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An original Rowland's Macassar Oil bottle, from the author's collection.
Antimacassars were made to protect chair backs from the hair oil. Macassar oil was derived from Indian trees and named after Port Makassar, Indonesia. Rowland's was the most well-known brand name of hair oil, from the mid- to late-1800s.
In Lewis Carroll's Alice Through the Looking Glass is another connection to Alice in Wonderland:
"His accents mild took up the tale: / He said, 'I go my ways,
and when I find a mountain-rill, / I set it in a blazer
And thence they make a stuff they call / Rowland's Macassar Oil
Yet twopence-halfpenny is all / They give me for my toil."