Treatments and therapies to enhance one’s beauty or health have long been pitched by quack practitioners. During the 19th century, hair restorers, invigorators and scores of miracle creams inundated the market. The shrewd merchant was always thinking of new ways to promote his goods, often offering pseudo-scientific wisdom as a proven way to bolster advertising campaigns. Despite their bold claims, none were likely to actually prevent hair loss or promote hair growth. Still, these popular products, and numerous other beauty aids were marketed with astonishing success to those concerned with their appearance.
In the American cities in the 1850s, fashionable and respectable women adopted the new styles from Paris, which included the heavy use of make-up. By the Civil War, the earlier prohibitions against the use of cosmetics had ended, and style-conscious women applied a variety of make-up including the most popular facial creams and powders.
The glass assemblage aboard the Republic incorporates a variety of beauty products totaling over 11% of the entire bottled cargo recovered from the wreck site. Given the fashion trends of the period, not surprisingly, included in the mix are dozens of stoneware cosmetic pots bearing the name of a once well-known Parisian perfumery and cosmetic maker.