1910 US Government drops denominations from small white import stamps, now dated 1910.
1910 US Government totally redesigns cigar tax stamps, shortening them to 9± inches.
1910 US Government allows boxes of 5 and 10 regular cigars as well as 5 and 8 small cigars
1910 US Government allows Caution Notices to be printed directly on cigar boxes instead of pasted on. Specifies strict uniform dimensions and shape.
1910 WESTERN TOBACCONIST magazine founded.
1910 LA CORONA (owned by the American Tobacco Trust) was making 40,000 Havana cigars a day.
1910 Cigars and smoking tobacco confiscated by British tax agents were given to “Criminal Lunatic Asylums and to State Inebriate Reformatories.”
1910 R.G. Sullivan, Manchester NH, claims to be the country’s largest maker of a 10¢ cigar brand (350 rollers making 7-20-4).
1910 George Weidman and Thomas Fisher found Weidman, Fisher & Co., box makers, in Tampa.
1910 Jose “Mucho” Suarez starts leaf merchant business in Havana.
1910 Bayuk Bros. introduce PHILADEPHIA HAND MADE, which the smoking public shortened to “Phillies,” which ultimately became one of history’s biggest selling cigars.
1910 The Independent Retail Tobacconists’ Association (I.R.T.A.) is formed in reaction to the growth of United and other chain stores.
1910 President Taft lights the cigarette of the Russian ambassador’s wife, reportedly the first cigarette smoked in the White House. News reports say “Within five minutes nearly every European woman in the room was smoking.”
1910-1916 Huge quantities of Philippine cigars imported due to favorable tax rulings. Highly prized in Asia; contrary to legend, Philippine cigars were what the Kennedy brothers smoked.
1911 Tobacco Trust broken up: American, Lorillard, Liggett & Myers, RJ Reynolds separated out. The company’s two-thirds holdings in British American Tobacco were sold.
1911 La Floridian Cigar Factory established in Tampa.
1911 Statistically every man, woman and child in the US smoked 78 cigars and 108 cigarettes, chewed 2 1/2 pounds of chaw, smoked 1 3/4 pounds of pipe tobacco, and dipped 1/3 of a pound of snuff. In 1941 Americans still dipped a 1/3 of a pound of snuff and still smoked 1 1/2 pounds of pipe tobacco. Chaw had dropped to 3/4 of a pound, cigars were down to 45 and cigarettes up to 1,500 a year.
1912 Of the 8,500,000,000 US cigars, nearly half were made in PA and NY. Florida’s output was one-sixth that of PA, but got all the publicity because the city of Tampa produced more Clear Havanas than any other city, closely followed by Manhattan. Florida’s cheap cigars (5¢ or less) outsold Florida’s high-priced cigars (20¢ or more), something they didn’t publicize.
1912 If all the cigars manufactured in the United States this year were placed end to end they would go around the equator twenty-two times.
1912 American Tobacco Co. takes over F.R. Penn Tobacco Co.
1912 American Tobacco’s cigar division operates 60 factories (20 of them in Cuba) which sell more than 140 different brands of 5¢ cigar and hundreds of other brands sold at prices up to $1.
1912 H.Fendrich, maker of LA FENDRICH, CHARLES DENBY and many custom brands, opens huge new plant in Evansville, Indiana, capable of 350,000 cigars a day. Claims to be largest cigar factory in the world.
1912 Bayuk Bros. Cigar Co. moves to larger quarters in Philadelphia. Now operates factories in Allentown, Bethlehem, Steelton (PA), Newark, Perth Amboy and Binghamton.
1912 A.L. Cuesta of Tampa, FL, buys Cuba’s world-famous EL REY DEL MUNDO brand and opens new cigar factory and warehouse in Havana, primarily to supply Europe and South America. It was cheaper to import raw tobacco and make all Havana cigars in Tampa for the U.S. market.
1912 Cuban Government begins use of wide green Guarantee stamp. Text all in Spanish. This replaced the red and black stamp of the Union Fabricantes de Tabacos which had been in use since 1889.
1913 US Government issues first Manufactured in Bond customs stamp. Continued as long as supplies of Cuban tobacco are available (early 1960’s). See Dating Import stamps for detail.
1913 US Government tax laws modified to permit 21 cigars per week per employee to be smoked in the factory “without the manufacturer of cigars being required to pack the same in boxes, or to stamp or pay any internal revenue tax thereon.”
1913: A cigar makers’ strike involving 700 Cincinnati workers ends August 12 after two months when employers meet their wage demands.
1913 Jno. H. Swisher & Son formed as John buys out brother Harry and brings in his son Carl. Maker of KING EDWARD, SWISHER SWEETS, POM-POM and others.
1913 Charles Beck opens small cigar factory in Belleville, Illinois. Lasted 44 years.
1913 M. Labkoff’s Sons begin wholesaling cigars, cigarettes, patent medicines and fountain supplies in Philadelphia.
1913 RJ Reynolds introduces CAMEL the “first modern cigarette.”
1914 US Government enacts an increase in taxes to offset the loss of customs duties which followed the declaration of war between Germany and allied nations in Europe.
1914 Thomas E. Brooks, already a successful PA cigar maker, combines with S.E. Sechrist in forming T.E. Brooks & Co. of Red Lion, PA. By 1930, the company operated five PA factories.
1914 B. J. Van Huystee and his 16 year old son B.F. Van Huystee, immigrants from the Netherlands, open a cigar factory in London, Ontario, Canada. They made POLLYANNA, R34 and MAMMOTH SMOKERS. In 1922 they moved to Detroit, and B.F. became management in a series of major cigar-makers’ factories.
