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Lorillard

Massachusetts & Tobacco A Chapter in America's Industrial Growth

Date: 19710000/P
Length: 35 pages
04301917-04301951
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Fields

Alias
04301917/04301951
Type
PAMP, PAMPHLET
PHOT, PHOTOGRAPH
Area
LIBRARY/SUBJECT BOXES
Named Organization
Antitobacco Depository
Boston Courant
Cigar Inst
Cigar Mfg Assn
Colonial Society of Ma
Coordinator
Ct Agricultural College
Ct Ma Tobacco Cooperative
General Court of the Colony
Holyoke
Internal Revenue Service
Ma Dept of Commerce
Ma Historical Society
Natl Assn of Tobacco Distributors
New England Tobacco Growers Assn
Proceedings
Shade Growers Agricultural Assn
Smith College
Storrs Ma Agricultural Experiment S
Supreme Judicial Court of Ma
Tobacco Merchants Assn of the US
Ttc, Tobacco Tax Council
Univ of Ma
Usda, U.S. Dept of Agriculture
US Dept of Commerce
Agricultural Marketing Service
Site
G39
Named Person
Baer, W.N.
Colby, W.G.
Dodge, J.R.
Dwight, J.
Hart, A.B.
Hendrickson, C.I.
Johnson, C.
Killebrew, J.B.
Ramsey, E.
Sheldon, G.
Shurtleff, N.
Smith, J.
Stauffer, W.
Sturges, W.
Temple, J.H.
Trask, G.
Underhill, J.
Weeden, W.B.
Williams, R.
Winthrop, J.
Request
R1-037
Author (Organization)
TI, Tobacco Inst
Litigation
Stmn/Produced
Date Loaded
05 Jun 1998
UCSF Legacy ID
rpc51e00

