N.M.P.L. | AUSTIN
SETS FOR SALE
ABDULLA / ARDATH
LAMBERT & BUTLER
|Saturday, 17th May 2008|
suppose it is only human nature but when you think of cigarette cards you probably only think of perhaps seven producers. It is easy to forget that at the turn of the century there were well over 100 tobacco companies. A momentary glance through Murray's will show that there were many card producers. What follows are potted histories of a few of the smaller ones.
The very early history is obscure but it would seem to have been established in about 1780. A Quaker by the name of Mr A Raikes moved his business from the Canal to a shop in Silver Street Salisbury. It was to remain there until 1970.
The business went under the owners name until 1826 when it was taken over by John Stratton who ran the business for 23 years. During this time there seemed to have been many improvements. Part of this was to extend the markets for the business. In 1849 the business was sold to James Brown 'Baccy Brown' as he was known.
Tobacco leaf had been stored in Silver Street but no cutting had taken place on the site until 1865. All operations had previously been done at the Old Town Mill on the River Avon, near St Thomas's Church.
A rather unusually arrangement existed where tobacco manufacture was conducted on the upper floor of the building and flour was ground on the lower floor.
In 1865 Brown sold the business to Henry Stevens. He got rid of the mill complex choosing to install machinery at Silver Street instead. His son was to take over the business and introduced electric lighting into the factory, presumably much reducing the fire risk.
In 1899 the business was taken over by FJ & EE Snook but continued to trade under the old name. After the Second World War major improvements took place and a new factory was built at High Post, Great Durnford.
In 1956 some of the brands manufactured were 'Sarum Virginia' 'New Forest' Blue Boy' 'Golden Shag' 'White Label.'
For a company spanning so many years the cigarette card output was disappointing but none the less this small firm has a place in cigarette card history.
John Harvey started business in 1762 (it always surprises me just how far back this business went). Unfortunately he was to only live another 7 years which left his wife to carry on the business until 1783. In around 1787 it became John Harvey & Sons. John's widow died at the age of 64 in 1800.
The opening of the business can be dated accurately because of a newspaper advert in 'The Newcastle Courant' (Feb 10th 1762.) Taken out by John Harvey detailing his business activities.
By 1856 the original premises were proving to small for the thriving business and it moved to Hanover Square, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Ironically the site had previously been a Unitarian Chapel.
It is unclear as to when Mr Day went into partnership, probably in the 1850's.
In 1905 Mr Davy dies and this instigated a change within the company. By now the grandson of the original Mr Harvey was so old control was gradually handed over to Mr G Porrett.
Under Mr Porrett's control the company was handling approximately 500 tons of dry tobacco leaf.
Oh yes, they made some beautiful cigarette cards in the process, although they only produced four sets.
The business seems to have been founded in 1802, Shrewsbury. Messrs. Singleton & Cole succeeded Messrs. S & C Harries & Son in 1886 while in 1892 it became a limited company. The managing director was Joseph Cole. As well as the Shrewsbury (which was in the Mardol area in 1891) link they had large premises at Wolverhampton, 36 Dudley Street and Birmingham which were in Fore Street and Cannon Street.
The Shrewsbury building was four stories high and housed the warehouse operation whilst a two story building behind this housed the facotry buildings was bought in a period of expansion.
Singleton was the brains behind the warehouse operation and Mr Cole had the expertise in manufacture.
At the time the machinery of manufacture was steam-driven, or at least the state of the art stuff was. It employed around 100 people.
The cigars and cigarettes were produced both by hand and machine. A tobacco allowance was given to all employees.
Singleton & Cole were wholesalers for, Goodman & Co, Muratti, Allen & Ginter and also Taddy, Ogden, Wills, Carroll amongst others.
In 1901, a Mr Cornelius de Ruyter came over from Holland to become foreman and later manager of the Shrewsbury site. He worked there until the outbreak of World War Two. It was around this time that the cigar and cigarette factories closed. The Post Office took over this building.
It was around the turn of the century they produced their cigarette cards. They were not a prolific issuer of cards but they have been subject to a few card discoveries over the last twenty years or so. There are variations to be found in a number of the series (which are about 15, dependent on less if you consider Orient Line cards as one, rather than seperate series). All but one are card series, the odd man out being odd for a number of reasons. Made of silk it was also the largest series they did being 110 'cards' long. All cards from this issuer can be considered pretty rare and if you have some of the Famous Officers (subtitled Hero Series) then treasure them for that is what they are.
In 1900 the tobacco and snuff factories of Illingworth were described as 'a notable centre of industry in Kendal, and have been rendered familiar by their excellent productions throughout all parts of the kingdom.' The Kendal, Windermere and Bowness Illustrated doesn't stop there; 'The Kendal Brown Snuff, Tobacettes Nictiana Affimas cigarettes and fancy packet tobaccos turned out to have a high celebrity amongst lovers of the "weed" and are in large and increasing demand among connoisseurs, as indeed are many other productions of the firm'
I'll leave it there I think and give that copy writer a well-earned break.
The company was something of a late starter beginning as it did in 1867 by Mr John T. Illingworth. The company growth was steady and in 1892 there was a need for new premises. Mr James Rummey Illingworth (son of the founder) now sole proprietor of the business engaged in building new premises. It was to be filled with the most up-to-date equipment afforded to tobacco trade of that period. The company therefore moved from 43 Highgate to London Avenue into a building 120 ft long by 60ft wide. The production of "Tobacettes" Cigarettes de Luxe was now by machine and faster and more regular for that.
Another part of the business was turning out hand-rolled tobacco delighting in names such as 'Wishing Gate', 'Sparkler', 'Almond Blosson', 'Avenue' and 'Special Straight Cut.'
The packet tobaccos had even more adventurous names, 'Special Blend Smoking Mixture' and 'Handy Andy Cut Plug' being examples.