Week of Hair: Babies Named After Venida Hair Nets

The Rieser Company of New York started selling Venida hair nets around 1907. The company’s founder, Norvin Rieser, created the name Venida out of the Latin phrase ‘veni, vidi, vici.’

venida
Venida hair net (packaging)

In the ’20s, the baby name Venida started popping up on the SSA’s baby name list:

  • 1928: unlisted
  • 1927: 10 baby girls named Venida
  • 1926: unlisted
  • 1925: 9 baby girls named Venida
  • 1924: 6 baby girls named Venida
  • 1923: 10 baby girls named Venida
  • 1922: unlisted
  • 1921: 6 baby girls named Venida [debut]
  • 1920: unlisted

How much of this can be attributed to the hair product? It’s hard to say exactly, as the baby name Venida pre-dates the hair net, but I’d bet at least some of the increased usage of that decade can be linked to Venida advertisements, which included:

  • Venida contests, like this one mentioned in Popular Mechanics in mid-1921:

    In a contest open to women and girls only, prizes will be awarded for the greatest number of words made from any or all of the letters in the phrase “Venida Hair Net.”

    First prize was $1,000, second was $500, and third was $200.*

  • Venida billboards, like this Venida billboard on the Atlantic City boardwalk in 1920. (And it lit up at night!)

The Rieser Company eventually started selling other hair-related products (e.g., bobby pins, shampoo) but hair nets were always the main draw, judging by the Venida Hair Net ads that regularly appeared in major magazines like LIFE in the mid-20th century.

The hair nets continued to be sold at least until the early 1960s, but I’m not sure what became of the company after that.

What do you think of the baby name Venida?

Source: Hickerson, J. M., ed. How I Made the Sale that Did the Most for Me. New York: Prentice Hall, 1951.

*Speaking of baby names inspired by contests, check out Norita.


3 thoughts on “Week of Hair: Babies Named After Venida Hair Nets

  1. The name Norvin Rieser is quite the moniker on its own! Wonder what his middle name was…

    Venida sounds, um, dark. Like Medieval dark. Something along the lines of Elvira. If two sisters were named Venida and Elvira, a third sister might be… Zeida.

    The fact that any babies were named Venida makes me admire the hair net’s marketing!

  2. His middle initial was “H,” and his German-born father also had an H-name, so I’m guessing that’s the source. But I can’t make out his father’s name on the 1900 Census — Herman? Herus? Hm.

    Yes, there’s something a bit evil-sounding about names like Venida and Elvira. :) It could be that they’re vintage-y V-names. Malvina, Lavinia, Sylvia, Octavia…

  3. I think Venida is quite lovely. My grandmother had a cousin named Vinita. She was born around 1910. She had sisters named Alice and Florence (older), and Ethel (younger), so her name was the most unique. I can’t find any information as to way she received the name Vinita. The family was of German heritage on both sides (distant cousins married) and lived in southern Indiana.

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