Cigar Store IndianThe cigar store Indian has an interesting history. Wooden Indians have been displayed at tobacco shops for centuries and depict the Native Indians who introduced tobacco to the rest of the world.

The tradition started during a time when store signs were pictorial because many customers could not read. By the 1800’s the wooden cigar-store Indian figure was kept on the street to lure customers inside a tobacconist’s store.

Vintage Cigar Store Indian Hand Made of Carved WoodHistorically, the wooden cigar store Indians were carved from a single log. They were painted by hand and usually held a bundle of tobacco leaves or cigars in their hand. It is estimated that more than 100,000 carved cigar store Indians were in use by 1900.

A carved Indian became less common at cigar stores during the 20th century for many different reasons. Sidewalk-obstruction laws, high manufacturing costs, restrictions on tobacco advertising and increased racial sensitivity by shops caused them to be removed. Most of the original vintage figures were destroyed. As a result a well preserved antique Indian figure sells for thousands of dollars.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather