The history of the cigar-making Bayuk brothers begins in 1896 when Sam, Max and Meyer Bayuk pooled $325 and opened their first factory in a rented Philadelphia attic, joining 900 or so other Philadelphia cigar makers.

    Their first cigar brand, PRINCESS BONNIE, sold well enough they were able to open a second factory in Lancaster county, PA. In 1910, they introduced PHILADELPHIA HAND MADE PERFECTO, which the smoking public quickly adopted, shortening the name to “Phillies.”  The fledgling company prospered, eventually opening additional factories in Philadelphia, Allentown, Bethlehem, Newark, Perth Amboy, Binghamton and elsewhere.

    The brothers incorporated in 1920, becoming Bayuk Bros., Inc., a name which lasted for only three years, as in 1923 they changed the focus from the original brothers to their product and became Bayuk Cigars, Inc.

    Over the next decades, the company established and maintained five brands of cigars in their catalog, all made in multiple sizes and sizes and shapes. In addition to PHILLIES they offered CHARLES THOMSON, HAVANA RIBBON, MAPACUBA and PRINCE HAMLET.  Like most cigar factories, Bayuk also packaged cigars under other names to create custom brands for wholesalers, retailers and other customers.

    During the heart of the Great Depression of the 1930s PHILLIES became the nation’s most popular cigar, selling one million cigars a day.  The other brands went on to varying degrees of success. Of  the five brands sold in the 1920s, CHARLES THOMSON, named after the first signer of the Declaration of Independence, became the first to be dropped.

    A more complete history of Bayuk and PHILLIES is elsewhere.


Mapacuba, Charles Thomson, Havana Ribbon, Prince Hamlet

and other Bayuk cigar brands 

A Cigar History Museum Exclusive 

© Tony Hyman, All rights reserved

Uploaded  June 11, 2012