Thursday, April 28th, 2016...10:00 am

Smokerama

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This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

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If you are looking for “classic tobacco accoutrements” this volume of Smokerama is just the ticket!  In today’s anti-smoking climate it may seem hard to imagine that smoking was once considered a sophisticated and glamorous habit and accessories for smoking were just as important as the cigarettes themselves.  For example cigarette dispensers were quite popular and all of the various models had their own clever mechanism for dispensing.  You would only have to depress this dapper gentleman’s spotted bow-tie and a cigarette (stored horizontally inside the head) would appear at his lips.  Or if you wanted to be a bit more whimsical you could enjoy this Ronson penguin “Pik-a-Cig” which was both a dispenser and a lighter.  Simply press the lever and a cigarette rolls to the bottom where it can be retrieved by the penguin and lit with the attached lighter.

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Another big favorite from the thirties were these stylized bellhops who helpfully carried these bags of cigarettes.

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Book matches have historically been used for messages that advertise restaurants, bars, political campaigns, and other special events.  But during World War II book matches were utilized by many propaganda writers who created some memorable slogans such as “Make it Hot for Hitler.”  These Strike ’em Dead matches contained a row of Adolf matches dressed in army uniforms just waiting to be stuck dead when lit.

Img0011Women were also not left out of the occassion as tobacco companies began to target their business at the turn of the century.  In a bid to get more women to buy cigarettes they included these illustrated silks (really satin inserts) in packs of cigarettes, hoping that this prize would encourage their smoking habit.  These were associated with the more expensive cigarettes and consisted of flags, comic images, and women.  The companies also made larger sizes of these “silks” that could be obtained as long as they had evidence of the purchase of cigarettes.

To read more about America’s favorite pastime you can find this in Widener’s collection. Smokerama : classic tobacco accoutrements / Philip Collins ; photography by Sam Sargent. San Francisco : Chronicle Books, c1992.

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager, for contributing this post.

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