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3. The tobacco suitable for the more northern parts of Africa should consist of a light or piebald leaf, not so long as classes one and two, and packed in hogsheads of medium size, weighing not more than 1450 pounds gross.
Tobacco for the African market is often packed in boxes or quarter hogsheads, which will hold from 300 to 400 pounds gross, by hard prizing. Tobacco thus prepared is more subject to atmospheric influences than when prized in hogsheads.
Most of the tobacco which finds its way to the African markets is put up by rehandlers in this country, but there is a fair proportion of leaf of suitable quality and handling put up by farmers, which is taken usually by Boston merchants, who send cargoes of various articles to the African coast. It requires 3000 hogsheads to supply the African demand for the tobacco grown in the United States.
Shippers for Mexico, South America and the West Indies.—The baling wrapper is a heavy leaf, twenty-eight to thirty inches in length, of fair width, very fat and oily, of heavy texture and of a very dark color. A necessary requirement of this class is float it should be neatly tied in small bundles, strongly and carefully packed in casks, and moderately pressed. It is put up as a wrapper leaf in preparing stock for the trade of the several markets named. It is taken from the hogshead, after fermentation, and packed in bales weighing from one hundred to two hundred pounds. These bales are covered with a cloth. They are so prepared that two bales may be balanced across the back of a pack mule, for convenience of transportation over the mountainous regions in the districts in which the tobacco is consumed.
Baling fillers are made of common, rich and heavy leaf, and fine lugs of heavy body, having a full supply of oils and fatness. Some of the exports to the West Indies are called "black fats," and are made dark by heavy pressure and the application of water.
Nondescript Tobacco.—This name applied to tobacco indicates that it cannot be classified. It has the merit of cheapness, and in times of scarcity of some welldefined type, a nondescript variety, resembling it, is often substituted. The lowest and commonest grades of lugs, especially if air cured, like the trash of the White Burley, are often used in the United States for making the cheapest grades of pipe-smoking tobacco. Sometimes systems are mixed with them to increase the bulk and reduce the cost. The lowest qualities of lugs and nondescript are also sometimes used for making sheep wash.
Stems, or midribs, are exported in considerable quantities to Germany and Sweden, and are used in the manufacture of cheap grades of snuff and chewing tobacco. They are also extensively used in the United States for the protection of fruit trees from the borer and other insect enemies. Stems for exportation are prized in a very dry condition, so as to save duty. Sweden uses about 2000 hogsheads of stems annually. The net weight of a hogshead averages from 1800 pounds to 2000 pounds.
CIGAR AND SMOKING TOBACCO.
Havana Seed or Seedleaf.—Both varieties are assorted by the cigar manufacturer in practically the same manner. Seedleaf is used mostly as a binder. Comparatively little can be used for wrappers, as the leaf is too rough, and its growth is not fine enough. Some manufacturers, however, still cling to seedleaf wrappers, and choice crops of this variety command a premium. The leaf from all varieties of cigar tobacco is assorted for manufacturers' use into grades of leaf called wrap pers, binders and fillers. These three grades are each again subdivided into long and short grades, or into A and B grades, and sometimes even into C and D. Short wrappers are not infrequently known as "lights." On the growing tobacco plant, the top and bottom leaves are of about the same size, the extremes of each being worthless. On the other hand, the cream of the plant is found in the leaves at the center of the plant. Between the center leaves, or wrappers, and the end, or small, leaves, are the binders, while the end leaves, those from the bud to the upper binders, and from the taproot to the lower binder leaves, are the fillers.
The innermost tobacco in the cigar is the filler, the next leaf used is the binder, to keep the filler in the form or shape of a cigar, and the finishing or outside leaf is the wrapper.
In buying cigar leaf, the manufacturer looks for • the right burn, taste, texture, color, "feeling," general appearance and "strength." The views of different manufacturers on each of these points may vary widely. No hard and fast rule can be laid down as to precisely the degree of each of these qualities that the majority of cigar manufacturers require. Moreover, the style, or fashion, in cigars frequently changes, while the whims, or demands of smokers are almost as varied as the number of these individuals. Formerly, dark, coarse and strong-flavored cigars were the favorite, but now the general preference is for light colors and sweeter flavors. Still, many smokers want dark cigars of strong flavor. No one can tell when the fashion will change.
The old style of assorting cigars, as to color, was to make them up without assortment of the wrapper leaf before wrapping. After the cigars were made, they were asserted to six colors. With improvement in all lines of manufacturing, a finer ranging of colors was believed possible, so that in recent years, manufacturers open each hand of wrapper tobacco and assert it to the six colors. These are called,
Claro, very light brown.
Colorado Claro, light brown.
Colorado Maduro, dark brown.
Oscuro, black. Of the latter, but little, if any, has been used for years.
The cigars are wrapped with the above shadings, and each lot is kept by itself. As a leaf varies in color at opposite ends, a second assortment, this time of the cigars, is made. This is essential, as the tip of a leaf may be of a Colorado color, while the stalk end may be a Maduro. As finally placed in the box, the colors are so arranged by shadings that only an expert will notice any difference of shades in the same box among the finer grades of cigars.
Large manufacturers nearly always manipulate leaf, more or less, after its purchase, for their particular needs. They will take a crop and sweat it over again during a season, and by regulating the heat and temperature, the leaf will come out two or three shades darker. This can be done by the experienced shop foreman, nearly to a certainty, every time. On the other hand, no process has, as yet, been devised for changing a leaf to a lighter color; to the man discovering such a process awaits an immense fortune.
As used in the cigar, binders may be a shade lighter than the wrapper, but binders are never put through the six-color assortment, as are wrappers. Binders are assorted into grades of sweetness and strength.
The filler has much the same assortment; it is the filler that makes the cigar; that is, produces the taste,