1914 Continuous ovens first used to dry inked tin, speeding tin lithography greatly, making cans and boxes cheaper, starting two decades of popularity.
1914 The largest 1% of US cigar factories rolled 50% of domestic cigars. The 24% classified as “mid-size” made 40% of the total, whereas 75% of US factories combined to make 10% of the output. Of the 26,000 registered cigar factories, only 50 roll more than 25,000,000 a year.
1915 Canadian Government issues new series of tax stamps the same as 1897, but redated and printed only in black. Small denomination stamps (5 & 10) were redesigned as small horizontals printed in gold-orange, but not color-coded. See Dating Canadian boxes for more detail.
1915 Onandaga County in New York’s finger lakes region cultivates 5,000 acres of cigar tobacco, Drops after WWI. 1931 sees only 1,000 acres planted, and that was up from previous years.
1915 William Steiner & Sons takes over Krueger & Braun label printers in NYC.
1915 Liggett & Myers reconstitutes CHESTERFIELD into a Camel type “modern” cigarette.
1915 High quality Cuban cigars sell for 35¢ to $2, with top of the line brands and sizes bringing $5 each.
1915 John Hertz founds Yellow Cab Co. By 1925 he owned 2,700 vehicles and a cigar brand had been named after his company.
1916 US Government shortens all cigar tax stamps to a uniform 4± inches. Portrait dropped.
1916 Membership in the Cigar Maker’s International Union peaks at only 53,000 members, but they are very influential philosophically. One hundred or more other union charters and constitutions are based on the cigarmakers.
1916 Don Francisco Pego Pita partnered with Cifuentes in Partagas. Name changed to Cifuentes, Pego y Cia.
1916 WILLEM II brand established in Valkenswaard, the Netherlands, by H. Kersten, former employee of the van Best Brothers.
1916 A German soldier’s ration during WWI was officially two cigars and two cigarettes a day. History doesn’t record how often they succeeded in collecting it.
1916 American Tobacco Company introduces LUCKY STRIKE to compete with Camels and Chesterfield.
1916-1920 Nearly all laws prohibiting sale of tobacco products to minors were passed between 1916-1920, simultaneous to the development and popularity of the domestic-blend cigarette.
1917 US Government sets 5 tax classes for cigars based on their retail price; Tax class shown both on the box and stamp, now color coded by amount paid.
1917 E. Latimer Sechrist and W.C. Fruitiger form the Superior Cigar Co. in York County, PA. Sechrist buys out Fruitiger 6 years later. Maker of FAVORITE PLAYERS, PAY DAY, JENNY LIND 5¢ cigars, JOLLY FELLOWS 2/5¢ cigars and KALO 3/10¢ cigars.
1917-1918 The Salvation Army and the WMCA both distribute free cigarettes to the troops in France.
I’d like to quit and go back home.
1918 John Dengler opens St. Louis cigar factory and tobacco shop that lasted 50+ years.
1918 An entire generation of young men returns home to England, France, Australia and the U.S. from World War One addicted to cigarettes.
1919 US Government enacts national PROHIBITION of booze. Saloons by the tens of thousands closed, cutting off an important retail outlet for cigars.
1919 First fully automated cigar machine introduced in US. One machine sold. A decade later, more than 4,000 would be in production, making more cigars in an hour than a hand-roller could do in a day, at about half the daily wage cost.
1919 Philadelphia’s Juan F. Portuondo celebrates 50th anniversary with gold/orange tin can. Have boxes, anniversary can, sign.
1919 Waitt & Bond. moves production of BLACKSTONE from Boston to Newark, a move usually associated with mechanization and or labor disputes.
1919 Census reports 19,832 people employed making cigars and cigarettes in Manhattan.
1919 Toraño y Campañia opens warehouses in Havana, specializing in Vuelta Abajo and Partido fillers from their own farms. “Buy direct from the grower; your dollar brings you better value.”
1919 Nationwide, 56% of cigar and cigarette factories produce less than $5,000 worth of goods a year.
1919 Cigarettes use more pounds of tobacco than smoking tobacco for the first time.
1919 Membership in the CMIU drops 40% in NYC because of the strike of 1919. One quarter of cigar rollers remain members, but in New Jersey less than 3% of cigar rollers are unionized. Important cigar companies in NY, PA and MA begin plans to move to New Jersey.
1919 London cigar importer NR Silverstone founded by Nat Silverstone. Still operating in 2000.
1920 Amalgamated Tobacco Workers of America founded as CMIU rival, small ineffectual, harassed NYC manufacturers, driving some to relocate to non unionized New Jersey.
1920 American Cigar Co., General Cigar Co., Consolidated Cigar Corp., American Tobacco Co., P. Lorillard, Liggett & Myers and other domestic and foreign manufacturers all have NYC headquarters.
1920 George & Herman Schroer open what in 1972 would be Louisville’s last surviving cigar factory.
1920 Bayuk Bros. incorporates, adding Inc. to their name.
1920 J.C. Winter operates 32 Pennsylvania factories, large and small. Maker of O’SAN, CHAMPAGNE, 50-50 and many other brands.
1920 Biggest cigar production year ever. Only 7.5% of cigar tobacco used in the US is imported, much of that from Sumatra via the Netherlands. Eight BILLION U.S. cigars used eight million pounds of tobacco imported from Cuba. That’s one pound for every 1,000 cigars. The word “Havana” on a cigar box almost always refers to a type of domestic U.S. tobacco, but is used in ways to make the smoker (and today’s ebay sellers) think of Cuba.
