Al Malpa Ephemera


c 1880s Business Card - Binghamton Cigar Company

c 1880s Business Card - Binghamton Cigar Company


Printed on this business card, probably mid 1880s, is Reynolds Rogers & Co. , Wholesale Cigar Manufacturers, Binghamton, N.Y.

Someone later, with a red pen, crossed out the “Co.” and added “Lay.” And indeed, Mr. Lay was added to the company name in the late 1880s or 1890s.

The engraving of the Reynolds & Rogers building shows railroad tracks directly in front of the building. The engraving was by J.H. Warner, N.Y.

Names along the bottom of the front: G.T. Rogers. F.B. Reynolds. F.E. Lay

The company was started in 1880 as Reynolds, Rogers & Co. by G. Tracy Rogers and Frank B. Reynolds. Then, Frank E. Lay was hired as a junior member of the company and the name changed sometime after.

From Press Connects, 2014: “While this region was poor for the growing of tobacco, it was ripe for the burgeoning cigar industry. One by one, factories opened using unskilled labor that made cigars mostly by hand. By 1900, there were 70 factories employing 5,000 workers and turning out 100 million cigars each year. Two thousand, or 40 percent, of the workforce were women, and Binghamton ranked No. 2 in the country for the manufacture of cigars. This area was only beaten by New York City for the top position. Cigars ranked as our leading industry from about 1875 to 1910. The industry would eventually disappear by the 1920s with the introduction of automation and the emergence of cigarettes as our preferred tobacco product.”

On the back of the card are pencilled notes, dated May 9 1890.

Condition: Excellent. Red ink writing in top corners of the front, plus the corrected “Lay.” Some very light soiling. Size 5.0 x 3.0 inches.


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