. Pinaud perfumes. In France, the 1890s were highlighted by the Dreyfus Affair, an virulently antisemitic outburst caused by the French Army’s General Staff’s knowingly and wrongly convicting its one Jewish officer of espionage to cover the indiscretions of one of its own aristocrats. English aristocracy did not accept Jews into its ranks and U.S. society, while less openly antisemitic than France or England, was led by Mrs. Astor’s Four Hundred in New York City, a group not known for its heterogeneity. Jews in the late 19th Century, whether in France, England or the United States, generally did not want to draw attention to their religion, and certainly would not have sought to draw a direct connection between Judaism and an item meant as a luxury like perfume. Yet, having noted this clear distinction between religion and commerce, it must be emphasized that the Pinaud story is much more one of enterprise and commercial success than difference.
PINAUD TRADE CARDS PORTRAYING FRENCH NEWSPAPERS
Throughout his tenure at the helm, Meyer continued his expansion of the Pinaud business, and extended Pinaud’s sales to the United States. However, his greatest display of acumen may have been in 1883 when he brought his son-in-law, Victor Klotz, into the business with him. Klotz, born in 1836 in Paris, had already established his reputation as a silk merchant before joining his father-in-law. When Meyer died in 1888, Klotz smoothly stepped in, just as Meyer had replaced Pinaud. He proved to be energetic and willing to travel to expand the business. In 1890, he organized Pinaud’s American and Canadian business into a separate branch headed by Emil Utard and located its New York City office at 46 East 14th Street in Union Square.
NEW YORK CITY PINAUD OFFICES
Pinaud’s sales jumped sixfold in the U.S. during the 1890s. Interviewed in 1902 about Pinaud’s advertising policy, Utard explained that the main thrust of Pinaud’s advertising campaign was concentrated in half page ads taken in national magazines. Sometimes, Pinaud would even run two ads on the same page, but, when it did, the ads were aimed at different audience. For example, if the top ad were for a dainty lady’s perfume, the bottom ad would be for Pinaud’s barbershop hair tonic. Utard stressed that the ads were not an attempt to sell the goods directly to customers so much as to place the company’s name before consumers in order that they would ask their retailers for Ed. Pinaud products. Pinaud placed ads itself as well as through the burgeoning ad agency, J. Walter Thompson. Other types of advertising Pinaud employed were placards in trolley cars, advertising curtains in major theaters throughout the country and fans distributed to ladies at summer resorts and roof gardens, mediums more fashionable in those times than ours. Like Meyer, neither Klotz nor Utard ever suggested changing the name of the perfumes.
1903 PERFUME AND 1910 HAIR TONIC 1/2 PAGE ADS
As an industry innovator, Klotz introduced a new perfume called Flirt which became an instant hit in 1891.
1910 FLIRT AD
His purchase in 1896 of a Parisian mansion for a million francs from the American John William MacKay, one of the owners of the Comstock Lode and dubbed by Parisians “the king of money,” was the talk of the town. Curiously, Mackay himself had decided to move to Paris after he and his wife – neither Jewish but rather sporting Western nouveau riche money – were snubbed by New York society.
FORMER KLOTZ HOME IN PARIS
In 1900, Klotz enriched the entire Pinaud family of products by introducing Brillantine, a hair softening product that also made hair shine. The name was derived from the French word “brilliant,” meaning “brilliant,” and in English brilliantine has grown to become the generic name for any product that glosses the hair. For the carriage trade, Klotz also debuted a new perfume for the Paris Exposition of 1900. He also lent his personal collection of perfume bottles to a perfume museum at the Exposition that became one of one of the central attractions of the Fair.
PINAUD PARIS EXPOSITION PERFUME AND POSTCARDS
The Pinaud perfumes always indulged the Victorian obsession with orientalia in advertising and design, and after a particularly successful display at an Exhibition in Tokyo in 1904, Pinaud became an official supplier to oriental royalty as well, the Emperor of Japan. Klotz died in 1906, wealthy and respected among his peers.