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C' .~ W. n 1~+ ~ M QO
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UL Massachusetts and Tobacco mong, the Pilgrims who left England in~ late summer, 1620, were men long, accustomed to srnoking. They canried' with them, an assortment of English-made pipes and enough, Viuginia, tobacco to last out'e the voyage.It never occurredl to them to store a supply of curedl leaf in the Mayflower's hold. Their destination was Vir- g}nia where fuel for their gipes could be had almost for the asking. Bkzt contrary winds blew them far o$' their course. Their landfall was 500 rniles north of where they had hoped to drop anchor-a mainland site that Captain John Smith had named' Plymouth during his 1614: ex- plorat!ion.. . I
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lrhe smokers among these English pioneers ~ had run out of tobacco~ . by then. Landing in~ the, wrong placeine a harsh winter was bad! enough; to be wit'houtl the crea.- ture! comfort of tobacco made their condition seem even worse. It was ~ a relief to them, therefore, when they saw Massachusetts Indians who were smoking.'I1he relief'. ended quickly when they tried the native tobacco for that, type,, an ancient plant in North, Americas was far too harsh for pal'ate& accustomed to the sweet.-scented leaf of Virginia. The first orders for supplies fromi England included a reqpiest that lnadi the urgency of a plea: "Send us `V'iir- giniaL"'Meanwliile, smokers had to~ do: . with an occa- sional! pipeful, of the uncured native leaf which, as was reported,, "they much, disliked."' As soon as they could, a number of the settlers began tol plant tobacco. It was their hope that civilized cultivation~ and curing,, as then understood, would improve the aboriginal' type. Not much could' be d'one„ however, to reduce its pungency,, though settlers in various eastern sections stubbornly continued the culture on small' acreages. The farming of tobacco in Massachusetts was, there- fore, much earlier than is generally known. It was to, take time, more than two centuries after the Pilgrims landed, before leaf of good qual'ity could' be producedl in Massa- chusetts. VG'hen that did occur, production was concen- trated in a stretch of the long,, winding valley through which the~ Connecti~cut Riiverfilbws. 2
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TalBACCG II'rJ . MASSACHUSETTS TODAY The VaUey tobaccas The agriculture of tobaccol ini the' Bay State is insep- arably linked' with that of Connecticut. Forovera hun-dred years excell'ent cigar leaf has been produced in the Massachusetts section of "Tobacco Valley." It is the chief crop in, some parts of Hampden„ Hampshire and Franklin, the producing counties. Only cigar-leaf'types are farmed': slhad6-gnown and!Connecticut Havana Seed. The first, long known as Connecticut Valley shade- grown, provides, wrapper 1'eaf used for cigars. InIS70 Hacana Seed,tobacco ready for harvesting Courtesy Conn-Mass Tobacco Cooperative 3'
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tlie: harvests of this type, produced on 1,800.~ acres, to- taled' about 2.55 million pounds. Havana Seed~ essentially a cigar-binder type, laadi a crop totall in 1970' of 800;000, pounds. Havana Seed has for some time beeni eligible for government price support. Under the system of federal marketiing,quotas; 216'allotmenits for a total acreage of 1,355 were granted in 1970. In that year well! under half the available acre - age was used.. A tliirdl type, though very muuch, ia the background fortliepast severall decades,, requires~ mention. ThisisBroadleaf; cllassified' a6 a binder type. Its leaves were occasionally used for fillersrtlie core of a cigar-and, imi its best grades, for wrappers. Broad'leaf was never irYi large-scal'e production in Massacliusetts though long a crop of the Connecticut areas of' the Valley. B uyeas arudi tEc1lmologists There is a wide spreadi in the cash value of shade- grown wrapper and Havana Seed binder leaf. The 19700 crops! of the thin, elastic, silken wrapper leaf brought $1'0,4 millions a yield of about $4,100 an acre. The farm- sales price oftl7iis tobacco; around $3'.16a pound in1970; is frequently well bel'ow wbat a cigar manufacturer may have to, pay for it. Labor; storage, transportation and' other costs sometimes bring the price~ of the best wrap- per leaf to $7.00 al pound. Massacliusetts=grown Havana Seed earned a total of $480,000 for the 1970 crop, a little over 60 cents a pound. The Connecticut Valley types are regarded as "the cream of the binder crops." Binder leaf is used to shape and hold the filler of a cigar. In its cured state natural 1'eaf lias elasticity, is aromatic, and has good burning quality. A portion of hest leaves still goes into' binders- 4
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W some of the! finest are used as wrappers-but, for the most part, binders now come fnornreconstittiited tobacco slieets.. This is: result of a technological development, per- fected about a dozen years ago: The process takes sound t'obacco, much of it formerly impractical for use in cigars, and converts it into a flat sheet fromi wbiclh binders of correct size are cut: Natural binder types; according to the Department of Agriculture, go princi= pally into a form of chewing t'obaccoL A considerable part of Connecticut Valley binder leaf has been ex- ported annually. Tobacco accounted for around 6 per- cent of the cash receipts: Massachusetts field crops in 1970. Nati.ure's aides Making a crop of tobacco, any tobacco, means a routine of exacting labor that takes most of each year.. W1ko1efamiliesarefrequentlyinvolved irr~ the prepara- tion of fields, cultivatlion„ harvesting, curing, and pack- ing for delivery to warehouses: On manyfarms there wil.ll be other, crops as well, together with: dairying and care of livestock. For the most part binder tobacco farms in Massachu- setts are small, the average being four or five acres. The plants of the binder type, variously referred to as "out- d'oor," "open field," or "sun-grown,,"are ciut d'own; stalk and all, wheni mature.Tfiestalksarethen speared onto sticks in groups of five or six plants, and af't'erlyiirg on tTnegroui7d long enough, towil't, are removed to barns for air curing. 5
