"German Household Dyes"


Wooden counter display unit containing various "German Household Dye" packages. The front of the case has a black, gold and red paper label within a rectangular recess. This label includes an image of a fox head encircled by radiating points with a G. H. below -- the trademark of Gebr. Heitmann, Fabrik Giftfreier Farben (Heitman Brothers, Non-Toxic Dyes Factory), the manufacturer of the dyes. The dyes were imported from Germany by Paul Oppermann, Sole Importer, Milwaukee. The back of the case has a hinged door, behind which are 36 compartments or cubby holes holding the paper dye packets. The dye packets have red, blue, purple, maroon, pink, brown, or violet, etc., print, to match the dye color, and images of the fox trademark and awards (medals) recieved by the company. Instructions on the packets are in English, German and French. Dye packets are numbered by color.

In 1884, the brothers Fritz and Nikolaus Heitmann established a dye factory in Köln (Cologne) Germany to produce the new synthetic dyes for the home-dying market. Their fox-head trademark was registered in the United States in May, 1906.

Paul Opperman, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was born in Germany, settled in Milwaukee about 1890, and in 1893 establshed a business importing German household dyes and manufacturing gold, silver, and copper paint.

[Milwaukee, a Half Century's Progress, 1846-1896: A Review of the Cream City's Wonderful Growth and Development from Incorporation Until the Present Time. Milwaukee, Wis: Consolidated Illustrating Co, 1896. Internet resource.]

This object is one of 39 objects from the Estate of Robert W. Vinson donated to the Smithsonian in 1958. Robert William Vinson (1872-1958), known as “Doc” or “Doc Willie” Vinson, ran Vinson’s Pharmacy in Rockville, Maryland, from the early 1900s until 1957. The store was built in the 1880’s and located on the corner of Montgomery Avenue and Perry Street, across from the Montgomery County Court House, and was reported to be a popular gathering place for local politicians. It closed after Mr. Vinson’s death and many objects and furnishings, some dating to the years prior to Mr. Vinson’s ownership, were donated to the Montgomery County Historical Society Stonestreet Museum, as well as to the Smithsonian. An ornate 1914 soda fountain from the drugstore was installed in the Rockville public library. Highlights in the Smithsonian collection include glass apothecary bottles, a "Konseal" Filling and Closing Apparatus, and two pharmacy counter displays: “Munyon’s Homeopathic Home Remedies” and “German Household Dyes.”

Reference: Buglass, Ralph. Rockville, 2020. Print. (Images of America Series)

Importer: Oppermann, PaulAssociated Name: G. H. DyesMaker: G.H. Dyes

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: GermanyAssociated Place: United States: Wisconsin, MilwaukeeGermany

See more items in: Medicine and Science: Medicine


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Estate of Robert Vinson, through Mr J. Vinson Peter

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: MG.M-07380Catalog Number: M-07380Accession Number: 220980

Object Name: Display Case

Physical Description: paper (overall material)wood (overall material)Measurements: overall: 27 in x 13 in x 7 in; 68.58 cm x 33.02 cm x 17.78 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a5-6c76-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_735982

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