S-X Witch Hazel Vintage Label
This beautiful Witch hazel label was produced by Standard Witch Hazel Company of Essex, Connecticut, and branded S-X Witch Hazel. It measures 4.5” Tall x 2.8” Wide and features silhouettes of witches and cauldrons on a pink and green label that dates to the 1950s with the retailer added, probably in the 1960s. It was common practice for a company to brand the product and allow it to be sold by a retail vendor. In this case, the retailer was Long Island Barber Supply Company of Patchogue, Long Island, New York.
Witch hazel is a shrub that resembles a cross between a gray birch and mountain laurel and grows extensively in northern forests. The name witch hazel was probably adopted by early New England settlers because the distinctive yellow blooms colored the woods around Halloween.
The practice of steeping the twigs and leaves of the witch hazel plant originated with Connecticut's Native American population and produced a mild astringent which was used as a family remedy for a variety of minor ills including bruises and insect bites. Witch Hazel, unlike some snake oil remedies, actually works. It was difficult, however, to make a commercial success of Witch hazel because of the product's short shelf life.
The first person to harness the commercial potential was Dr. Alvin F. Whittemore, in the early 1860s. The secret to the doctor's success was that by adding alcohol, he preserved the witch hazel, vastly increasing the product's shelf life. All future producers used this technique.
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