1920 The development of the modern blended burley cigarette, cup packs, World War One, the jazz age, automobiles, flappers, movies, and women smokers led to 100 Billion cigarettes going up in smoke and combined with the fully automated cigar machine brought an end to the Golden-Age of the cigar. Cigar consumption remained around 8 Billion cigars while cigarette consumption skyrocketed.
1920 Cigarettes accounted for 51% of tobacco taxes, up from 2% in 1880. By 1970, cigarettes would account for 97% of all tobacco taxes collected by the Feds.
1920 NYC from 50th St to 96th, from 3rd Avenue East remains the greatest concentration of cigar factories in the world, but the introduction of the fully automated machine is about to change that.
1920 Crippling 11 month long strike bankrupts many Tampa cigar factories.
1920 Cigar making machine permits four unskilled girls to make 4,000 cigars a day, compared to four skilled and much higher paid workers’ output of around 1,200, The handwriting was on the wall and everyone could read it.
1920 Jose Fernandez Rocha and Jose Rodriguez Fernandez (owners of J.F. Rocha y Cia, Inc., a Havana tobacco company) established LA GLORIA CUBANA. Brand today is made in Cuba, but also in the Dominican Republic by Cuban refugees.
1920-1935 marks a fifteen year depression in the CT tobacco industry.
1921 Advent of broadcast radio in the United States.
1921 13,983 factories made less than 2,000,000 cigars a year each (average 125,607) 26% of US total.
121 factories made more than 10,000,000 cigar a year each (average 23,125,826) 42% of total.
Compare to 1906, 40% and $37% respectively.
1921 Average cigar production per factory 461,000 per year, double that of 1900. Factories larger, more mechanized.
1921 Canadian Government ID’s change from IRD (internal revenue districts) to Ports. Boxes with ID’s referring to “Ports” date after 1921. Those with IRD numbers date from 1921 or before.
1921 Consolidated Cigar Corporation formed from Grand Rapids cigar maker G.J. Johnson and five other companies. Johnson’s DUTCH MASTERS becomes their flagship brand.
1921 R.G. Sullivan, one of New England’s largest cigar factories, making 225,000 cigars a day for the ten cent market.
1921 Only 4% of US cigar factories roll more than 2,000,000 cigars a year but they account for 74% of all US cigars made. The remaining 96% of the factories sold the other 26% of the cigars, with an average production of only 70,000 cigars. The majority of these were chinchalles (one man shops, also called ‘buckeyes’ because of their prevalence in Ohio). Estimated 100,000 cigar brands being sold in the United States.
1921 To compete in the post-war boom, most York County (PA) makers converted to shredded domestic filler, frequently mixed with Puerto Rican and / or Havana scrap to keep retail price at 5¢, wholesaled at $35/1000; larger companies were able to make a long filler cigar for $38.50/1000. Shredded filler cigars dried out quickly, a problem solved by foil wrapping them. Previously foil was mostly decorative, now became a matter of necessity. Cellophane later adopted.
1921 60% of expensive domestic clear Havana cigars are made in NYC, more than Florida. But Florida cigar makers cooperated and became masters of romantic PR and successfully campaigned to be associated with fine cigars in smokers’ minds.
1921 Cigar production in CT peaks. A century of growth and continual expansion ends.
1921 Iowa became the first state to tax cigarettes. By 1950, 40 states had followed suit taxing them from 1¢ to 8¢ a pack.
1922 Canadian Government issues new series of redesigned black strip tax stamps, smaller than previous issues. Issued only in 25 and 50 denominations.
1922 Faber, Coe & Gregg founded to take over the cigar distribution of fiscally troubled Acker, Merrall & Condit (originally founded in 1820) who had become part of the Tobacco Trust in 1903.
1922 Bayuk Bros. begins packing PHILADELPHIA PERFECTO in now ubiquitous tin boxes. See exhibit of Bayuk and tin.
1922 Wages in a cigar factory range from $12 to $70 a week. 80% of cigar makers nationwide are women, and the lowest paid, generally as strippers and machine operators. “Never hire a man if you can get a woman” was employer’s creed. Laws requiring separate bathrooms keep women from being hired in small factories.
1922 One in every 10 cigars (10% of US production) is machine made only five years after the first fully automated machine was introduced.
1922 The 35 largest factories in the U.S. made 12.5% of the cigars. The machine age gets established in the 1920’s and by 1930 the 35 largest companies would make 49.8% of all cigars.
1922 Baltimore had 132 registered cigar factories producing 350,000,000 cigars annually.
1922 British trade directory lists 4,360 licensed retailers of cigars in London, 1,200 in Liverpool, 280 in Edinburgh, 340 in Glasgow, and 285 in Dublin.
1923 Connecticut’s cigar tobacco crop small than that of any other crop, but worth twice as much.
1923 Bayuk Bros. Inc. changes name again to Bayuk Cigars, Inc. helping to date early boxes.
1923 J.B. Back & Co. founded in Ulster County New York has the distinction of being the last NY cigar factory when it closed its doors in 1986, laying off 65 people, mostly women. Boxes.
1923 BULL DURHAM smoking tobacco ceases production. Will be reintroduced in 1931 with a price reduction from current 8¢ to 5¢ a pouch.
1923 Exports of Cuban cigarettes hit an all time low. Once the world’s most sought after, they couldn’t compete with the Tobacco Trust’s marketing and price-cutting. By 1910 exports dropped to 15,000,000 packs; by 1920 less than 10,000,000 by 1923 only 2,000,000. Cuban in-island consumption rose dramatically, aided in part by lavish use of insert carts, including nudies. Cubans traditionally consumed half their output; by 1923 they smoked 80% of their production.
