Happy Throwback Thursday! Today we have some great images from the R.G. Sullivan Cigar Factory from their heyday.
We’ve all seen the building located at 175 Canal Street (see above) that still reads “R.G. Sullivan 7-20-4 Cigar Factory.” Roger G. Sullivan, owner of the company, first began his cigar career in 1874. They expanded their operations to the Canal Street location in 1906, “employing 400 people and producing 12 million cigars each year, making it one of the largest cigar manufacturers in the country.” Each cigar was rolled by hand with Cuban tobacco (see right).
R.G. Sullivan was also known for their various marketing efforts. One, in particular, was extremely popular at the time—tobacco trade cards. In America, “… [the] Cards were first produced in the 1870s as a means to stiffen flimsy cigarette packs. Initially they were blank until an American businessman thought advertisements should be placed on them…by the mid 1880s, manufacturers decided to make sets of cards with pity advertisements on the backs. It was a good way to build customer loyalty since many customers felt compelled to complete their sets!” While I don’t have any information about the R.G. Sullivan trade cards and what products they were associated with, they certainly followed the trend of the late 19th century!
In the Manchester Historic Association’s archives I was able to find a few more images from R.G. Sullivan’s marketing efforts including a few posters! The first picture (below) shows a poster to their most famous cigar, and building namesake, the 7-20-4 10¢ cigar! Another poster (see below) I found advertises their 5¢ Dexter cigar.
The R.G. Sullivan Cigar Company continued to make cigars past Roger Sullivan’s death in 1918. The factory eventually closed in the early 1960s. The reason? Due to the Cold War, Cuban tobacco was nearly impossible to get in the States. No tobacco, no cigars.