Puffs of Wisdom.

Circa 1882 bit of tobacciana advertising puffery; with a fair amount of Wall Street investment advice

Advertising pamphlet for P. Lorrilard & Co. tobacco in the form of a vade mecum or pocket reference book with practical business information and sound advice on Wall Street stock market investing.

Directed squarely at the male customers tobacco of Jersey City, New Jersey’s P. Lorrilard & Co., the pamphlet combines descriptions of the company’s pipe, cigarette, and chewing tobacco and snuff (on the versos) with statistical data on the United States, advice on investing in the stock market, and a “Dictionary of Wall Street Terms” (on the opposite pages).

Skillful marketers, P.Lorrilard & Co. describes over 10 tobacco products, each with a proprietary name. Most descriptions are accompanied by an illustrated circular vignette and, in some instances, descriptions of their superior packaging—both, perhaps, attempts to inculcate brand loyalty. For example:

[Vignette drawing of woman at fountain] The CLIMAX brand represents our highest grade of Plug Tobacco. It is distinguished by a lithographed Red Tin Tag bearing copy of our signature. It is made of the very choicest stock to be obtained, in the best possible manner. Its popular appreciation is evident from the fact that it is more largely used and better known than any other. It is sold in ROUGH and READY style as well as the smooth pressed, or hard finished. (p2)

[Vignette drawing of the god Mercury with a cherub dropping coins over a city] BULLION is our regular Bright grade of Plug Chewing Tobacco; has bright wrapper, red or white filler, and Blue Tin Tag. This grade is extra smooth pressed, and the most thorough, complete and elaborate processes, involving the use the very latest improvements in machinery (including many invented and controlled by ourselves) secure the greatest uniformity and cleanliness. NICKEL NUGGETS represents a style of Plug recently patented by us. In place of the ordinary tobacco wrapper, so often dry and bitter, pure tin foil and prepared paper are substituted. (p4)

The advice on speculation in stocks comprises only two pages, but includes several nuggets of wisdom:

1. Don’t. ... 7. If you get a sure point to buy anything, leave it alone. Beware of Colonel Sellers after he has been talking it over with Senator Dilworthy. 8. Do not stand over the indicator in saloons or hotels; you might be attacked by tickerosis, which is incurable. 9. if you cannot sleep at night on account of your stock operations, so out promptly the next morning and swear all. You’re not the material out of which successful speculators are many.

The reader also learns the definitions for a call, a cover, a long, a margin, a point, a short, a spread, and a straddle.

Diminutive pocket guide to tobacco products from P. Lorrilard & Co. with brief,humorous advice on investing in the stock market of the 1880s. The color of the green ink chosen very much reminds us of the color of money.

Description: Puffs of Wisdom.

New York: Patterson, 27 Park Row (1882). 16pp. Pamphlet. 3¾ x 2½ inches. Pictorial wrappers; stitched. Cream-colored paper; printed in green and black ink. Near Fine.


OCLC, NYPL only.

Price: $125.00

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