George W. Perkins was President of the C.M.I.U. from 1892 into the mid 1920’s and a strong believer in advertising. During the fifteen year long battle with the American Tobacco Trust, local Union chapters were encouraged to affix the “Blue Label” stamp to every box of cigars they made and to promote its recognition by the smoking public. Some Union locals created novelty give-aways depicting the Blue Label which were intended for their members to give to retailers and the public at large.  Buttons, match safes, celluloid novelties and a wide range of paper goods are highly sought after by collectors today.

    Date give-aways by the signature on the Blue Label stamp. The vast majority of C.M.I.U. give-aways were made between 1896  and 1915 and have Perkins’ signature. The presence or absence of a printers’ Union bug on the “Blue Label” may be helpful in further narrowing the date. See the exclusive NCM exhibit on how to date CMIU stamps.

    Store signs, parade floats, publications and items intended exclusively for Union members can be found in the C.M.I.U. Artifacts exhibit.

C.M.I.U. Give-aways

A National Cigar History Museum Exclusive 

Text & Images © Tony Hyman, All rights reserved

Uploaded March 2008

Latest addition posted May 4, 2010

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Although the most common name in celluloid give-aways is Whitehead & Hoag, this single leaf brochure from the Photo Novelty Company of Chicago which focusses on their union-related products indicates W & H wasn’t the only game in town. Nine by six inches from 1902.