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Tok`iacea specialty The shade-grown type puts the greatest strain on a farmer's strengtlr andl patience. No product of the fields makes greater demands on: growers. The intensive rou- tines of cnlture; lhaivestisig and curing,expl'ain why thee costl ofl producing an acre of wrapper leaf averages about'. $4,500. Growers of this type always hope to produce flawless leaf, for manufacturers' buyers want wrapperss free of imperfections. As a practical stepi in reducing' costs, farms of'sbade-grown t'obacco: are combined and~ cover anywhere from sixty to a hundred acres. TYLe sheltered leaf The skill of the band controls most of the operations associated with wrapper tohacco. Earll~y in April,, seed'ss are sown under glass-covered' cold frames in soil that has beeni sterilized by steam or clhemicals. Nature is abundantly generous in the productivityo£tl7etinytobacco seeds; one ounce contains 300;000, seeds, capa- ble of producing ry50;000 pounds of tobacco on 200 acres if all tlhe seeds are planted. When the seedlingss are ready for transplanting, they are hand set by twoo to six workers seated behind a planting machine. The largest of these mechanisms makes it possible to set out five t'o seven acres a day. The tobacco fields are covered by flat-top! "£ents" of loosely woven cotton cloth, about 5;000 square yards being required for eaclY, acre: 5iipplied in 400-inch strips;tl're cloth is hand sewn to wires stretched from the tops f
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a of 50 wooden poles, eight feetl above the ground and arranged 33 feet apart from each other in! any direction. The exceptional' labor represented by the erection of miles of cloth screening is an annual, and uznavoid'ab1e; routine. Tlie, covering provides, wrapper leafl with; neces- sary protection from the sun's direct heat and heavy winds„ and-tliough to a lesser degree-some defense against temperature changes and hungry insects which like their tobacco ~ raw. The consequent humidity within, the tents approxi7nat'es the tropical atmosphere of the East Indies;, long the major source of fine wrapper leaf. Shade-grown tobacco develops a stalk that' frequently grows as high as; the ceiling cover. Curiously enough, this type does notl take deep root despite its height and the weight of its leaves. As an added protection against heavy wind and rain it is occasionally necessary to sup- port the young plants with strings attached to overhead wires. Hand-pickect harvesters As the leaves mature each is most carefully removed by hand. This tedious "prirniing" begins with two, or four bottom, leaves, the first to ripen. The plants of each field will be~primed five to seven times. The harvesting is ordinarily carried olitl by thousands of young men, of slender build. Workers of this physique are neededi for_ they can move between the rows of plants without brushing against, and possibl'y bruising, the delicate leaves. Placed in canvas~ baskets, the leaves are trans- ported to curiing sheds for drying, a process that takes from six to eight weeks:, 7
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"Ptiming" leaaes of shade-grown tobacco Courtesy Cigar Institute of! America. Taiili and itrauble. Once their harvests are in, farrners knock down their tents. The ceilling cIoths of single thickness, now affected by sun and weather, must be renewed each, spring. Several thicknesses of' this cloth will make the side-walls of next year's tents: Throughout a good part of each season farmers live with the reality that weather andl other, elements of na- ture can be unpredictable. Ifs, in one season, nature is cooperative; iini another it' may bring ruin to a tobacco 8 .Ar
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grower's efforts.Under the cloth coverings he will' be engaged in daily warfare against insect pests and pl'antt diseases. Even while that continual battl'e is under way, the farmer may lose his carefully constructed tentt or find it seriously damaged by summer hailstones, by a freakk wind that will' tear it apart or, most dangerous, by acci- dental fire. Attempts have been made to eliminate, or at least re- duce; d'amage from wind' andi fire. Plastic mat'erials, fire- resistantl cloth and!other fabrics have beeni experimented williL The search has not resulted, in an acceptable ma- terial' of reasonable cost but the search goes on. Sewiryg, stripping, selling H'arvested shade-grown leaves ready for curing in barns are threaded through each base in pairs of 15 to 122 -front to, front, back to back-and'' then strung on aa wooden lath. This sewing, by hand or by hand'-feeding onto automatic sewing equipment, is usually done by young women from high schools and colleges during their summer vacations. These occasionai' workers in- crease the~ farrmpopul'at'ionm of Massaclhusettsbyseverals thousand. During the curingperiod' of a month or more, hea~t will frequently beusedwithini the barns to main- tain ai favorable temperature: The leaves will' be taken downwhen~humidweat'lier hasrestored~theirpliability. They are then "in order." Following a long.-established tradition, binder leaf is bought at farmers' barns when stripped from its stalks. There will'be different prices paid for it;, leaf suitable for cigars will' obviously commandi higher prices thani those of the "st'emming, grades;"' intended for scrap chewing tobacco. (The latter phrase is~anInten7al R'~evenueS~~erv- ice classification. TtreferstofiragIlientsof good' leaEsui'tabie for use in chewing-sometimes smoking-tobac- ~

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