Hardware & Mountings

DeVilbiss and TJ Holmes manufactured all of their mountings, hardware, cords and bulbs. The mountings were of brass, which were then plated with nickel or gold, and in the case of DeVilbiss, the rarest being of solid sterling silver, in the late 1920s and into the 1930s, chrome and rhodium plating replaced the nickel plated ones. The mountings are sometimes impressed with DeVilbiss or TJ Holmes on the metal collar, but not always, so check the base of the perfume.

Some desirable DeVilbiss bottles have the "acorn" finials on top of the double- arm mountings, some of these have domed glass jewel cabochons and came in different colors that usually matched the color of the bottle. Some acorn finials are plain metal in a gold finish. Czech companies also created a metal acorn style top. Other DeVilbiss hardware included domed buttons either of molded glass or Bakelite set into the top of the atomizer head. They also had what I call a “jewel top”, it is similar to the acorn bottle hardware for DeVilbiss, but it is quite distinct in the fact that it is a faceted glass jewel, instead of an acorn like cabochon.

The most common perfume atomizer heads are the rounded ball shaped variety, and the streamlined “aerodynamic” or "upturned beak" styles, both with an arched tube connecting to the cord. Each company had its own version of the ball shape, some had little knobs or finials protruding from the top, companies like TJ Holmes had a little release valve called the "Sealknob" which would make the atomizer leakproof, and some, like Marcel Franck had a faceted band around the middle. The aerodynamic styles were just as varied, from the angle of the spout, to the thickness or shape of the atomizer head, each varied from company to company.

The collars of the atomizers and dropper bottles often times had floral engraved or embossed designs, very modern abstract motifs, Art Nouveau swirls, Art Deco geometric motifs, or a beaded edge, and these are mainly found on DeVilbiss bottles, but other companies and bottles out of Czechoslovakia also had similar collar designs. Some collars are simply plain with no decoration. The collars are affixed on the bottles using a plaster type adhesive. You can reattach a collar using dental plaster.

The inside of the collars are known as ferrules and were either threaded or unthreaded. The threaded ferrule is used for a perfume atomizer, the unthreaded ferrule for a perfume dropper/dauber bottle.

American Machinist, 1932:
"A WELL-KNOWN manufacturer of finely finished perfume atomizers and droppers uses metal ferrules in large quantities. In an effort to reduce his cost on these items, he turned to Scoville."

The early cut glass atomizers were fitted with thin metal siphons, it wasn’t until the 1920s when the atomizers were fitted with long glass siphon tubes. The dropper bottles had stoppers with glass daubers with a rounded end, and some special bottles had gilded or chrome finished daubers. The daubers for the perfumes are fitted with a colored celluloid wafer or enamel, sometimes you will find cracks in the enamel or celluloid.

Czech stoppers looked very similar to DeVilbiss, however, I found that their celluloid wafer on top was thicker and slightly raised a bit higher than their DeVilbiss counterparts. Volupte’s stopper tops had a distinct floral embossed pattern. French and Bohemian atomizers generally have long thin metal siphons instead of glass, although Marcel Franck often employed glass siphons in his mountings..

The atomizer bulbs were covered with crocheted silk netting or left plain, some had tassels. Most of the time the bulbs and cords have hardened with age and will need to be replaced if you plan on using them. Sometimes you will find the bulbs on DeVilbiss bottles marked BF Goodrich Co along the sides. The crotchet work was oftentimes a cottage industry and were mainly manufactured by women.

DeVilbiss in 1928 patented a head that is unmistakably theirs, a new type of atomizer they called the 'Air Cushion'. This ingenious device consisted of a large metal disc standing perpendicular and attached to the back of the head at a slight angle. To emit perfume one simply pushed the center of the cushion rather than squeezing a bulb, and like the bulbs, these cushions hardened with age. I don’t think these were very popular and hence were not produced for very long. There was a perfume series which employed this hardware, it was named Le Moderne and was offered in DeVilbiss catalogs starting in 1928.

If you find a bottle without it's atomizer, ball, cord, glass dauber or glass siphon, don't pass it up!! You can order some replacements or have your pieces repaired from restorationists on the internet.

Mismatched Hardware

Throughout the years I have seen various bottles with “married” hardware. For instance, recently I saw a signed DeVilbiss bottle with a stamped Czechoslovakia collar and atomizer head or a Czech bottle with DeVilbiss hardware. I have even seen DeVilbiss bottles married with Marcel Franck or other French hardware. Make sure your bottle and hardware belong together, and if you suspect they don’t, please make mention of this fact when selling. Another recent occurrence is the marriage of old collars with new tops, although I do not frown upon this, some sellers have not disclosed this in their listings.

Hardware Comparisons


DeVilbiss "Ball Top with Bent Arm". This collar design is similar to one made by Volupte, however, Volupte's version is simpler, it doesn't have as much curlicues as the DeVilbiss example.



Volupte's collar and hardware designs closely resemble those from DeVilbiss, and it takes a skilled eye to make the distinction.


Various French Hardware:

Various Czechslovakian Hardware:



Marcel Franck

TJ Holmes



Vant Woud

Erelbe (RLB:


1 comment:

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