In the pre-Civil War era when most cigars were shipped from the factory in boxes containing from 200 to 5,000 cigars, cigars were bought loose in ones, twos, etc., and carried by middle and upper classes in personal painted combination papier maché and leather pouches, almost all of which appear to be of European origin. By the mid 1850s personal cigar cases were also made of leather, silver, silver plate, tin, and tortoise shell. They are briefly examined in another NCM Exhibit.

     Inexpensive machine-made paper bags appeared in the 1840’s and became a staple of commerce. Machine-made cardboard containers followed in the 1850’s. Paper bags were particularly convenient for casually and inexpensively packaging cigars. Makers who offered multiple pricing like 3/5¢ found that pre-packaging their cigars in paper pouches was an inducement to buy multiples. Paper and cardboard had the advantage of being easily printed, so pouches and bags became post-sale advertising, reminding the smoker of what he was puffing on or where he bought it. The fancy hand-painted leather-papier maché pouches aren’t seen as much after the Civil War, though some interesting variations  in cloth and leather give-aways appeared, and were given away free or offered as premiums by sellers. The free cardboard and paper pouches remained in use to WWII.   [3721]

Pouches & Bags Gallery

A National Cigar Museum Exclusive 

© Tony Hyman, All rights reserved

Latest additions: May 8, 2010

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