The Story Behind the Little Trees Air Fresheners
Generally, most people love that “new car smell,” but the slightly used car smell? Not so much. The fact is, as we go through our daily lives, our vehicles record those events with pungent smells. The result over time can be a mixture of muddy feet, day-old groceries, forgotten gym socks, and any number of other unsavories. Thankfully, a cure (or at least a cover-up) for that stench has long been on the market… the famous Little Trees car air freshener, and frankly it’s an item most of us take for granted. But just where did it come from and how did its legacy begin? That story dates back to a chance encounter between a milkman and a chemist in Watertown, New York, 1952. RELATED: So Who Really Did Invent the Automobile?
No one likes the smell of spoiled milk, much less the person who drives around gallons of the stuff by day’s end, so when chemist Julius Sämann learned of the stinky situation facing the local milk truck driver… he had an idea. As a chemist, Sämann had worked extensively in the pine forests of Canada, spending his time experimenting with the extraction of aromatic oils from pine needles.
Sämann realized that when infused with a card stock, these oils provided a highly-effective air freshening agent. From there he cut these infused fragrant cards into the shape of a fir tree, patented the design, and over 60 years later we’re still attaching these little “freshners” to our rearview mirrors.
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It’s truly one of those great American success stories, as the same Little Trees air fresheners—and over 40 others—are still in production at a facility in Watertown, where the Car-Freshner Corporation is based, as well as a plant in DeWitt, Iowa. They’ve also gone global too, producing Little Trees in Italy, Sweden, and Switzerland.
So which is the best selling fragrance? While your personal favorite may differ, the company says Black Ice is a perennial best-seller, followed by Royal Pine, Vanillaroma, and New Car Scent.
Photo Credit: Little Trees, Tony Alter, Wikimedia
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