Selling Smoke
Selling Smoke

How Canadian Cigar Boxes Pitched Their Wares  1883-1935

Smokers' World
 The Cigar Goddess

Tobacco was among many new plants encountered by the first Europeans to the Americas. Artists sometimes personified the New World's abundance as a woman in classical garb-perhaps the goddess of agriculture or the harvest-seated amidst copious foodstuffs such as corn, beans, and potatoes.

Cigar manufacturers adapted this iconography for their labels: they seated the goddess on a throne of cigar boxes, her cornucopia overflowing with "perfectos," her outstretched hand offering an open box of cigars.

Even without a goddess, cigars were promoted, along with food and wine, as a component of the good life.

Cigar box label : The Merchant  
The Merchant
Trimmed nailed wood box (50)
Factory 11 Port 24-E Series C
F.H. or J.G. Ward, Stratford, Ont.
CMC 2003.46.6 | S2003-3163
Cigar box label : The Royal George  
The Royal George
Trimmed nailed wood box (25)
Factory 21 IRD 17  Series of 1897
Isaac Harris or E. Youngheart, Montreal, Que.
CMC 2003.46.1 | S2003-3148
Cigar box label : La Preferencia  
La Preferencia
Trimmed nailed wood box (50)
Factory 6 Port 10-D  Series C
General Cigar Co., Montreal Que.
CMC F-9176 | D2002-013753
Cigar box label : La Rosa Especial   Some of the cigars pictured in these labels are bundled as they were in the days before governments made cigar box packaging mandatory (see Anatomy of a Cigar Box). The bundles convey the notion of old fashioned, easy-going plenty.
La Rosa Especial
Trimmed nailed wood box (50)
Factory 21 IRD 17 Series of 1897
Likely E. Youngheart, Montreal, Que.
CMC 2003.46.88 | S2004-250
Cigar box label : Tutti Frutti  
Tutti Frutti
Trimmed nailed wood box (50)
Factory 1 IRD 32 Series of 1897
Likely A.H. Brener, London, Ont.
CMC 2005.139.13 | D2005-19881
Cigar box label : Fair Exchange  
Fair Exchange
Trimmed nailed wood box (50)
Factory 4 IRD 30  Series of 1897
Likely F.L. Flynn., Hamilton, Ont.
CMC 2004.38.19 | D2006-01794
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