EXPOSITION AND FAIR MEDALS WON BY PINAUD PERFUMES
Control of Ed. Pinaud passed to Klotz’s sons, Henry and George, and their initials appear as part of the company cancel on the U.S. revenue stamps of 1914, but the perfume names were never changed.
H. & G. KLOTZ 1914 REVENUE ISSUE AND COVER CIRCA 1915
The sons were not as dynamic in their leadership of Ed. Pinaud as their father had been, and the actions of the leading Klotz of that generation, Victor’s nephew, Louis-Lucien Klotz (1868-1930), a journalist and French politician, did not place the family in a good light.
As finance minister in Georges Clemenceau’s debt-burdened World War I government of France, L-L Klotz pressed for harsh reparations to be paid by the Germans, and was memorably quoted proclaiming, “The Boche will pay.” Although later scholarship seems to indicate that L-L Klotz personally understood that a policy of harsh reparations would not work, he acted as Clemenceau’s advocate for them during the Versailles Peace Treaty negotiations, earning David Lloyd-George’s contempt while not winning Clemenceau’s respect. Sadly, Clemenceau later said of Klotz’s fiscal abilities: “My finance minister is the only Jew in Europe who knows nothing about money.” In his own later life, L-L Klotz lost all of his money as well as the family’s fortune, was convicted of passing bad checks and died while serving a two-year prison sentence. Part of the fortune L-L Klotz lost was the family residence in Paris. That building, located at 9 rue de Tilsitt, now serves as the Belgian Embassy to France.
OLDER PINAUD PERFUMES SHOWING
1919 SERIES U.S. AND CANADIAN REVENUE STAMPS
PINAUD COLOGNE SOLD IN INDIA
L-L Klotz’s missteps coupled with the onset of the Depression imperiled the continued existence of the Ed. Pinaud Company. A new owner, Roger Goldet (1910-1997), also a French Jew, took control of the company in the 1930s and infused it with an inventive second wind. As an originator, he created several successful new fragrances, including Opera and Scarlett, inspired by Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind, which kept the Ed. Pinaud company name in the public consciousness and broadened the cosmetics offerings, including formulating the particularly successful 612 Mascara sold throughout the world.
PINAUD IN THE ROGER GOLDET ERA
Goldet was able to step in to the leadership of Ed. Pinaud with such authority and confidence because his mother was a member of the Deutsch de la Meurthe family which had participated in the creation of a major French oil company, Petroleum Jupiter, later the French Shell Oil Co. Because he came from such wealth, all during his life, his name was whispered in elegant circles, and echoes of these whispers are found today in scattered footnotes on the Internet.
CAMILE PISSARRO, “HOUSES AT BOUGIVAL (AUTUMN)”
For example, among these footnotes is a listing in the provenance of a Camile Pissarro painting, “Houses at Bougival (Autumn)”, now in the J. Paul Getty Museum of Los Angeles, CA, showing Goldet as its seller at a 1979 Sotherby’s auction after inheriting it from his mother who had purchased it in 1934 also at Sotherby’s. At other times, Goldet disposed of several other works by Pissarro originally acquired by his mother’s family, but a work by Jean Dubuffet, catalogued on another website is still listed as part of the Goldet collection located in Neuilly, France. Another such buried reference note contains a discussion of the bespoke Bentley with bodywork designed by the French firm of Figoni et Falaschi that Goldet ordered in 1936, one of three Bentleys that firm ever created. Sadly, that story does not end happily for collectors of such rarities. The car was involved in a serious accident and had to be re-conceived by a different bodywork design company in 1944. Roger Goldet continued active leadership of the French Ed. Pinaud company until 1979 when he turned the management of the company over to his son, Olivier, born in 1943.
