TOBACCO. The dried leaves of this plant are now almost universally used as a luxury in all parts of the globe. First used by the American Indians, and carried to Europe as a curiosity by the early discoverers of our continent, it is now cultivated in every quarter of the globe where the climate is mild enough to permit it.
To the grocer tobacco presents itself in two phases—as an article on which a good profit can be made—and as drawing and pleasing a profitable class of customers. It is always a mistake for the grocer to put too high a profit on cigars and tobacco. He should be content with about twenty to twenty-five per cent., and by careful purchasing and moderate selling prices give his cus tomers as full value for their money as any cigar dealer will. The purchase of cigars is not a household expense, but it often falls to the lot of the housekeeper to supply the evening company or to please the returning gentlemen with a thoughtful preparation. As the purchase of cigars, especially in a city grocer's store is an unusual item no effort should be made to supply cheap stock. The best cigars at fair prices will help the grocer while any at tempt to supply the lower grades will attract undesirable custom and drive away the better class.
Tobacco as manufactured may be classed under three heads, smoking, chewing, and snuff. The first is again divided into cigars, and loose smoking tobacco, and chewing into fine cut and plug.
Cigare consist of tobacco leaves rolled into convenient form for smoking. They are made both by hand and by machinery. Their interior consists of loose pieces and as the wrapper covers the whole, a sample cigar should be cut open when purchasing quan tities. If the interior is composed of trashy scraps, or of stalks the quality is of course very low. Havana cigars both on account of their quality and their make have long held the highest repu tation, and from the Spanish market we borrow all our terms for designating the various styles. Madura, means dark—Colorado Claro means light colored. Conchas are short, Regalias long and larger, and Partagas long and slender. Plantation cigars are coarser makes from the country districts.
Loose Smoking Tobacco is generally sold in eighth, quarter, and half-pound muslin bags and varies very much in quality. The
Durham brand of Wm. Blackwell and Co., leads the world in quality.
Chewing Tobacco was generally used in a fine cut form and every effort was made to render it attractive, but of late years plug tobacco has almost supplanted it.
The Chicago Leaf says : One among the most marked causes for this is that, the attention of leading manufacturers and dealers has of late been given to this preparation of the very finest and delicious plug for the trade and consumers. They have sought out the choicest material, and through their genius, have made such combinations as to make an entirely different article from those formerly known as plug. The plug tobaccos of ten years ago, and those of to-day are totally unlike and could be hardly called by the same terms. The improvement has been marvellous in plug tobacco.
In the manufacture of Plug Tobacco, the first factory process is that of stemming. It is then taken into another building, where, at the top story, the apparatus is placed for sweetening, spicing, etc., consis'ting of large copper kettles containing syrup in one, granulated sugar and water in another, while a third one has a sweetened syrup, which has within it cloves, allspice, and various other spices of aromatic nature which are used for different grades of tobacco. Another tank has a solution of licorice and water, and various ingredients such as are necessary to give the proper taste and color to the tobacco. The tobacco is here taken, after having been stemmed and dipped into the solutions, which may contain one, two, or more of the various ingredients in use, accord ing to what the tobacco is to be when finished. This solution is hot. After baying been dipped it is passed through a pair of squeeze rolls, which allow only a certain amount of solution to be held by the leaf. This is process No. 2, and is what is technically called sweetening. It is then taken from the rolls, put in large baskets and run into the dry-rooms, which are fitted up with a large number of steam pipes. The tobacco is hung in such a way that the air may have free circulation about it, and it is here com pletely possible. This is process No. 3, or drying out.