1924 Canadian Government issues 100 denomination tax stamp in style of 1922 stamps.
1924 Philip Morris re-introduces MARLBORO as a ‘woman’s cigarette.’
1924 Independent Tobacco Growers of Puerto Rico founded. Offices in Caguas, PR, and NYC.
1924 QUINTERO brand established in the town of Cienfuegos by Augustin Quintero.
1924 Cuban Government changes the design of the green Cuban Guarantee stamp, adding text in English, French and German to previously all Spanish stamp.
1925 Only three brands, Camels, Chesterfield and Lucky Strike, sell 82% of all cigarettes, in great contrast to the cigar industry with many tens of thousands of brands sharing the pot.
1925 7,000 full and part time people are involved in cigar tobacco growing in Connecticut. More than 50% of tobacco was grown outdoors (as opposed to shade leaf) on small farms of 10 acres or less.
1925 Of the 3,300 cigar workers using automated machines, only 157 were men. Women who worked the machines were not well paid. Nearly 80% made less than $1000/year; 10% of the women made less than $5 a week, mostly in PA.
1925 POR LARRANAGA became the first Cuban factory to make machine made cigars for the lower price market. The addition of machines led to a boycott by factory workers.
1926 US Government tax laws change. New “Series of 1926” stamps issued, used 1926-1932.
Still color coded and without portrait.
1926 Canadian Government issues undated Series A small denomination tax stamps.
1926 Consolidated Cigar Corp. buys G.H.P, makers of EL PRODUCTO, favorite brand of comedian George Burns who smoked them until age 100.
1926 The Porto Rican-American Tobacco Company buys controlling interest in Congress Cigar Co. and LA PALINA cigars for $12,500,000.
1926 Bayuk Cigars Inc. builds what is billed as the largest completely air-conditioned cigar factory in the world in Philadelphia.
1926 WHITE OWL, which had been selling at 2/15¢ dropped to 3/20¢.
1927 Regina Cigar Co. founded in Philadelphia. A 1969 letter from the Company to potential customers says: “…we make hundreds of private labels…”
1927 Benson & Hedges begins Canadian cigar manufacture by purchasing J. Hirsch and Sons who had been making cigars in Montreal since the late 1800’s.
1927 Cuba establishes the Comision Nacional de Propaganda y Defensa del Tabaco Habano. The protection of the cigar business of Cuba was thus entrusted to an official organization whose goal was to secure measures for domestic stabilization but also for developing an intensive campaign to expand markets for Cuban cigars and cigar tobacco.
1928 US Government allows boxes of 20 large (over 3# per 1,000) cigars and issues stamp.
1928 Waning power of the CMIU is reflected in their loss of sick and out-of-work benefits. Five years later, the death benefit would also be lost, leaving only strike benefits to members.
1928 Banders working by hand could put on 7,000 cigar bands in a day. The newly available banding machine, tended by two not so nimble girls who got paid less, applies 30,000 cigar bands a day. A hard working youngster could foil wrap about 2,400 cigars a day. A new 1928 model foil wrapping machine could do ten times that.
1928 The United States ranks fourth in the world in the use of Philippine tobacco, behind Spain, France and Czechoslovakia. Japan ranks fifth, with North Africa, Northern Europe, Hong Kong, China and Australia following in that order. Except for the US, the top five buyers are all government monopolies.
1928+ The buying power of chain stores, and the subsequent cost benefits given them by makers of major brands, is a major concern within the retail tobacco trade during the 1920’s, 30’s and onward.
1928 American Tobacco Company begins sponsoring the Lucky Strike Hit Parade on radio, the first national use of a musical-variety show to promote tobacco products.
1929 Jno. H. Swisher & Son making 100,000,000 machine made and wrapped KING EDWARD cigars a year in Jacksonville, FL.
1929 The Porto Rican-American Tobacco Company buys controlling interest in Waitt & Bond Cigar Co. and BLACKSTONE cigars for $3,000,000.
1929 The stock market crashes, country begins sinking into financial depression for entire next decade.
1929 375 cigar factories closed; 90% of them made higher priced cigars and employed 6 or fewer workers.
1929 American Tobacco Co. “developed the mass production of cigars along sanitary machinery lines.” CREMO controversial “spit” ads an offshoot of that move.
1929 Deisel-Wemmer Co. merges with Bernard Schwartz Cigar Co. of Detroit to become D.W.G.Company makes ODEN, SAN FELICE, EMERSON, EL VERSO and ownse substantial portion of Bernard Schwartz Cigar Co., maker of R.G. DUN and BRADSTREET.
1929 American Litho taken over by US Printing & Litho.
1929 The state of Washington requires the installation of one ash receptacle per passenger in automobiles driven in the forest and grain sections during the summer.
1930 US Government reaps $500,000,000+ from tobacco taxes, 80% from cigarettes.
1930 After the death of Celestino Lopez, the Tampa firm of Arango y Arango agrees to take over the brands belonging to Arguelles, Loipez & Bro.: TADEMA, INFINITO, LORD BYRON, FLOR DE GASTON, EL TIPO, EL SUCCESO, LA ALCOVA, ME LEAH and EL ROCCO.
1930 Cigar label business of American Litho sold to Consolidated litho (1930-1980’s).
1930 Weidman, Fisher & Co., Tampa box makers, merge with Tampa Box Co. into Leiman-Weidman Box Co, believed to be the largest cigar box company in the Southern U.S.
