Today in History with Eva Halloween

November 21, 1871: Patent #121,049 issued to M. F. Gale for the cigar lighter

black-and-white-cigar-girlNearly a millennium after the Mayans were smoking rolled tobacco, and three centuries after the invention of the first lighters (notoriously made of flint and gunpowder), Moses Gale patented a unique device for the lighting of cigars.  A cigar lighter burns hot and steady, better for lighting the slow-igniting, oily cigar wrapper.

At the time of Gale’s patent, cigars were not only widely smoked in the United States, they were actually manufactured right here, beginning with the enterprising Mrs. Prout of South Windsor, Connecticut, who began hiring neighborhood women to roll locally-grown tobacco into cigars known as “Long Nines” in 1801. Later, Latin manufacturers capitalized on the link between ladies and cigars, notoriously claiming to roll cigars on the thighs of female workers.  The Cohiba brand, launched in 1963, was the first to staff exclusively women cigar rollers.

While women rolled cigars in the 18th century,  society frowned at ladies smoking them (with notable exceptions for artists and prostitutes), and not until the Roaring 20’s did women reclaim the habit. In honor of today’s day in history (and the doughty Mrs. Prout), here’s a whole gallery of cigar-loving ladies.  Enjoy!

  1. Everyone is always making exceptions for prostitutes!

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  2. Chicks smoking cigars is hot. I should know, I’ve done it :)

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  3. I’ve been known to smoke a stogie, will have to see if I can find some pics.

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  4. Another fantastic and informative post, Ms. Halloween. And a most excellent selection of images (though one or two in particular stand out as uniquely captivating.)

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