c1950s Boxed Powder Compact Set by Emrich
We seldom come across examples of Emrich powder compacts, and to date, this is the only Emrich item that we have offered at Perfectly Vintage. Due to their relative scarcity, we were pleased to see that the three elements forming this Emrich set had remained together over the years, and are still contained within the original box. Carrying out an online search for background information on the company revealed very few details, but it did show another compact whose mirror bore a paper label stating 'J Emrich Mühlacker'. This led us to discover that Mühlacker is a town in southern Germany, and that Emrich was producing metal tools and machinery at its Mühlacker factory during the 1920s. The style of this vanity set looks to date it to around the 1950s, by which time (according to the logo on the underside of the box lid), the company was named J E Emrich.
The powder compact is square shaped, and features a sturdy, weighty metal case with a shining goldtone finish. The sides of the exterior are smooth, polished metal, whilst the lid displays a finely-meshed pattern. The base has a gleaming, reflective appearance, with an attractive pattern of wavy lines. Set onto the metal at the top right corner of the lid is a raised bow and arrow motif, which has a silvertone finish; at each end of the arrow is a small piece of faceted silvery-grey metal, known as marcasite. Pressing the catch at the front of the compact reveals an interior fitted with a framed mirror (with bevelled edges), and a separate compartment designed to hold loose powder. The powder compartment door is opened via a catch at its right side, and the compartment contains a powder sifter with fabric edging. The slim, square-shaped puff rests on top of the door. Inscribed into the metal above the mirror is the word 'EMRICH', and close examination of the underside of the exterior catch reveals the word 'GERMANY'.
The second item within this vanity set is a small scent bottle; this has a glass interior section, enclosed by a metal outer casing - we thought it best not to attempt to discover if the glass section is removable. As with the compact, the goldtone metal casing shows a combination of smooth, polished areas plus the finely-meshed pattern - it also has the bow and arrow decorative feature on its front face. 'GERMANY' is inscribed in tiny letters on the base of the metal casing. The goldtone metal cap is a screw-top variety, and it is fitted with a glass dabber for applying scent.
The third item completing the set is a folding comb; the comb itself is plastic (displaying mottled, brownish tones), and it is held within a goldtone metal outer casing. The comb has a sturdy spring mechanism, which is operated by gently pulling back the catch at the top, right-hand side of the metal casing. The exterior casing displays a mix of polished metal edges, with a mesh-patterned centre, and again, there is the bow and arrow decorative feature. 'MADE IN GERMANY' is inscribed into the metal at the short end of the casing. All three items are positioned in purpose-made spaces within the base of the box, and they are held in place by the padded yellow fabric that lines the underside of the lid. As mentioned earlier, the Emrich name (with the letters JE above it), plus a powder compact motif, are printed onto the yellow fabric. The exterior of the box has been given an imitation lizard skin appearance, with gold-coloured edging on the box lid.
Country of manufacture:
Product ref: C249
Compact: Excellent. This compact has survived in highly desirable condition, and judging by the absence of powder marking to the puff and sifter, it has not been used during its lifetime. The exterior casing is undented and unscratched, and it continues to display a bright and shining goldtone finish. Even the base shows minimal evidence of any rubbing or wear. The bow and arrow feature is complete and undamaged. The interior is also very well preserved throughout; the mirror shows no age-related spotting or clouding, and the compartment door reveals only the very slightest of scratches. The powder compartment displays a pristine appearance, as does the sifter. The puff is completely unmarked, with the only evidence of age being one end of its ribbon 'loop' coming adrift. The inner and outer catches are firm and secure.
Scent bottle: Excellent. The absence of scent residue around the neck of the glass container and on the glass dabber indicates this is another item that has not seen use. Indeed, the metal casing displays a shining appearance, and has suffered no scratches, scuffs or dents. The bow and arrow feature remains complete and undamaged. Close examination of the metal screw cap reveals a little superficial wear to its goldtone finish, but this is very minor and not easily visible - the cap continues to close securely.
Folding comb: Good/Fair. Whilst attention was clearly given to the design of the spring mechanism for the comb, the edge of the casing and the metal immediately surrounding the 'arrowhead' show visible evidence of age and wear. Along the open top edges of the casing (and on the inside of the casing itself), the metal has developed a greenish-blue appearance, which has taken away the smooth and shining goldtone finish of the exterior metal. The arrowhead shows a similar fault, with the silvertone surface of the metal being affected, and a dark area on the goldtone metal surrounding it. We wonder if the damage relates to the design of the folding comb, as the compact and scent bottle show no sign of the same fault? The remaining sections of the bow and arrow feature are unaffected, and the main part of the goldtone casing continues to show a bright finish. The plastic comb remains in complete and well-preserved condition; it is securely housed within the metal casing, and the spring mechanism continues to be robust and efficient.
Box: Excellent. The box containing this set has stood the test of time well; it is a sturdy item, and its exterior displays little evidence of wear. The interior sections are clean and intact, and the padded yellow area has helped to protect the items from becoming scratched and dented over the years. Whilst the compact could certainly be used in the future, we see this Emrich boxed set being added to a collection of vanity items, as an unusual (and unused) example from a less regularly-seen maker!
Material: Goldtone metal (with silvertone metal and marcasite details), plastic (comb), glass (scent bottle)
Measurements: Box - w:145mm x h:130mm. Compact - w:75mm x h:75mm. Scent bottle - w:48mm (widest point) x h:48mm (full height). Comb - w:105mm (when closed) x h:23mm