Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tobacco Ephemera 2

Ephemera, as I've mentioned before, is paper memorabilia that was never intended to be saved. This is a wonderful example of ephemera — it's a paper packet that held three cheroots. Someone long, long ago liked the design enough that they set it aside, and if not for them, we wouldn't be looking at this great example of Victorian graphic design.

click to enlarge

Just what is a "cheroot?" It's a small cigar that's clipped at both ends. Because the ends don't taper, the cheroot is easier and faster to roll and therefore less expensive than finer cigars.

I wish I could reach out and share this in person! This packaging is printed with a gold ink that is quite reflective now; it must have absolutely glistened in 1886.


  1. Hi Mark,
    I don't smoke either, but I find these very entertaining. First 'Sweet Bouquet' now 'Old'. The image the Mr. P Whitlock in the cartouche (presuming it is) could be a very effective deterrent printed on todays cigarette packages.
    Love it!

  2. I am enjoying this series Mark! I bet the gold was the "hook" that caught your eye as you walked by.

  3. Hi, Anyes and Theresa - glad you're enjoying the series! Wouldn't you just love to go back in a time machine and stock up on old packaging like this?

  4. Hi Mark, Can't say much for the visage but love the background. Am enjoying this series, as well.

  5. Love not only the fabulous design but the glorious color!! The only product I can think of that still has fabulous packaging like this are the beautiful Porto soaps, which I buy for the scent & design!

  6. Hi Gina and Stacey - I have to admit that I am often swayed by packaging. As I type this, I am staring at a tin of Lazzaroni Amaretti di Saronno. It's the same design that's been used for a hundred years, I'm sure, and even though I use it to store paint tubes, I'd have it out anyway just for decoration.

  7. I'm thinking of the modern cigarette and tobacco packaging here in Canada. It has graphic illustrations and large warnings about the health dangers. What a change.

    I usually disregard packaging unless it is some costly luxury product (in which case I suppose I'm more aware of what I'm paying for), but the other day I marvelled at the toothpase box and the minty, green foil lamination on the box.

    Our consumer product packaging and advertising reveals so much about our society. This is one reason I am fascinated by such advertising when I visit a foreign country. In a way it is like viewing our own western consumer culture from a different perspective.

  8. Hi Terry - Conversely, I imagine that people from other countries see our values very clearly as they look at everything that's advertised as newer, bigger and brighter.