1930 The country’s 6,976 smallest cigar factories made 5.2% of the US output. The 35 largest cigar factories made 49.8% of the US output. Middle size factories (those with an annual output 5 million to 40 million) were close behind, roughly 45%.
1930 4,500 fully automatic cigar making machines in operation in the U.S. Four young girls can make almost 480 cigars an hour in contrast with a skilled hand roller’s daily 300 to 400.
1930 The average number of workers per cigar factory is 64. In 1900 it was 6.
1930 Nickel cigars account for 63% of all sales for next 12 months. By July 1931, that rises to 73%.
1930 Amando Gonzalez & Son open business in Tampa as dealers in all types of domestic cigar leaf and importers of Puerto Rican and Cuban tobacco.
1930 Autokraft Box Corp. continues campaign of buying and shutting down small box factories, smashing antiquated equipment and machines. Large companies refitted and opened as branch factories. Introduces “the new Autokraft wooden cigar box,” made with the latest technology.
1931 US Government changes 1910 white import stamp slightly, now dated 1931.
1931 US Government rules that the Navy must buy domestic cigars when within US waters, but admits it cannot prevent them from buying Cuban cigars when outside US territorial waters. The law relieves tobacco products intended for ships stores from paying taxes. Wording of the Free of Tax stamp changed.
1931 A Tampa manufacturer of clear Havana cigars remarked “If our smokers can’t afford our higher priced sizes and demand a nickel cigar, I am willing to give it to them in the hope of keeping their loyalty on my brand until such time as the economy permits them to go back to the 2/25¢ and 3/50¢ sizes.” Many Tampa brands adopt this attitude. Many companies begin packing 1/40ths (boxes of 25) instead of 1/20ths (boxes of 50).
1931 WHITE OWL reduces price to a nickel and becomes the largest selling 5¢ cigar, at 520,000,000 per year. H. Fendrich drops price of CHARLES DENBY from 8¢ to 5¢. Congress Cigar Co. drops price of LA PALINA from 6¢ to 5¢.
1931 Lorillard begins packing cellophaned POSTMASTER at 2/5¢ in boxes of 100.
1931 Standard Cigar Co. of Pittsburgh reports production of stogies steady at 1,000,000 a week.
1931 American Cigar Co. operated factories producing machine made 5¢ cigars in Camden, Philadelphia, Passaic, Kansas City, Louisville, and Charleston.
1931 Short filler “shredded tobacco” cigars keeping Red Lion district alive in the depression. Thousands of company and private brands. A few FAMOUS PLAYERS, NE-HI, LONG SMOKE, LUCKY LINDY, CITY NATIONAL, FIFTY-FIFTY, EL WADORA, O’SAN, PAYDAY, EMILIA GARCIA, LAS VEGAS, U.S. CLUB HOUSE, MEDITATION, HAVANA SWEETS, UTICA CLUB, CANADIAN CLUB, AMOS ‘N’ ANDY, SLEEPY EYE, HELLO WORLD, PEGGY O’NEIL, .
1931 Of 3,800,000 Class A cigars (retailing for not more than 5¢), 800,000 sold for less than 5¢.
1931 Bayuk wins NY State Supreme Court ruling stopping two NY cigar manufacturers from using the words “Phillies” or “Philadelphia” in the brand name, though the latter is permitted if the design of the box and band is distinctly different so as not to cause confusion on the part of a customer.
1931 Autokraft Box Corp., headquartered in Lima, Ohio, opens new Philadelphia box factory capable of making 200,000 boxes a week.
1931 Readers in Tampa factories fired “for reading communist and socialist propaganda” claim owners. 7,000 rollers walked out. When they returned to work about three weeks later, radios had replaced readers. Re-hiring was not automatic as “the strikers are no longer employees” but the original wage scales prevailed.
1931 Philadelphia’s Louis and Theodore Grabowski launch ROYALIST cigars.
1931 Continental Cigar Corp. founded in Scranton, PA, to make ABBEY and reintroduce R-B.
1931 I. Lewis, Newark, claims to be the largest independent cigar factory in the world.
1931 OLD KING COLE little cigars introduced in boxes of 10 for 30¢; later would be packed in boxes of 50 with a label by Maxfield Parrish.
1931 The great depression leads to the reintroduction of “roll-your-own” smokes and previously popular string-pull pouches of BULL DURHAM cigarette tobacco now priced at 5¢, down from 1920 price of 8¢.
1931 Radio is a hot fad with the public. PHILLIES, WHITE OWL, ROBT. BURNS, FLOR DE MANUEL, CREMO, LA PALINA, DUTCH MASTERS, X-TEDDY, LUCKY STRIKE and other brands of cigars and cigarettes sponsor radio programs, mostly music.
1931 CREMO cigars gives away a “car-a-day” in a successful ad campaign.
1931 For the Christmas trade, Cuesta-Rey cigars offer a limited production wooden book inlaid with ivory, a duplicate of that was presented to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales the previous year. Cigars are a special Corona. The Cigar Museum would like to obtain one of these.
1931 A survey taken by J. Oliver Snyder, maker of HAPPY HEINE cigars, determined the majority of cigar smokers, male and female, preferred to leave the band on rather than remove it before smoking.
1931 Crown Drug Stores of Kansas City, became part of the Retail Druggists of America, a holding company which consists of Shapero & Co of Indianapolis, Economical Drug of Detroit, and 22 other non-competing chains. Crown operates 80 stores, Economical and Shapero another 54. The goal is to coordinate purchasing and marketing.
