Tobacco

Wacky Wednesday

Welcome to the Wacky Wednesday edition of the American Treasure Tour blog.  It's so wacky, in fact, that it's coming out on a Monday.  Just go with it.  We don't know why either.  Today, we are going to honor a very important item displayed in the Toy Box here at the Tour that VERY few people ever notice.  We feel confident saying that because it's located on a shelf above eye level not especially close to the tram ride tour route.  It's a can.  And it once contained tobacco - something we do not advocate the consumption of (especially for dogs!).  The tobacco was introduced by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in 1907 and remains on the shelves today to people who choose to ignore our admonition that you refrain from using this product.

Prince Albert In A Can.jpg

It's named after the man who would become Kind Edward VII of England (1841 to 1910, King from 1901 until his death), inspired by a portrait of the King given to R.J. himself by none other than Mark Twain.  Of course, you've likely never heard of Edward VII tobacco, and that's because it wasn't called that.  Prior to his ascension to the throne, Edward was affectionately called Prince Albert.  And the product was often sold in a can.  So, if ever you are asked if Prince Albert was ever in a can, you now know that yes, in fact, he was.

Briggs Tobacco

QUESTION:  William C. Briggs invented a number of non-cigarette related items including which of the following?
A)  Tri-focal glasses
B)  Typewriter return carriage
C)  Indoor miniature golf course
D)  Water cooler backpack
ANSWER BELOW

Tobacco is, was, and quite possibly will be one of the most profitable exports to spread from the United States to the rest of the world. The American Treasure Tour blog will not get into the health hazards associated with the cash crop (don't smoke!), but we would like to talk about one man who made his livelihood on tobacco during the early twentieth century: William Cyrus Briggs.  Born in 1861 in Maine, moved south as a young man first to Brooklyn then to North Carolina.  Briggs had a knack for work with machinery, his first invention of note being a cigarette vending machine. That was only the beginning.  Around 1890, he developed a machine that actually rolled cigarettes, something previously done by hand.  It could handle up to 300,000 cigarettes in a day.

Briggs devoted much of his professional life to tobacco. When not working for himself, he was employed by R.J. Reynolds and other producers of tobacco products. The Briggs line of pipe tobacco may or may not be associated with him; but he merits a nod for his innovation at the dawn of the twentieth century.  Briggs died in 1918.  At the time, he was living in Lynchburg, Virginia.  His remains were transported to Turner, Maine, where you can visit him to this day. 

ANSWER:  B)  Typewriter return carriage