Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 149,270 pages of information and 234,239 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


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July 1864.
May 1894. Toilet Vinegar.
July 1986.

of 76 Strand, London. (1908)

of 96 Strand and 24 Cornhill, London. 17 Boulevard des Italiens, Paris. (1864)

of 48 North Row, Park Lane, London, W1. Telephone: Mayfair 7124-5-6 and 4786. (1947)

In 1820, a respected French perfumer who had been trained by the famous Lubin, perfumer to Empress Josephine, the wife of Napoleon I, accepted an invitation to manage a perfumery in London’s prestigious Bond Street.

By 1834, the move to London had proved so successful that, together with his son and apprentice, Eugene Rimmel, then aged just 14, he opened a perfumery of his own. The House of Rimmel was established.

As the business flourished, so too did the talents of Eugene Rimmel.

By the age of 24, he had become, not only an expert perfumer, but also a cosmetics visionary, experimenting with fragrance and colour, and travelling the world in search of exotic ingredients and new ideas.

A pioneer of personal hygiene, he developed some truly innovative products, including mouth rinses, fragranced pomades and an ingenious scented steam vaporiser, while high society flocked to his flagship perfumery in Regent Street to purchase an extensive range of exquisitely packaged perfumes, soaps and bath essences, many of them bearing royal warrants.

Even at this very early stage, Eugene Rimmel sensed the potential of advertising to bring his products to a wider public, and began to publish lavishly illustrated mail order catalogues and to place advertisements in theatre programmes.

1887 When he died in 1887, his two sons inherited his beauty empire, building on their father’s success internationally by developing an extensive colour line with a special focus on eye-enhancing products, in particular Rimmel’s revolutionary mascaras. They became so popular that “rimmel” is, to this day, the word for mascara in several languages.

1889 The company was registered on 17 December, to take over the business of the firm of the same name, manufacturers of perfumery. [1]

Post-WWII. After the Second World War, Rimmel was acquired by Robert and Rose Caplin, the owners of a London advertising agency. As a new mood of optimism swept through Britain, and Hollywood heroines became beauty icons for millions of women, the Caplins – with intuition worthy of Eugene Rimmel himself – anticipated the resulting cosmetics boom by expanding Rimmel’s colour range, modernising its packaging and launching the first ever self-selection dispenser.

1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Cosmetics, Perfumery, Skin Creams and Foods, The Rimmel Eye Cosmetique and Beauty Cake. (Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. A.1329) [2]

During the 1970s and 1980s, the company changed hands several times.

1996 Rimmel was finally acquired by Coty Inc.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  2. 1947 British Industries Fair p233
  • [1] Rimmel Website