1931 Though wildly popular in Missouri, punchboards are the target of law enforcement officials in Kansas, where they are illegal.
1931 Cornell University issues a solemn warning against “eating transparent wrappings (cellophane) of cigars and other articles.” Science marches forward!
1931 First smoking compartment on an airplane established by Eastern Air Transport on its New York to Philadelphia to Washington flight. Stewardesses serve free cigarettes, coffee and cookies to the 18 passengers.
1931 A bill was introduced into the Missouri State Legislature that would ban women “real or imaginary, in the nude, in costume, or dressed in any manner whatsoever” from advertising tobacco products. Bill was killed in Committee a week later. Sex sells and men apparently like it.
1931 Hunter College for Women accepts its first cigarette advertising in the school paper.
1931 Travelers to Cuba are permitted to bring back $100 worth of cigars duty-free. With average prices around a quarter, that was a lot of cigars.
1931 Fernando Palacio, of the firm of Fernandez, Palacio y Cia. reports the factory is working at full capacity with 400 rollers making BELINDA, HOYO DE MONTERREY, PUNCH and LA ESCEPCION. He claims to arrive at the factory every morning at 6 a.m. and to not leave until around 8 in the evening.
1931 Tobacco-packer J.B. Diaz y Cia. took over the old PARTAGAS factory on Yndustria St. from Cifuentes, Pego y Cia thanks to booming business. Storage capacity in the former PARTAGAS cigar and cigarette factory is 24,000 bales, and the location right next to the Capitol is only a block and a half from the Diaz offices. Diaz expects to pack 40,000 bales for export and domestic markets this year.
1931 Puerto Rico has glut of high grade tobacco, too expensive for makers of cheap cigars, the US industry trend. Tobacco that is sold barely covers production cost.
1931 Frank E. Fonseca announces dissolution of the company, makers of FLOR DE FONSECA.
1931 1,300 workers walk out of the LA YEBANA factory in Manila in protest over wage reductions. Spreads to other factories with 5,000 more walking off the job.
1931 Havana cigar companies stop shipping to England as a result of the devaluation of the pound resulting from switch from gold standard to silver standard. England normally absorbed about 40% of Cuban production, so, combined with US depression, hit Cuba hard.
1932 US Government allows boxes of 3 and 7 regular cigars and issues stamps accordingly.
1932 US Government starts adding annual Series numbers on all cigar tax stamps, starting with “Act of 1926, Series 102” in 1932. Numbering system continues through “Series 125” (1955). Stamps still color coded and without portrait.
1932 LILLIAN RUSSELL reduced to 2/5¢; CREMO and MARSH STOGIES reduced to 3/10¢.
1932 G.H.P., makers of EL PRODUCTO and NEW BACHELOR goes on a 5 day work week as part of a national movement to combat the great depression by spreading jobs around and encouraging week-end spending.
1932 Charles Schiege Jr. of Round Top, PA, maker of TEXAS STAR, LA ROSA SUPREMA and GREAT SPORT, celebrated the 50th anniversary of his factory with a specially packaged BOSS cigar, then shut down.
1931 Mail order specialist, Edwin Cigar Co. of New York City, moves most production to a completely renovated three story factory formerly occupied by the Fackler Cigar Co. in York, PA. About 30 rollers are employed, with more scheduled as new equipment arrives.
1932 Red Lion district of PA reports making 107,744,000 cigars last year.
1933 US Government passes National Recovery Act, intended to help workers during the great depression. Act declared unconstitutional in 1935. NRA blue eagle logos and stamps appear on boxes until mid 1935. To see NRA stickers go <here>.
1933 Prohibition repealed. Legal saloons reopen.
1933 Jno. H. Swisher & Son becomes one of the first cigar companies to take the NRA pledge and became spokespersons, urging cooperation from retailers.
1933 NRA laws force Tampa cigar makers to raise wages to 30¢/hour minimum.
1933 The once powerful Cigar Makers International Union discontinues death benefits. Once the most generous of unions, declining membership and power call for retrenching.
1933 J. Mazer of Detroit introduces CADILLAC 5¢ cigars.
1933 Alfred Dunhill opens New York City shop.
1933 American Tobacco moves LA CORONA, BOCK y CA, VILLAR y VILLAR, HENRY CLAY and other Cuban brands to modern air-conditioned factory in Trenton, New Jersey.
1933 Wolf Bros. lost their private brand business so began making RUM-SOAKED CROOKS.
1933 In response to a threatened strike, the Cuban army raids the Tobacco Worker’s Union headquarters in Havana, burning paper records and smashing all equipment and machines. See Corruption in 20th century Cuba.
1933 HARVESTER and PHILLIES among many brands reduced from 10¢ to 5¢. KING EDWARDdrops from 5¢ to 2/5¢.
1933 G.H.P. revives former 10¢ brand LA AZORA as a nickel cigar.
1933 Most cigarettes sell for 12¢ a package of 20.
1933 The Roxy and other theaters start permitting smoking during performances.
1933 Reno, Nevada, prohibits sale of tobacco products in drug stores.
1933 J. Mazer cigar firm established in Detroit.
1933 Declining demand causes cigar tobacco growers in CT and PA to cut acreage by up to 50%.
1935 US Government passes the Tobacco Inspection Act. Directs the Secretary of Agriculture to establish quality standards and control auction markets. The act preserved the two elements causing colonial regulation: the encouragement of quality and the discouragement of quantity.
