Ref NoGB1752.EFL/CP/PO
Alt Ref NoOFR:
TitlePond's Extract Company
DescriptionThe origins of the Pond's Extract Company are traced back to 1846 when Theron Tilden Pond of Utica began the distillation and sale of an extract of the witch hazel shrub Hamamelis Virginiana believed to have therapeutic properties. In 1849 Pond set up up the T.T.Pond Company in partnership with Edmund Munson and Alexander Hart of Utica to market the product which he named 'Pond's Extract'. In 1852 Pond sold his share of the partnership to Munson and Hart due to illness, and died in the same year.

The business changed hands several times following this date, but the original product continued to be sold as 'Pond's Extract'. In 1872 the company was incorporated as Pond's Extract Company, with New York offices opening at 98 Maiden Lane. At about this date a new distillery was built in Chester, Connecticut, close to plentiful supplies of witch hazel, and with access to Long Island Sound. Pond's first European depot was also opened in 1872 at 482 New Oxford Street, London, which directed sales and distribution of the product throughout Europe. By 1905 the London offices had moved to 71 Southampton Row, and in 1920 they moved again to St John's Street.

In the early 1870's the company added a line of toiletries to its range which included toilet cream, lip salve, dentifrice and veterinary remedies, which all used the Extract as a base ingredient.

In 1875 the company built a packing and forwarding plant at First and South Sixth Streets, Brooklyn, known as the Pond's Extract Building and famous for its huge advertising clock which topped the building. The New York offices of the company, after some previous moves, were relocated to 76 Fifth Avenue in 1884. In 1888, following a fire which devastated the Chester plant, a new factory at Clinton, Connecticut was built to consolidate all the manufacturing, packaging and shipping operations of the company.

As Pond's Extract faced increasing competition from more specialised products being produced, Pond's expanded its toiletry and cosmetics range, introducing a Vanishing Cream and Cold Cream developed by chemist William K. Wallbridge in 1907. The creams were introduced on to the European market in 1915. In the previous year advertising of Pond's Extract had been discontinued in order to concentrate on promoting the creams, and from 1924 Pond's began a famous advertising campaign featuring testimonials of some of the most famous women in society at the time including royal beauties such as the Princess Matchabelli and Princess Elizabeth of Greece, and popular actresses of the day including Fay Compton, Zena Dare and Sybil Thorndike.

Pond's continued to extend its range of products from the late 1920s until the outbreak of the Second World War: new lines included Cleansing Tissues, Face Powder, Lipstick, Liquefying Cream and Dry Skin Cream. In 1927 the company built a plant in Canada, and in 1932-3 a new plant was built in Perivale, Middlesec, England. In addition manufactuing of Pond's products was sub-contracted in several other international markets.

During the war the development of new Pond's products was postponed and the services of the Clinton Plant were used to develop new products for the Armed Forces, including the development of a specialised Camouflage cream stick.

The production of Pond's Extract was severely curtailed during the war years due to shortage of alcohol and manpower, and the product was finally delisted in USA in 1950, although manufacture and sales continued in the UK. However, new products continued to be introduced following the war, including Pond's 'Make-Up Pat' - a cake make-up, introduced in 1943; Pond's Dreamflower dusting powder and talc, introduced in 1946, and Pond's 'Angel Face', the first compressed foundation and powder in one, also introduced in 1946.

In 1955 the Pond's Extract Company merged with the Chesebrough Manufacturing Company to form Chesebrough-Pond's Inc in the USA and Chesebrough-Pond's Ltd, a subsidiary of the American company, in the UK.

(See EFL/CP for history of Chesebrough-Pond's Ltd)
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