Deep Dive: Exploring the Exhibits

Updated: Apr 27, 2020

Lanman & Kemp's Florida Water bottle (1856)

This glass bottle is one of the Florida Water products that were made during the 19th century. The elaborate decorations on the label are coupled with the content of the bottle: 7.5oz fl, alcohol 75%. The bottle is manufactured in the USA as it states on the top, with the bottom stating "Prepared by LANMAN & KEMP-BARCLAY & CO., Incorporated, New York, SDA - NJ - 1856."

The foil wrapped around the cap and neck also indicate the trademark Lanman & Kemp. An inscription is also seen on the side of the glass reading "Florida Water, Murray & Lanman, Druggists, New_York".

As one of the most popular products sold by Lanman & Kemp, a NYC druggist firm founded by Robert J. Murray in 1808, Florida Water was notably sold as a multi-purpose lavatory water for both restorative and cosmetic uses. Advertising campaigns implied that their product was associated with the Spanish explorer Ponce de León and his search for the Fountain of Youth in 1513.

Murray & Lanman's Florida Water is still being produced to this day, existing for over two centuries. Contemporary ads for the product recommend its use as "like Holy Water for cleansing, good luck and protection."

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