1935 Canadian Government issues undated Series C tax stamps, used until 1960. Eleven types, including black strip and small horizontal as well as colored verticals, were issued.
1935 MONTECRISTO reintroduced in Cuba by the owners of H.UPMANN.
1935 Americans could no longer afford Cuban cigars. Imports dropped from $41,000,000 worth in the 1920’s to less than $14,000,000 worth in 1935.
1935 In two years since the price drop from 10¢ to 5¢ Bayuk’s PHILLIES go from selling 17,000,000 to selling 365,000,000 and become the number one selling cigar in the U.S.
1930’s Depression prices for Wisconsin tobacco drop to 1¢ to 3¢ a pound, Tobacco growers continue, much on barter for labor which was widely available. After 1934 prices began to climb upward somewhat to the 7¢ range.
1937 Bayuk Cigars Inc. introduces PRINCE HAMLET in distinctively labeled box.
1937 The Cigar Manufacturers Association founded. Name changed in 1974 to Cigar Association of America.
1938 R.J. Reynolds begins sponsoring half hour national broadcast of Grand Ole Opry on radio.
1939 Canadian tax officials do away with Caution Notices on Canadian cigar boxes.
1939 First scientific study linking lung cancer with smoking was published.
1939 Hermann Goring forbids German soldiers to smoke on the street, during marches and during short breaks. ironic in that he was a heavy cigar smoker with a custom brand decorated with his family crest and, even more rare, a Berlin-made brand with his portrait in uniform. Both can be seen in the Museum.
1940 Marsh Wheeling factory in Wheeling, WV, celebrates 100th anniversary. Numerous boxes.
1940 After Death of Ramon Cifuentes in 1938 and Francisco Pega Pita in 1940, Partagas company was renamed Cifuentes y Cîa.
1940 GISPERT cigars founded in Pinar del Rio, a region in Western Cuba named after an important early citizen.
1941-1945 World War II.
1941 Statistically every man, woman and child in the US smoked 45 cigars and 1,500 cigarettes, smoked 1 1/2 pounds of pipe tobacco, dipped a 1/3 of a pound of snuff and chewed 3/4 of a pound of chaw. Thirty years before, that same statistical “person” smoked 78 cigars and 108 cigarettes, smoked 1 3/4 pounds of pipe tobacco, dipped 1/3 of a pound of snuff and munched 2 1/2 pounds of chaw.
1942 US Government introduces 7 tax classes based on retail price, adding F and G. Issues stamps accordingly. Portrait returns.
1942 US Government radically changes manner in which revenue stamps are printed. Color coding dropped.
1942-1945 US Government rations cigars. Substantial production from large factories such as Bayuk and Fendrich goes to the military. Those two each devote 30+% of production to troops overseas.
1945 Machine-made cigars make up 85% of total US domestic production. Hand made cigars still make up 85% of Cuban production.
1945 Valkenswaard, the Netherlands, bombed during the last week of World War Two, wiping out most of the city’s cigar factories. HOFNAR and WILLEM II among the few surviving brands.
1946 US Government discontinues use of import stamps on boxes of imported cigars.
1946 US Government begins two year process of dumping millions of stockpiled cigars from wartime inventory. The market glut hurt many small manufacturers as the government was selling cigars cheaper than small companies could make them.
1948 Jose Arrango, Tampa, became one of the cigar companies going bankrupt thanks to dumping.
1949 Regina Cigar Co. of Philadelphia acquires Boston’s Estabrook and Eaton Co.
1950 H.Fendrich, Evansville, IN, celebrates 100th anniversary.
1951 Joe Wiedemeyer, 75, closed the Henry E. Wiedemeyer cigar factory in Marysville, KS, originally founded by his father in 1880, and where he had worked since age 15. “I still roll a few for friends.”
1952 Canadian Government begins overprinting Series C tax stamps to accommodate newly permitted quantities of cigars in boxes.
1952 Twelve year old Tony Hyman founds The National Cigar Museum and a dozen-member cigar box collector’s club. The biannual club exhibitions are open to the public.
1952 Bayuk Cigars Inc. buys Webster-Eisenlohr obtaining WEBSTER, TOM MOORE, HENRIETTAand CINCO.
1953 J.C. Newman Cigar Co. moves from Ohio and opens factory in Tampa.
1953 Regina Cigar Co. of Philadelphia acquires Bobrow Brothers Cigar Co., also of that city.
1954 R.G. Sullivan cigar factory, maker of 7-20-4, Manchester, NH, celebrates 80th anniversary.
1954 Benson & Hedges New York merges with Philip Morris.
1955 Glaser Bros. opens 40,000 square foot warehouse in San Francisco.
1955 Bayuk Cigar Co. obtains New Jersey’s I. Lewis Manufacturing Co. adding JOHN RUSKIN, FLOR DE MELBA and the already absorbed by Lewis SEIDENBERG line. Later this year they also acquired the Grabowsky Brothers and their ROYALIST and AMERADAS brands.
1955 Large high-grade clear Havana cigars selling in the 25¢ to 30¢ range became very popular. Around 100,000 a day were being sold by some companies, especially BERIING Plazas, GARCIA y VEGA Napoleons, GOLD LABEL Palmas, and PERFECTO GARCIA Waldorfs among others.
1955 Universal Cigar Co., bought out A. Santella, long-time Tampa maker of OPTIMO.
1956 US Government gives cigar makers a choice of continuing to use tax stamps after July 1 or pay their taxes by making daily returns to the IRS instead. Many companies opt to continue using stamps.
