I found this little compact at the same tag sale as the chalkware horse, the Hearts and Masks book, and the Flit ad. The guy who owned this must have collected compacts because they were selling around 30 different ones (some fancy, some, like this one, not so fancy).
I haven’t been able to find too much out about this little compact, as there is a woman named Louise Vale alive today, and is the Vice Chancellor of the University of Colorado Boulder. I doubt she’s the creator of D’Arne Perfumers or this compact.
The case is made from copper, with the bottom painted a matte black.
The top, as you can see, has been etched with the company name, and painted a creme color.
The green tint seen in the creme color is a result of a chemical reaction between the copper an organic substance in the paint (most likely a derivative of sodium chloride).
It has begun to pit in the areas where the oxidation has occurred, and unfortunately, now that the process has started, it cannot be stopped. In bronze and copper alloy archaeological artifacts, this process, in its extreme, is known as Bronze Disease, where oxidation occurs once the object is removed from the ground and exposed to oxygen and moisture. These archaeological objects are covered in millions of little pits of this green corrosion, and eventually, the corrosion will make the artifact unrecognizable, as well as cause it to disintegrate into a powdery substance. This is unlikely to happen here, as there is not enough sodium chloride to deteriorate the entire object.
Even though I can’t find any information concerning the company, this compact was well loved. Notice the edges of the compact. The edges have been worn smooth from constant use (perhaps from repeatedly pulling out of a pocketbook). The oils in our hands react with copper, and you can see evidence of that in the darker patches on the top of the case.
Additionally, the areas where someone would have held the compact, at the back edges, near the hinge, are worn and don’t contain that glossy patina the front of the case has (which also happens to be extremely scratched).
Another way to tell the compact is made from copper is because it smells just like a penny.
The hinge contains the patent 1599571, which was filed by A.C. Lusher on December 22, 1922.
The original file even contains images, which look extremely similar to this little compact. After a little research on patents, I think I may be able to date this compact to between 1922 (when the patent was created), and 1940. Patents, in the 1920s at least, expired 17 years after their creation. Avon reopened this patent, under a different number in 1964.
One of my favorite things about this compact is that it still contains the puff to apply the makeup, plus the majority of the bright pink blush inside. Kind of disgusting, I know, but the color is so insanely vibrant!
Ifi Claims Patent Services. “Hinge Structure:US 1599571.” Google. 2012. Web. 23 November 2013 http://www.google.com/patents/US1599571
Lusher, A. “Hinge Structure Diagram.” Google. 14 September 1926. Web. 23 November 2013 http://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/pages/US1599571-0.png
Papapelekanos, Alexios. ‘The Appearance of Bronze Disease.” E-Conservation Magazine (13). February 2010. Web. 23 November 2013 http://www.e-conservationline.com/content/view/863/281/
V&A. “Caring for your Copper, Brass, Bronze, and other alloys.” Victoria and Albert Museum. 2013. Web. 23 November 2013 http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/c/caring-for-your-copper-brass-bronze-and-other-alloys/
Wikipedia. “Term of patent in the United States.” Wikipedia. 23 November 2013. Web. 24 November 2013 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Term_of_patent_in_the_United_States