February 9, 2007

Jergens

And the man behind the brand is...
Andrew Jergens

Cold creams and lotions have been around since Roman times in the second century but it took a lumberjack to bring them on to American vanities.
Andrew Jergens came to the United States from the Netherlands and by the time he was 28, in 1880, he had saved an investable sum of $5000 from his work as a lumberjack.

He bought into a one-kettle soap business in Cincinnati where he and his new partners manufactured a fragrant toilet soap. In 1894 he bought his brothers Herman and Al into the now Andrew Jergens & Company. In 1901 Jergens acquired the product that made him a household name, although he had no idea he was buying it.

Jergens bought the Robert Eastman Company, hoping to add its line of perfumes to its product mix. Along with the sale came Charles Conover, an Eastman chemist who had developed a smooth white lotion that reached the marketplace as “Jergens Benzoin And Almond Lotion Compound.” The luxurious lotion, whose secret was kept for more than 50 years, was soon Jergens’ best seller, despite no advertising beyond word of mouth.

When national magazine advertising began in the 1920s Jergens began an ascent to national prominence. In the radio age Jergens sponsored the popular Walter Winchell show for 16 years and his familiar send-off - “with lotions of love” - elevated Jergens to a name synonymous with lotion.

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