1956 Consolidated Cigar Corp. obtains MURIEL from P.Lorillard. Blonde bombshell Edie Adams’s “Why don’t you pick me up and smoke me sometime!” becomes one of the nation’s best known TV commercial theme songs.
1956 Frank Llaneza, under VILLAZON name, continues buying: EL REY del MUNDO, FLOR de A. ALLONES, BANCES, among prestige brands he controlled.
1957 US exports only 69,000,000 cigars, roughly 1% of production.
1958 Barely 595 US cigar factories in 32 states, down from an 1895 high of 40,000 factories. This represents the fewest operating cigar factories since the start of the Civil War, 150+ years ago. Total cigar factories employees only 31,000.
1958 Only 313 establishments still manufacture cigarettes, snuff, smoking and chewing tobacco in the United States,. Approximately 7,000 wholesalers and distributors get them to 1,400,000 retailers.
1958 Bonded warehouses, primarily in Tampa and Trenton make 243,700,000 “clear Havana” cigars entirely of Cuban tobacco. The Philippines shipped 134,000,000 cigars to the US, Cuba shipped 22,000,000 and 5,000,000 came from Europe and Southeast Asia.
1958 Only the bakery and meat industries use more cellophane than tobacco companies.
1958 SWISHER SWEETS introduced by Jno. H. Swisher & Son Jacksonville Florida maker of 6¢ KING EDWARD.
1958 Benson & Hedges Canada merges with Philip Morris.
1958 Carl Cuesta sells CUESTA-REY to the Newman Cigar Co. who, in the 1980’s, moves production of the brand to the Dominican Republic.
1958 Cuba’s prestigious POR LARRANAGA brand exported only 18.6% of their output, selling the majority domestically. This was a marked reversal of a half century before, when they were primarily an export brand. POR LARRANAGA accounted for 5.3% of Cuba’s cigar exports in 1958.
1959 In June, new US Government tax laws go into effect, no longer requiring, or providing for, tax stamps on any tobacco product. Federal tax forms may now be filled out on a semi-monthly basis.
1959 Corrupt Cuban President Fulgencio Batista flees Cuba, leaving revolutionary Fidel Castro in charge. Not long thereafter, after failing to get help for his new government from Washington, Castro infuriates foreign investors who own most of Cuba by nationalizing their businesses. See NCM exhibit about the corruption in 20th Century Cuba that led to Castro.
1960 Canadian Government issues new smaller 3 3/4” strip style tax stamps printed in black.
1960 Illinois, once the 3rd leading cigar producer, down to 27 registered cigar factories.
1960 Connecticut has only 4 cigar factories, rolling a mere 61,000,000 of the nation’s 8,600,000,000 total. Two exporters shipped Connecticut cigar tobacco to Germany, England, Canada and the Canary Islands.
1960 The U.S. tobacco industry provides Americans with 150,000,000 pounds of manufactured tobacco a year and pays upwards of $4,000,000,000 in taxes. No wonder the government has never been too enthusiastic about tobacco regulations other than those helping the IRS to collect taxes.
1961 COHIBA founded in Cuba under direction of Fidel Castro.
1962 U.S. embargo against Cuba leads to Cuban cigar makers beginning relocation to Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico, the Canary Islands and elsewhere. When the embargo was enforced, the Florida industry was using $32,000,000 worth of Cuban tobacco annually. Within months, six thousand cigar workers were out of work.
1962 Bayuk Cigars Inc. buys Tampa’s GARCIA Y VEGA brand, holders of the largest stocks of pre-embargo Cuban tobacco already in the U.S..
1964 US Surgeon General releases report warning of the dangers of smoking cigarettes. “The death rates for men smoking less than 5 cigars a day are about the same as for non-smokers. For men smoking more than 5 cigars daily, death rates are slightly higher.” Many saw these figures as an endorsement of substituting cigars for cigarettes.
1965 Canadian Government issues small vertical black tax stamps to replace the almost 4” long strip stamps of 1960.
1965 US Government requires addition of “Cigarette Smoking May be Hazardous to Your Health” to cigarette packs. This was a watered down warning compared to the wording originally enacted. No one, consumers, government, or the industry was happy.
1968 Ernesto Perez Carrillo, Sr. opens EL CREDITO in Miami. A cult favorite, most production moved to the Dominican Republic in 1995 to keep up with demand.
1969 US Government bans cigarette advertising from television. Small cigars allowed to advertise, resulting in boom in brands, ads and sales.
1971 Canadian Government issues redesigned small vertical black tax stamps to replace the stamps of 1965.
1971 Half the US 6,000,000,000 cigars were made in Pennsylvania.
1971 US Government requires a new warning, another compromise, reading: “Warning: The Surgeon General Has Determined That Cigarette Smoking is Dangerous to Your Health.”
1972 Membership in the Cigar Makers’ International Union drops to 2,500 and the Union ceases publication of The Cigar Makers’ Official Journal.
1973 US Government bans cigars from advertising on television.
1974 Canada becomes world’s last country to discontinue use of cigar tax stamps.
1974 The Cigar Maker’s International Union merges with the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Worker’s Union. An ignominious ending to a once-proud and important Union.
1974 The Cigar Manufacturers Association changed name to Cigar Association of America.
1998 Tobacco Institute and Smokeless Tobacco Council shut down, casualties of the Master Settlement Agreement entered into by the cigarette companies and the state attorneys general.
Beginning with the consolidations of companies in the 1950’s, followed by the Cuban embargo, the modern era of the cigar industry was conceived and born. The new age is one dominated by expensive high-quality imported cigars. That’s a story for others to tell.