Hundreds of perfume bottles were recovered from the SS Republic. Some still have their original glass stoppers, and a few even contain some liquid contents. Many bear the embossed name of distinguished 19th-century perfumers, including both American and European makers such as New York’s Edrehi and Phalon, as well as that of the renowned Pierre-Francois Lubin of Paris, one of the oldest perfume houses in the world whose company name still exists today.
Among the large cargo of perfume aboard the ship, eight bottles now empty, are attributed to “Trefolio” of Paris whose perfumery was located on the city’s famous Rue de Tivoli. Research offers little information about Trefolio’s product, which period advertisements called a “French Floral Extract.” It was likely among the many 19th-century colognes, rosewaters and other concoctions of scent that played a major role with both the ladies and gentlemen of the era. The use of these fragrances, it appears were not entirely restricted to the more cosmopolitan middle and upper classes. By the middle of the century widespread advertisements for cologne and sweet waters of all kinds had increased dramatically, often published in small-town local gazettes as well as in larger urban newspapers—strongly suggesting that the sale of colognes and various perfumes was not limited to the burgeoning metropolis’ nor to society’s upper crust, but rather more broadly targeted the general public.