You’ll really have to stay with me on this one.
Who among us would not, if it were only possible, go back in time and kick old Adolph in the butt? Well, even though we can’t change history, we can add to it in marvelous ways. Or, perhaps, God does.
I am visiting my brother in Kansas. The man is a serious collector of curiosities, antiques, and artsy artifacts (when he’s not playing overly violent games on his X-Box 360). Anyway, I was using his bathroom, when I discovered three antique perfume bottles on his side counter. They contained beautifully colored scent solutions, obviously of modern origin. Sniffing them, I discovered that one was some kind of sporty fresh scent, most decidedly of recent manufacture. Another was my good friend, Obsession for Men (it was, in fact, my brother, who gave me my first bottle, years ago). Finally, the third bottle offered a mysterious and putrid combination of good scents, which I thought might be an ancient perfume gone bad, but which was, in fact, a horrible melange of modern men’s colognes, slightly thickened by evaporation (and possibly also by organic reaction).
I decided this was bloggable. I asked my bro if I could photograph these bottles, and offered to clean them up for my little photo shoot. With permission granted, I returned to the bathroom, and began cleaning the outsides of the bottles, mostly for the benefit of my wife, who gets typhoid or cancer if she sees dust or dirt, even in photos over the web. Don’t ask. I married Adrian Monk.
The glass bottle of Obsession, which appeared to be cut crystal, was seated in a common metal carrier, something like a one-bottle basket (hell – just look at the friggin’ picture). As I picked it up, however, I discovered that one end of the handle was no longer welded to the base, tipping the bottle out of the carrier. The bottle fell first to the edge of the bathroom vanity, and then tipped over the edge and fell to the floor, opening itself in the process.
Fortunately, Hitler saved my brother’s antique glass bottle. And, fortunately for us, but unfortunately for Hitler, he got doused with more Obsession than I would wear in a year of continuous use.
You see, my brother is researching a book on my mother’s life in Hitler’s Germany. His bathroom – among other places – is littered with stacks of books relevant to both my mother’s life and Nazi Germany in general. And, somewhat appropriately, the evil “Mein Kampf” happened to be on top of the stack nearest the sink when the bottle of Obsession (Men) made its dash for freedom.
So, the bottom line is that Hitler’s magnum opus, which surely stank in the nostrils of God, is now smelling strongly of Obsession. Make of that what you will.
More interesting (to me at least) is the center bottle in the picture above. That bottle bears an interesting label in the glass itself, as shown in this close-up:
If you can’t quite make out the text, here it is:
B. D. BALDWIN & Co
[graphic: large “B” wrapped in “Co”, perfume bottle in center ]
I found the small bottle of perfume in the label really interesting. I tried to find some information about B.D. Baldwin and Co. in Chicago. The name was mentioned in a nice article about perfume bottles. Perhaps the best accounting of perfumes by this maker is on a place called Cleopatra’s Boudoir. She has a nice list of vintage perfumes by B.D. Baldwin.
I did find another perfume company called T.P. Baldwin and Co., located in Chicago. That name is mentioned in an old article in the New York Times. There may be a familial relationship.
Assuming that my brother’s bottle is authentic, Cleopatra’s list would put it between 1884 and 1929. Pretty neat!
So, there you have it. Thanks to B.D. Baldwin, Calvin Klein, and a klutzy blogger named Cologniac, the God of Abraham was able to get in one last butt-kick on the murderer of millions.
Justice – served with a smile!