Just in time for Christmas
December 20, 2011 3:29 PM   Subscribe

Hundreds of old cigar labels. Vintage lighters. Cigar bands from the "Golden Age" of cigar advertising (1890s - 1920s). Japanese Matchbox label & manufacturing. Depression Era Cigarette Packs. Cigarette Holders for the Ladies. The Victorian Gentleman's Smoking Cap (and jacket). The History of the Cigar Store Indians and Side Walk Figure Statues. Let’s not forget the ashtrays

From the NYPL (horrible interface as usual):
Cigarette cards, and Tobacco Art prints.
Matchbox labels from around the world.

Most of these link to personal, obsessive websites with 2001 web sensibilities (old-fashioned navigation, frames, etc.)
posted by growabrain (8 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Nice post, and I always like the 2001-style obsessive web sites. And this is where I get to mention my collection of ashtrays shaped liked states! [self-link to flickr set]
posted by marxchivist at 3:57 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

I used the last match in a book the other day and got all sad because the establishment that gave it to me is now totally non-smoking and probably isn't having matchbooks made anymore. The outlaw-smoking mentality has really taken over. Where do all of the ashtrays go when bars switch to smoke-free? Are there matchbook design companies going out of business?

Is there hope in weed? So much of the design surrounding that culture is already cornered by the marijuana plant leaf, swirly psychedelia, and rastafarian iconography though. I see a bit of a break from that in the sleeker, more iconic design of the green plus sign used for dispensaries, but it's so far removed from the expansively varied aesthetic that surrounded tobacco use for so long that I'm not convinced. There would probably have to be a much larger capitalistic venture behind marijuana before that sort of design effort could be expected.

Anyway, where is art direction and design this small anymore, in a physical sense? (I ask in a grand rhetorical tone, but am genuinely curious as well.) So much of the tiny bits of stuff we consume is hidden behind blank plastic shells. Phone/gadget decals? I hardly think so. What else is tiny and for sale (or for free) these days that offers the blank-canvas opportunity of a matchbook or -box?
posted by carsonb at 4:40 PM on December 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

I think the bars stopped printing personalized matchbooks when it became widely known that the police use those to determine who served/overserved you in the event of an accident.

I think the most ubiquitous new canvases are t-shirts. Hardly the staying power of a really nice lighter.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 4:54 PM on December 20, 2011

Ooh, something for me. Thank you.
posted by bongo_x at 5:21 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you like dead-tree format, look for a copy of Smokerama, which focuses more on accoutrements. Looks like it's out of print, but not scarce yet.

Ephemera used to be so damn pretty.
posted by usonian at 6:43 PM on December 20, 2011

> look for a copy of Smokerama, which focuses more on accoutrements.

I have that book. It's great. In fact, I have a few dozen books on this and related topics, because the vintageness of a lot of these enthusiasts sites are grating less because of their poor organization or charmingly early-web graphics, and more because the images are so small and their quality frequently poor.

Still and all, these sites are valuable simply for logging so many things that would have disappeared entirely otherwise.
posted by ardgedee at 8:16 PM on December 20, 2011

I love a good cigar, and lament the fact that it's become more and more difficult to a) find them in a real, live store; and b) find a good place to enjoy one where no one will bitch about it. There used to be cigar lounges all over where we only bothered other cigar smokers.

I'm also in search of a nice cigar store Indian, but there's seems to be a law that all websites devoted to them be created by actual cigar store Indians.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:42 PM on December 21, 2011

I really like your products, and wondered if you had noticed that many of the old animals look like the old animals used on the old wooden ABC paper litho children's blocks. I know it sounds wierd, the connection from babies to cigarettes. But just maybe the litho company was double dipping the designs?
posted by IraMency at 3:02 PM on January 7, 2012

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