Categories: Business and Industry, Glastonbury, Popular Culture

The Aqua Velva State – Today in History: November 17

Williams Shaving Cream and Aqua Velva ad, ca. 1929
Williams Shaving Cream and Aqua Velva ad, ca. 1929

On November 17, 1917, the J.B. Williams Company of Glastonbury filed a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the Word Mark “Aqua Velva.” The application stated the name was to be applied to a line of face lotions and after shave preparations that had been sold commercially for the first time in October of that year.

Williams Aqua Velva

Williams Aqua Velva, The J.B. Williams Company, Glastonbury, 1929

James Baker Williams, founder of the J.B. Williams Company, established a factory in Glastonbury in 1847 based on the success of one of his earlier products, Williams’ Genuine Yankee Soap. This was the first soap to be manufactured expressly for use in shaving mugs and went on to great commercial success. By the early 1900s, the company had become known world-wide for its products which grew to include shaving creams, talcum powder, and other toilet preparations, including those now trademarked with the Aqua Velva name.

Aqua Velva has survived 95 years of shifting consumer tastes, as illustrated by the many changes to its marketing slogans. In 1923, the advertising tagline was Your Strongest Suit – A Face That’s Fit! and in the 1960s it became the familiar There’s something about an Aqua Velva man. Aqua Velva is still produced today, though no longer by the J.B. Williams Company.



“Finding Aid to the J. B. Williams Company Records.” University of Connecticut Libraries, Archives & Special Collections, 2004. Link.
“Photograph - Sales Car, J.B. Williams Company, Ca. 1910s.” University of Connecticut Libraries, Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, 2013. Link.
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