Adolphe Saalfeld was born in Germany in 1865. By 1912 he was chairman of the chemists and distillers company known as Sparks, White, and Co. Ltd. In April of that year he set sail with over 2000 other passengers and crew on the maiden voyage of the Titanic, to come to the United States. In his possession was a leather satchel with 65 vials of concentrated essential oils that he hoped to market in New York.

While Saalfeld was lucky enough to make it to a lifeboat and escape as the Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg, he had to leave his perfume oils behind. For over 85 years these vials remained hidden in the depths of the ocean until the RMS TITANIC Expedition 2000 successfully rescued most of the vials and the black leather satchel that had to be soaked in purified water and a special conservator’s soap for several month’s to prevent it from falling apart after being recovered from the underwater wreckage. It is in the possession of

RMS Titanic Inc., and is often put on display around the world with several other artifacts also recovered from the Titanic's watery grave.

Tiny holes have been made in the glass of some of the vials that were recovered so that the concentrated scents can be identified. This has allowed perfume historian David Pybus to recreate a rose and violet fragrance from the original chemical composition.

The leather satchel also contained a full bottle of olive oil. Olive oil is one of the known carrier oils with which concentrated essential oils are mixed before they are applied to the skin as perfume. If they aren’t mixed with some type of carrier oil, concentrated forms of essential oils may cause severe skin irritation. Other carrier oils include almond, hazelnut and grapeseed.

Essential oils at that time were extracted from botanicals and citrus fruits through a time consuming process of distillation. These days’ perfumes are made of synthetic chemicals more often then they are made of natural oils. This allows for a lower cost and a rise in popularity of less concentrated forms of perfume.

There is a growing trend promoting the benefits of aromatherapy and the use of concentrated oils once again, for health and well-being. The facination with perfume will continue long into the future, and the wreck of the Titanic will never be forgotten.