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George W. Laird


    Laird’s Bloom of Youth was a lead-based “face paint” that reportedly sickened and even killed some of its users.  Reportedly, the customers were too embarrassed to admit using the product to their doctors, preventing a correct diagnosis. 

                         Laird Essay                                                              Issued Stamp

    Laird approached Joseph Carpenter to prepare a private die stamp in the spring of 1870.  This request resulted in the preparation of the Laird essay, and the issued stamp, which differs from the issued stamp only in the vignette, and copyright language added at the bottom of the stamp (see below for a progressive die proof with the new vignette, but without the copyright language).  The Laird essay features a young woman with a bare shoulder and straight flowing hair.  The issued stamp replaced this vignette with young woman with a headband and hair in curls, and added copyright language at the bottom of the issued stamp.  On July 12, 1870, Joseph Carpenter sent to Laird proof impressions of “the engraving of which I trust will give entire satisfaction.” 

Detail of Vignette from Essay (left) and Issued Stamp (right)
Laird Essays in Blue and Orange

However, Laird was not satisfied.  On July 16, 1870, Joseph Carpenter wrote:
        I regret that you are displeased with the head that which has been engraved on your stamps, I have followed the sketch which you sent me but did not suppose that you wished a facsimile of its rude engraving and hence made what would be considered a great improvement in the design as well as the workmanship.
Progressive die proof of the Laird stamp, after replacing the vignette, but without the copyright language below the stamp.  


Trade cards for Lairds Bloom of Youth with images of a woman with curly hair, probably similar to the image sent by Laird to Joseph Carpenter for the design of his stamp.  Laird Bloom of Youth is touted as the cure for ladies "afflicted with tan, freckles, Rough or Discolored skin."


 
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