Saratoga County

Saratoga Automobile Museum celebrates history of car scents

You won’t have to travel to Saratoga Springs to get a whiff of the Avenue of the Pines anymore.


You won’t have to travel to Saratoga Springs to get a whiff of the Avenue of the Pines anymore.

The company that has manufactured the bright green Little Trees car fresheners that have dangled from cars’ rearview mirrors since 1952 is about to create a new scent for your car called “Avenue of the Pines.”

The Saratoga Automobile Museum in Saratoga Spa State Park will open a special exhibit this spring focusing on the Car-Freshner Corp. in Watertown that has produced the Little Trees car air fresheners since the early 1950s.

The “Avenue of the Pines” freshener tree is being created specially for the exhibit, which will run from May 16 through November, said Dawn Cole, marketing manager for Car-Freshner Corp.

“It will only be available at the museum,” Cole said.

Cole said when people tour the exhibit at the museum, which is located on the historic Avenue of the Pines, they will be able to purchase at a nominal charge an “Avenue of the Pines” freshener to put in their cars. The scent of the new freshener is still being developed, Cole said. She said the cost of the souvenir is also still in the discussion stage.

“We are excited to be working with the museum,” Cole said. She said the new exhibit will “walk the visitor through the history of the Little Tree.”

Car-Freshner Corp. employs 600 people at its plants in Watertown, Dewitt, Iowa, and Berlin, N.H.

Cole said business at Car-Freshner continues to be strong despite the current economic crisis.

She said some people may hold off on buying a new car, but they can get that new-car smell by buying a Little Trees “New Car” scent freshener.

“The Saratoga Automobile Museum is thrilled with this opportunity to celebrate ‘Little Trees,’ an automotive icon manufactured in New York state,” said Alan Edstrom, the museum’s director of programs and events.

“Car models may come and go, but over 50 years ‘Little Trees’ have held a rock-steady place in pop culture, becoming part of the automotive industry,” Edstrom said in a statement.

Edstrom said he understood the “Avenue of the Pines” fragrance would be similar to the company’s first product, which was called “Royal Pine.”

Cole said the Little Trees freshener was created by Julius Samann, a chemist who had experimented with extracting essential oils from pine trees in Canada.

A milk-truck driver in Watertown had complained to the local chemist about the smell of spilled, sour milk in his truck, she said.

Samann found that putting high-quality fragrance on porous card stock was very effective in creating a vehicle air freshener, according to the company’s Web site:

Samann also sketched the shape of the freshener and injected it with the Royal Pine scent.

Car-Freshner Corp. currently has more than 50 fragrances and sells its products around the world. The company also produces scented household products and has its own line of clothing with the Little Trees symbol on many of the items.

“It’s amazing to realize that ‘Little Trees’ have made such an impact on pop culture, having been featured in numerous movies, television programs and magazines,” Cole said.

For more information about the Saratoga Automobile Museum go to

Categories: Schenectady County

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