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.’
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.