Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday Fotos (February 1, 2013) -- Do You Know What This Is??

What is this???

In the days before cigarettes became popular, cigars were all the rage.  And quality cigars were branded and distinguished from stogies by an often colorful silk band or wrapper.  The silk bands were actually used to wrap bundles of cigars.  

Well, bands of such fine material and color could not just be thrown away (especially by famously frugal New England yankees), and so it became fashionable to hand-sew the bands into table covers, scarves, bandanas, kerchiefs, pillow covers and even large quilts.  [See a cigar band quilt here] 

As can be seen in the foto at the top, the bands from a number of cigar manufacturers are used to make the bandana-size piece.  What might not be obvious immediately is that many of the bands used in the piece above are from New England cigar manufacturers/merchants.   My cousin, who lives in New England, owns the piece pictured above.  It is probably from the period of the late 1800s to 1910 or so when cigars were hugely popular in the U.S. and, it has been estimated, about 80% of American men smoked cigars.  You can see a similar-sized New England silk cigar band piece here and get some idea of the value of these Victorian era works of art.  

Does anyone else have examples of these colorful works of art in their families?  If so, please post and link to your photos so we can enjoy more of these. 
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew

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