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long experience, good judgment, acquaintance with the markets and with the tastes of the consumers. Two weeks are required from the time the tobacco goes into the factory until it comes out in the form of cigarettes.
THE MAKING OF CIGARS.
This is "easy enough when you know how," but as has been stated (Pages 71-75), the ins and outs of making cigars are to be learned only by practical experience. The selection of the qualities of leaf for the different parts of the cigar requires a peculiar combination of experience, knowledge and taste, that brings to its happy possessor a large salary in the great cigar factories. The leaf, or part of it for the cigar, is often treated with sauces, or special preparations, to improve its quality, to hide its inferiorities, or to suit certain tastes. It must also be properly moistened to work nicely. In Havana, Catalan wine is sometimes put in the water in which fillers are immersed, to improve the quality.
The regulations of the internal revenue bureau impose strict accountability upon cigar makers, as well as upon manufacturers of other leaf, for all of the tobacco they use. Evasion of these rules is heavily punished, and the system has been reduced to an almost perfect state, to secure the utmost amount of revenue from the taxes imposed, with the least interference with the trade, or inconvenience to manufacturers. The maker of cigars has to conform to government rules, and this involves certain restrictions. The government even limits the number of pounds of cigar leaf required for certain purposes, and every bit of leaves, stems, waste, etc., must be accounted for. The allowance is 25 pounds of wrappers, binders and fillers for 1000 cigars. The way in which this quantity is divided varies according to the kind of cigars made and quality of product. Two pounds of the very finest quality of Sumatran leaf has wrapped 1000 five-inch, handmade cigars, and four or five pounds finest quality domestic seedleaf, but a less amount is required to wrap form-made cigars. An experienced manufacturer estimates as a fair average four pounds wrappers, nine pounds binders and twelve pounds fillers to make 1000 cigars of ordinary size and good quality; another says five, eight and twelve pounds respectively, and still another, seven, seven and eleven pounds.
Machinery has already invaded the field of cigar manufacture. At present, however, only about 12 per cent of the cigar factories of the United States are sufficiently large to profitably employ the most modern method of machinery. In Europe, still fewer factories are of sufficient size to warrant the investment necessary in a machine plant, except in the Regie countries. The history of the development of the application of machinery to cigar making is full of interest. The suction roller table has, to a certain extent, revolutionized cigar manufacture, and, at the present time, it is claimed that about one-fifth of the cigars made in the United States are rolled upon it. Many of the cheap cigars are made in the larger factories, either throughout or in part, by machinery. One of the most useful and most common is the stripping machine, which contains a small round knife that cuts the stem out clean, without tearing the leaf. Space forbids a detailed description of the various machines employed. Even the details of cigar making by hand, vary with different workmen and in different factories, but the bulk of the cigars consumed in the United States are still made by hand or form. Cigar makers are thoroughly organized and obtain excellent wages. The handmade method of cigar manufacture is about as follows:
Casing.—When the manufacturer opens the one or more cases, or bales, of tobacco he has purchased to carry on his business, he finds the contents very dry and breakable. This dry tobacco has to be carefully taken out, as needed, piece by piece, shaken gently to separate the leaves, dipped thoroughly in a tub of water and removed, or well drenched with a sprinkling pot, and left to "draw" over night. It is then moist and pliable, and ready for stripping.
Stripping.—This is done mostly by girls and women, and consists in stemming and booking. The worker is given a quantity of tobacco, and she first takes the system out of each leaf and puts the divided leaf in a little pile. Then, when she thinks she has enough stemmed tobacco, say for a pad, she smooths out over her knee, or books, each piece, and when she has enough for a pad (the weight may or may not be defined), she doubles the smoothed-out pile over once and ties it up, and this tied-up bunch is the pad. Of course, the wrapper stripper is given the finest and most costly tobacco, that which is to be used for the outside of the cigar, and as even this contains a good deal of inferior leaf, she must throw aside such into the binder pile, and it is included by the binder stripper in the binder-leaf tobacco that has been given her to strip. Sometimes there is a leaf selector, who does nothing but sort out the inferior leaf from the unstemmed wrappers, and then the wrapper stripper does not have to stop to do any sorting herself. It is only the expert stripper, she who has the best and most practical understanding of the kind of leaf requisite for wrapping cigars, and who has the delicacy of touch and the trained eye for color to enable her to make a quick decision of the unsuitability for wrappers of the leaf she handles, who is accepted as a wrapper stripper, and she, of course, is given higher wages than the handler of binders and fillers. The fillers are partly stemmed and thrown carelessly into a pile, except the finer grades, which are more often booked. The fillers
that are not booked sometimes get too dry for use, when they are moistened, and also often treated with a flavoring preparation.
Preparing for Work.—The workman sits at a table, which contains a drawer for waste, and on which is placed a rack for holding the cigars he makes; he has also, attached to his table, a "board" of some hard material, on which he rolls his cigars, a stationary knife (tuck cutter) for cutting them off the desired length, a box of gum tragacanth colored with licorice to make it of the color of tobacco, with which he pastes the ends of tobacco around the tip or head of the cigar, and a smaller knife to cut the leaf. At his side is a box of fillers. On the table at the left is a pad of wrappers, unbound, and covered over with a damp cloth, and in front a pad of binders. He is now ready to go to work.
The Making of Handmade Cigars.—The workman takes a wrapper leaf from under the cloth at his left, spreads it out on his board, and cuts it into one, two or three wrappers (remember, that what is now called the leaf is but half of the original leaf, since the middle stem has been taken out). If this leaf (that is, half leaf) is very fine, he can, perhaps, cut three wrappers, but generally this is not done, as the veins are likely to get too thick as you get down to the butt of the leaf, and it will not do to have the thick veins show on the cigar covering. Sometimes, in large factories, the Sumatra is divided into three parts, No. 1, 2 and 3. If the workman gets a pad marked No. 1, he knows he is expected to get one wrapper out of each leaf; No. 2 requires two wrappers, and from No. 3 he is expected to cut three wrappers. The wrapper being cut into, say, two pieces, the workman lays them to one side, throwing what is left into his drawer. Next, he takes a binder, lays it on the board, breaks it into a large and small piece, throws the bits not wanted into the drawer, then