Soon after the American Civil War, people started moving around and settling their own small communities all over the country. Most of these settlements were far away from the big cities. So each small town needed a doctors office, and maybe a dentist, a blacksmith, a veterinarian, and of course food and drinking establishments. But, also arose a need for people supplies. Small general stores sprang up everywhere. The store was a place that anybody could get just about anything they needed. They sold grain & horse medicine, thread & cookware, tobacco & coffee, stoves & boots, guns & ammo. Just about everything people needed to survive during that rugged time in history. And very often, it also served as the local post office, and a meeting place to exchange town gossip, and play a game of checkers. It truly was an important place. |
Today it has become a passion for many people to try to restore and preserve those old stores. Or at least some of the pieces that made them special. Many of the floor counters, display cases, fixtures and shelving can still be located. And all the different things that sat on those shelves have become quite popular to collect. Baking soda containers, tobacco tins, shaving brushes, medicine bottles, food containers and so much more I'd need 5 more pages to list it all. And all the advertising pieces that promoted the products. Tins signs, porcelain signs, paper signs and counter top die cut ads that stood up or laid flat are fun to find and display. Everything from posters, to figurals, to coffee grinders can add so much fun and color to a game room or den or kitchen. Over the last few years dye cabinets, vet cabinets and especially spool cabinets have become extremely popular with beginning and advanced collectors. And there are so many things still out there that collectively made up the country store. Each one more colorful and creative than the next. Every item a piece of American history.
Each piece also had to be exciting. There was no TV to advertise the product. No radio or billboards. No flashy colored flyers in your mail everyday. Newspaper and magazines were few and far between. So they needed to get your attention by making their products more attractive than the one next to it. They also offered ornate and exotic display pieces to help the merchant sell their products. Most companies begged for valuable wall space to display posters and signs of all shapes and sizes to promote their lines and products. Each was more beautiful than the next. A far cry from today's white generic boxes, blue light specials and plastic end cap displays.
Some collectors choose one area that appeals to them. We'll use tobacco for an example. If you wanted to collect tobacco oriented products. You could collect tobacco packs, or string bags, or flat pockets, or cigar tins, or tobacco tins, or upright pocket tins, or humidors, or cigar bands, or ash trays, or tobacco cutters, or cigar boxes, or cigarette packs, or cigarette rolling papers, or ......
I think you see my point, there's plenty to choose from. And every collecting area of antique advertising has that many different things to pick from. You could choose a certain brand name or maker. Or just save it all. Take a little bit of each, and put one of those old country stores back together again. It will be one of the most rewarding and educational experiences of your life. But be forewarned! This hobby is very addictive. And contagious within a household.
Find that first piece. It will look great on the shelf in the game room. Then you'll find a couple more pieces. Soon, that shelf is stuffed with little pieces of history. Next thing you know, you're fixing up the basement because you've run out of room upstairs. Some people even buy old buildings and restore them into a country store. Let your pocket book be your guide. But one thing is for sure. If you start by buying quality pieces, and continue to buy the best things you can find, the value of your collection will grow faster than money in the bank. It's been proven over the last 20 years that quality antiques and collectibles have had a better return on investment than stocks, bonds & CD's. Now I don't know about you, but I would rather stare at 3 or 4 beautiful turn-of-the-century tobacco tins or even a spool cabinet than any bank statement.
For more information on country store and all other antique advertising contact:
P. O. Box 5851
Elgin, IL 60123
Lucky Strike was founded by R.A. Patterson in Richmond, Va. in 1871. He used the name Lucky Strike in reference to the Gold Rush days. He manufactured several types of tobacco products and offered them in tins of different sizes and shapes. Everything that would appeal to the tobacco user of the time. In 1903, Mr. Patterson sold Lucky Strike to W.T. Blackwell & Company of Durham, NC. Two years later, in 1905, the American Tobacco Company acquired the stock. After that period, Lucky Strike tins had "R.A. Patterson Tobacco Co. Rich'd Va." in the outer circle of the Lucky bulls-eye, and "American Tobacco Company, Successor" stamped on the side. Then in 1917, they removed the Patterson name, added "It's Toasted", and introduced the new Lucky Strike logo to their tins. They also used the new logo to start a new cigarette brand to compete with other popular brands of the day. Luckies were marketed in the same green pack until 1940. These are the packs you see with the word Cigarettes written in large gold letters under the red bulls-eye, taller on the ends and shorter in the middle.|
The American Tobacco Company started a new ad campaign in 1944, "Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco". The L.S./M.F.T was added to every pack. This slogan was so popular, it was never eliminated from the pack and is still on the Lucky Strike cigarette packs sold today.
When the ATC ran it's promotional "Lucky Strike green goes off to war", not only did they change the color of the cigarette packs, but they also changed the color of their tobacco tins. Every Lucky Strike container had gone to plain white, but kept the familiar bright red Lucky bulls-eye. Some items where even packaged in white cardboard to save metal for the war effort. New tin packaging was introduced after the war, then due to much competition and a decline in popularity, all tobacco products were discontinued about 1954, with the lone exception of Lucky Strike cigarettes.
In 1986 they made a commemorative pack of green Luckies for 70 years of production.
They closed the original plant in 1987.