4711 (brand)


4711 (brand)

4711 (pronounced "fortyseven-eleven" or "Siebenundvierzigelf) is the Eau de Cologne brand of Mäurer & Wirtz and is produced in Stolberg near Aachen, Germany.

At the beginning of the 18th century, Italian expatriate Johann Maria Farina (1685-1766) created a new fragrance and named it Eau de Cologne (Water from Cologne), after his new residence, Cologne. In the course of the 18th century the fragrance became increasingly popular. Eventually, Cologne merchant Wilhelm Mülhens secured the rights to the name Farina from a Farina. [ [http://ihmhermitage.tripod.com/id17.html Carthusian monk named Farina] presented the young merchant Wilhelm Mülhens on 8 October 1792 in Cologne’s Glockengasse with a gift.] with no connection to the Farina family who produced the original Eau de Cologne. However, Mülhens needed the name Farina in order to market his version of the fragrance successfully, and, because of the success of Farina's original Eau de Cologne, the name Farina had become inseparable with the fragrance. Under contract, Mülhens opened a small factory at Cologne's Klöckergasse and began manufacturing his own version of the fragrance. In later years, and under pressure from court battles with the Farinas who produced the original Eau de Cologne, his grandson Ferdinand Mülhens chose a new name for the firm and their product. He chose the number 4711, a number that the city of Cologne had assigned to Wilhelm Mülhens' future residence on the eve of the French Revolution. In 1994, the Mülhens family sold their company to German Wella corporation. Today, original Eau de Cologne (German: Kölnisch Wasser) still is produced in Cologne by both the Farina family (Farina gegenüber since 1709), currently in the eighth generation, and by Mäurer & Wirtz, who took over from Procter & Gamble (who had in turn acquired Wella in 2003) in 2006.

History of the company

In 1803, Wilhelm Mülhens bought the license and company rights from a Farina, who had no connection with the Farina family of the perfume business. Mülhens sold this licence to more than twenty people but in 1835, this transaction was voided and judged as invalid by the court and all of these pseudo 'Farina' companies were liquidated. Nevertheless, the son of Wilhelm Mülhens set out to find another unaffiliated Farina in Italy, and yet again started a company under the name of Farina.

In 1881, the grandson of Wilhelm Mülhens, Ferdinand Mülhens, was ordered by a court not to use the company name Farina ever again. He then chose his house number, "4711", as a name for his brand and company.

Until 1990, the company name was: "Eau de Cologne & Parfümerie Fabrik Klöckergasse No. 4711 gegenüber der Pferdepost von Ferd. Mülhens in Köln am Rhein" but was renamed "Mülhens GmbH & Co. KG". See also the article on Eau de Cologne.

In 1994, the company of the Mülhens family was bought by "Wella AG", Darmstadt, Germany. Since 1997, the cosmetics activities of Wella AG have operated under the name Cosmopolitan Cosmetics GmbH, but the name Mülhens GmbH & Co. KG is still used. In 2003, Wella AG was taken over by American cosmetics giant Procter & Gamble.

In the summer of 2006, Procter & Gamble announced its intention of selling its "local" brand 4711, along with three other former Muehlens brands, in an effort to focus its portfolio on "global" brands. Several interested parties competed over a period of several months until the announcement, in December 2006, that the brand rights and the famous Klöckergasse building had been sold to the perfume company Mäurer & Wirtz of Aachen, a subsidiary of the Dalli Group.

History of house number 4711 in Cologne

On October 3 1794, in view the French troops standing just outside of Cologne, the city council approved of the plan of the guard-committee that all houses in the city were to be numbered without exception and that, depending on the location, appropriate lighting was to be put up. Order was given to install the lighting immediately, while the numbering was left to fate. Source: HAStK, Bestand 10 (Ratsprotokolle) Nr. 241 Bl. 216v.

On October 6 1794, French troops occupy the city. On October 7 1794, the city council decided that every local government official has to hand in an inventory of all citizens and non-citizens in his area within 48 hours and, furthermore, the guard-committee is given authority to number the houses accordingly. Source: HAStK, Bestand 10 (Ratsprotokolle) Nr. 241 Bl. 225v.

On October 20 1794, senator Gottfried von Gall notes in his diary that the numeration and the written documentation of the houses which started eight days ago is continued. Source: HAStK, Bestand 7030 (Chron. u. Darst.) Nr. 175, Bl. 71v.

