Collector’s Corner: Le Weekend Atomizer

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In 1948, the French perfume atomizer company Marcel Franck introduced Le Weekend, an atomizer designed to fit in a lady’s pocketbook. In business since 1882, the Marcel Franck company manufactured elaborate dresser-top atomizers made of crystal, porcelain, glass, even a saltware collaboration with English pottery manufacturer Wedgwood. In the 1920s, they pioneered metal atomizers. But Le Weekend was expressly designed to be portable. It was made of metal, with a screw-top lid and a large button that, when pressed, dispensed the perfume contained inside. It came in many styles, from a plain chrome design to a deluxe model covered in snakeskin.

I have had a Le Weekend atomizer in my dresser’s “junk drawer” since I was a child. It belonged to my mother, and she gave it to me, probably because I was snooping around her perfumes in her dresser like I loved to do, and had come across it. It was still in its original leather drawstring pouch, its shape conforming to the shape of the atomizer. Although I’ve had this atomizer in my possession for well over thirty years, it wasn’t until recently that I examined it in detail. That’s when I discovered that the atomizer is stamped with the name of the manufacturer, Marcel Franck.

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The tiny mouth of the bottle, where the screw-top lid is set, is stamped with the manufacturer’s name, the name of the model, and its country of manufacture: “Marcel Franck / Le Week-end / Made in France.” Armed with this newly discovered information, I did an Internet search for Marcel Franck. I came across a very informative website, Perfume Projects. Perfume Projects has an informational page on Marcel Franck as a company, and a separate page for the Le Weekend which includes scans of the original usage instructions for the atomizer. The version of Le Weekend pictured on Perfume Projects, which the website states is a mid-priced version of the atomizer, is the same version that I have.

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My Le Weekend still smells faintly of Lanvin’s Arpege, also “borrowed” from my mother, that I put in it to try it out so many years ago. I would be hesitant to use it now, as age has made the atomizer’s button a little slow to come back up when pressed. Nonetheless, the atomizer remains a beautiful piece of artwork, and an important part of the history of fragrance decanters.

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