OLDER PINAUD COSMETIC PRODUCTS
A major change in the Ed. Pinaud company seems to have occurred during Roger’s tenure. The French and American operations were split into separate companies. The American company embarked on its own corporate history, which ultimately led to its disposition of its Pinaud Clubman line of barbershop and men’s cosmetic products, and is now listed as inactive. The ultimate purchaser of the Pinaud Clubman products was American International Industries of Los Angeles, CA, which specializes in beauty care products and whose CEO is an orthodox Jewish rabbi named Zvi Ryman.
Ryman took a circuitous path to becoming a beauty industry executive. In interviews, he tells that he was in an import-export partnership buying merchandise in Hong Kong for resale through small corporations in the U.S. Its equilibrium was upended by President’s Nixon’s August, 1971 decision to stop guaranteeing redemption of U.S. dollars in gold, which, in turn, led Hong Kong merchants to stop accepting dollars as payment for goods and forced the partners to divide their assets. Neither partner wanted a small company that sold false eyelashes. They agreed to flip a coin, with the loser to take the account. Ryman lost, and, from that small beginning has built a large stock of beauty products by purchasing product lines such as Pinaud’s Clubman. Ryman, in turn, has licensed the online distribution of Pinaud’s products in the U.S. to Corrado Cutlery, run by James Bilger, and it is this website which serves as the official Clubman site in the U.S. The French Ed. Pinaud company’s website functions separate and apart from the Clubman website, is itself classified and indexed on at least one domain listing website and, has, in fact, generated at least one metadata website that has analyzed its traffic and, probably for a fee, would offer suggestions on how to improve its effectiveness.
CURRENT PINAUD CLUBMAN PRODUCTS
Ed. Pinaud may have decided to separate itself from its Clubman men’s brands because it discerned too much of a spread between the luxurious image it has always cultivated for its perfumes and associated goods, and the men’s products which traditionally were always retailed to public through barbershops.
CLIFFORD ODETS WILLIAM FAULKNER
Culturally in the U.S., Pinaud’s Clubman line of men’s products became identified as an indicator of aspiration to the middle class and has been portrayed that way in American literature. In the 1935 play Awake And Sing, Clifford Odets’ portrait of a lower middle class Jewish family in the Bronx struggling to survive the Depression, when one family member gives another a haircut, he offers him Pinaud at the end just as if they were at the neighborhood barbershop (in modern editions of the play – whose readers presumably do not visit neighborhood barbershops – Pinaud rates an explanatory footnote). Similarly, in William Faulkner’s Sanctuary, published in 1931, Popeye, a rapacious and murderous character, requests Pinaud to spruce himself up on his way to the gallows, perhaps a last-minute concession to both his petty vanity and the normalcy it represents.
CURRENT PINAUD PERFUMES
Concerning the present status of the French Ed. Pinaud company, Olivier Goldet appears to continue to function as its principal executive, still resides in Paris and maintains active Facebook and Linked-In accounts online. One intriguing web link to his name shows that in 2006, he sat as a member of a panel at the University of Paris that awarded a PHD degree to a young woman whose doctoral thesis traced the history of the Jewish upper middle class in France in the context of Goldet’s Deutsch de la Meurthe ancestors.
CURRENT PINAUD PERFUMES
The French Ed. Pinaud company has maintained its allure as a niche purveyor of elegant perfumes, cosmetics, and more recently, jewelry and watches, to today’s jet setters. It is no longer a heavyweight in either the global or even the French perfume market. There are vague, dark rumors on certain men’s grooming websites that it no longer produces the revenue that the Clubman line does. While the English writer Ian Fleming made “Pinaud Elixir” James Bond’s choice of shampoo, calling it the “prince of shampoos,” and Pinaud’s Clubman in the U.S. still traces its history all the way back to 1810, that product line basks in the reflected glory of its chic French cousin. For advertising and revenue purposes, that may be sufficient.
PINAUD CLUBMAN TALC
AT THE AUTHOR’S LOCAL BARBERSHOP MARCH, 2015
© Malcolm A. Goldstein 2015