Tobacco wrappers

Unknown sources for information are the wrappers for tobacco and pipes. Up to the twentieth century the tobacco was cut in the shops and sold in small quantities. The paper bags and wrappers were printed with an advertisement showing emblems related to the product, including the addresses of the shop and the owner's name. Sometimes even the type or brand of tobacco was mentioned.

The majority of these wrappers were thrown away after the use of the contents. Therefore it is difficult to find them nowadays. The study of the emblems unveils the every day, popular iconography related to tobacco. This proves to be remarkably limited.

Most of the emblems were copied directly from the competitors. So we come across thousands of blackamoors, standing cockerels, shop facades, etcetera. Only the most established shop owners, often merchant themselves, initiated their own design of a particular wrapper. In these cases the wood printing block was changed for a copper plate to make a more detailed engraving.

Fashion and style of the time are not really accurately followed, also because of the long period these printing blocks were kept in use. Sometimes the names or addresses were changed, giving more information about tobacco distribution and continuity of the shop.

a popular motive for tobacco wrappers: the three slaves, blackamors or negroes, woodcut, 1700-1750 three tobacco merchants holding a bunch of leaves, woodcut, 1720-1770
Indian with feathers and bow surrounded by tobacco in various forms, woodcut, 1700-1740 this merchant sells both tobacco, illustrated by the snuff jar and spun tobacco, and liquor as shown by the bunch of grapes, Groningen, the Netherlands, 1770-1820
allegory on the tobacco trade, inlcuding the three continents, engraving, Van Oyen, Gouda, the Netherlands, 1740-1760 an emblem with three tobacco merchants between tobacco rolls, Liège, 1850-1900
two tobacco merchants as a symbol of the flourishing tobacco trade, Groningen, 1850-1880
somewhat clumsy  European and smoking blackamor around a tobacco barrel, wood engraving, Norden, North-Germany, 1750-1780
tobacco plant combined with text describing the trade in colonial goods, woodcut and book printing, Groningen, the Netherlands, 1800-1840 a tobacco plant in full bloom depicts the name of the shop, 1800-1850
blooming Calendula  also known as Pot Marigold central in the fan light of the shop, illustrated on the wrapper, Drachten, Frisia, the Netherlands, 1880-1920
a farmer with scythe in a landscape as a tobacco advertisement, Bolsward, the Netherlands, 1850-1900
fine etching of a negro slave sitting on packed tobacco products, a sailing ship on the horizon, etching, the Netherlands, 1760-1800
Mercury symbolizing the flourishing trade surrounded by tobacco products, woodcut and book printing, 1820-1860
an exotic scene with a standing Chinese with long tobacco pipe amidst merchandise, woodcut, the Netherlands, 1800-1830
Madonna with child as the coat of arms of the province of Drenthe between barrels of tobacco, Groningen, the Netherlands, 1830-1860
a crowned woman shepherd sitting between tobacco products, Groningen, the Netherlands,  1850-1900
he standing lion as a heraldic trade mark taken from the sign of the house, woodcut combined with book printing, Groningen, the Netherlands, 1720-1760
a tobacco brand named the harbour porpoise, unmistakenly a gable stone design, 1750-1800
trade mark the arms of Sneek with a variety of tobacco products in the front, etching, the Netherlands, 1770-1820
a jumping horse as a sign for a tobacco shop in a small village in Frisia, Minnertsga, the Netherlands, 1750-1820 the famous tobacco brand the Pinto horse, jumping over various tobacco products, 1760-1820
the illustration of a much older sheep design still in use after 1900, Almelo, the Netherlands, 1900-1940
a standing coquerel, illustration of the family name of the owner of the shop the double pipe in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, 1760-1850
two heraldic symbols, the coat of arms of Holland and that of Amsterdam, showing the origin of this tobacco brand, woodcut, Amsterdam, 1760-1790
the heraldic symbol a lying lion for tobacco, Sneek, the Netherlands, 1820-1860
arms of the province of West-Frisia as trade mark together with the description of the merchandise, wood engraving and book printing, Groningen, the Netherlands, 1800-1840
the arms of Sneek as brand for ordinary pipe tobacco, Sneek, the Netherlands, 1800-1850
beautiful engraved arms of Spain for imported Portorico tobacco, Amsterdam, 1780-1820
a ship as the symbol of flourishing trade, woodcut, Groningen, the Netherlands, 1830-1870
brand the arms of America for tobacco, Deventer, the Netherlands, 1820-1870
the famous brand the Oldenhove, the ancient tower in the centre of Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, 1880-1940
the Amsterdam exchange by the architect Zocher as tobacco brand for a shop in Groningen, 1850-1900
simple black and white label for a tobacco shop in Haarlem, the Netherlands, 1750-1800
mark the sailing boat of the welknown firm Barfoed, Amsterdam, 1850-1900
tobacco brand the tower or golden tower, printing block in wood,1800-1840
a standing negro in the middle of merchandise, sailing ships in the background, woodcut, Sneek, the Netherlands,1800-1840
printed on blue paper showing a standing saint, woodblock, the Netherlands, 1820-1860
two pipe smokers filling their pipe from a tobacco box on the table, Leiden, the Netherlands, engraving, 1810-1830
three snuff jars between two barrels of tobacco rolls, etching, Saint-Omer, 1770-1820, reprint c. 1988
Illustrations on this page from the collections of Amsterdam Pipe Museum
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