Tobacconist Advertising (1910)

I had some idle time at work the other day and ran across an interesting old book: Tobacconist Advertising : A Collection of Selling Phrases, Descriptions, and Illustrated Advertisements as used by Successful Advertisers by William Borsodi. Published in 1910.

I could find few ads for anything other than Havanas, either imported or clear. Most of the ad copy was as cheesy as ad copy today, but there were a couple gems I’d like to share with you.

It’s no puzzle to pick out the man who smokes our special 5 cent cigar. Signs of nervous prostration are not depicted on his countenance, but rather self-satisfaction and content, for he knows a good thing when he sees it. Our Bachelor 5 center is all right every way; but if you like something even better, nothing can fill the bill better than our Lancaster at 10 cents. –J.E. Tyler & Co., Pueblo CO

The only name brand I recognized among the ads was Cuesta Rey. The rest:

  • Kook’s Templar
  • Taco
  • Samuel Smiles
  • Little Opera
  • Uncle Oscar
  • Turf
  • Anna Held
  • First Consul

Here’s a sentiment I can agree with. I have never cared for Sumatra/Indonesian wrappers, generally speaking. But evidently they’ve been using them for some time:

There’s many a bad cigar on the inside of a Sumatra wrapper. There’s many a good cigar that never saw a Sumatra wrapper. Sumatra wrappers cost a great deal–don’t add one iota to the smoking qualities of the cigar–simply make the cigar look pretty. –Shryock-Johnson Mfg. Co., St. Louis Mo.

And finally, a suggestion that I will bet a few people have tried. I haven’t yet used this method, but according to Herbert it’s the only way:

Ever smoke two cigars at one time? It’s the only way to judge cigars. Smoke one you know, and the one you want to compare with it, at the same time. That’s the way experts judge tobacco. –Herbert D. Shivers, Philadelphia PA

Now, if I could just find a couple five cent cigars to experiment with…

10 thoughts on “Tobacconist Advertising (1910)

  1. Hello!

    What can you tell me about Herbert Shivers of Philadelphia? I have inherited a beautiful cast ashtray with a long haired woman on one side and would like to know how old it is. I’m guessing from the unknown, dark gray, soft metal that it’s 1920’s era, but it’s only a guess.

    Elinor Hutchinson

  2. Hi Elinor —

    Unfortunately I don’t know anything about Herbert, aside from the fact that he operated a cigar shop of some sort in Philadelphia before 1910. You might want to look at the book referenced in the post, though I doubt that would give you much information either because its focus is on advertising copy. (The quote I posted is verbatim and entire, so there’s no additional information regarding Herb.) In case you want to take a gander for yourself, you can find the text reproduced on Google Books. Good luck, and make sure that ashtray isn’t made of lead!

  3. I have one of these Herbert D. Shivers, Inc. collectable cigar trays. It was handed down to me and has been in my famly close to 100 years. I only know that it was used for an ad campaign. I know that that company made hand rolled cigars in Phillidelphia, PA. I would like to know what it was worth, not wanting to actually part with it. I would appreciate ant assistance with it please.

  4. I found out that Herbert D. Shivers operated a cigar manufacturing company and used child labor. He would keep the children there for extended hours (14) a day. He would also keep the children working until midnight or even two am on saturdays. And he would have them working sunday nights too. The interviewed child was also coughing because of the tobacco particulate matter that filled the air. The store was located at 913 Filbert Street in Phillidelphia Pa. I found several Ad campaighns about the cigars manufactured there.

  5. I have a book called ‘smokes that smoke’
    an old catalogue for Shryock-Johnson

    If anyone is itersted in purchasing, phone uk mobile 07971693703

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