The printer Heinrich Josef Metternich (a member of the council) applies for the permission to publish an address-calendar, which should, amongst other things, include the house numbers, which had been put up in the meantime, and he seeks allowance to collect all relevant details. Source: HAStK, Bestand 350 (Franz. Verw.) Nr. 306, Blatt 3-6

In the second address-book of Cologne of 1797, the widow of Wilhelm von Lemmen seel. was still listed as the tenant of the house in the Klöckergasse which had been given the number 4711. Source: RWWA Abt.33, 2. Adreßbuch: Gemeinnütziger Adresse-Kalender der Stadt Köllen, Cologne 1797, page 103

Wilhelm Mülhens is listed as the tenant of the house no sooner than in the 3rd edition of the address-book of Cologne; "in the speculation business" is given as his occupation; he is not yet listed under the manufacturers of Eau de Cologne in the branch directory.Source: RWWA Abt.33, 3. Adreßbuch: Verzeichnis der Stadt-Kölnischen Einwohner, Cologne 1797, page 179.

In 1811, the continuous numeration is changed into the system of numbering streets separately, as is done today.

In the preface to the 1813 French edition of the address-book, the editor Thiriart claims that there had not been any house numeration before the arrival of the French in the city ("inconnu á Cologne avant l´arrivée des armées françaises au bord du Rhin") and that the order for the numbering of the houses had been given in 1795. That is where the legends begin. Source: RWWA Abt.33, Itinéraire de Cologne, 1813, page 12.

In 1854 Peter Joseph Mülhens moved from Klöckergasse 12 into the newly constructed commercial building with a neo-gothic facade in Klöckergasse 26-28. Klöckergasse 12, which was assigned the number 4711 in 1794, remained vacant for a period of time and was torn down after it was sold. Source: RWWA Abt.33 Kölner Adressbücher. Source: Economic Archive of Rhine Westphalia, section 33, Cologne Street Indexes

The picture of the French military officer painting the house number 4711 on the facade of the house in the Klöckergasse while sitting on his horse, is a product of advertising. A piece of tapestry, a gobelin, which had been ordered and made in the 1920s, served as a model. The scenic version of it spread widely in the 1965s and the 1960s. Source: RWWA Abt.33, 160 Jahre N° 4711 1752-1952, Cologne 1952, o. S.

Cultural references

The number 4711 is sometimes used by software engineers where an indeterminate, but specific, number is needed. [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=5uYbmQerI08C&q=4711#search "Business entities like account 4711, customer Jones, account 007, customer Smith are located on the banking company server."] Software Architectures: Advances and Applications.
[http://www.mirbsd.org/cman/man8/crash.htm The point of the crash usually looks something like this "function+0x4711".] MirOS Manual: crash(8).
Also have a look at articles on "Metasyntactic variable" and "Placeholder name".
]

In Yevgeny Zamyatin's novel "We", the name of S-4711 is a reference to the Eau de Cologne. [cite journal |quotes= |last=Ermolaev |first=Herman |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1982 |month=Oct. |title=Review of "Three Russian Writers and the Irrational: Zamyatin, Pil'nyak, and Bulgakov" by T. R. N. Edwards |journal=Russian Review |volume=41 |issue=4 |pages=531–532 |id= |url=http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0036-0341(198210)41%3A4%3C531%3ATRWATI%3E2.0.CO%3B2-W |accessdate= ]

In The Rocky Horror Picture Show, "4711" is tattooed on Frank's upper thigh. [ [http://www.rockyhorror.org/faqframe/m-eatr.html Official RHPS FAQ Web Page (errors and trivia)] What does 4711 mean?]

Electronic musician Vladimir Ussachevsky composed a work called "Improvisation on 4711" (1958). [Sitsky, Larry (2002), [http://books.google.com/books?id=9-M_jhnOuboC&q=4711#search Music of the Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde: A Biocritical Sourcebook] .]

The German Navy during World War II issued vast amounts of 4711 perfume to the submariners of the U-Boat fleet. As there were limited facilities and few opportunities for bathing the perfume would be used in an attempt to improve the odour aboard the vessel. Crews typically didn't use much of the perfume and would take home bottles as presents for mothers, wives, or girlfriends. [Taken from interview with Peter Peterson in the DVD documentary `U-Boat War Attack America´ Produced and directed by Nigel Turner 2004. ITN/Discovery Channel MCMXCVII. Peter Peterson served aboard a German Type IX submarine U-518 during the second world war.]

Notes

References

* Stiftung Rheinisch-Westfälisches Wirtschaftsarchiv (RWWA), Cologne: Genuine files 1803 u. Mülhens letters May 9 1802 / June 22 1819 / June 27 1819 / October 31 1824 / January 20 1826 / February 3 1826 / January 11 1827
* Abt.33, Stiftung Rheinisch-Westfälisches Wirtschaftsarchiv (RWWA), Cologne. [http://www.ihk-koeln.de]
* Ulrich S. Soénius: "Mülhens, Fabrikanten von Kölnisch Wasser. Familienartikel mit Einzelbiographien Wilhelm, Peter Joseph, Ferdinand und Peter Paul Mülhens." In: Neue Deutsche Biographie, Bd. 18, Berlin 1997, S. 299-303.

External links

* [http://www.4711.com/ Official 4711 website]


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