Downton's Starring Roll; ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS
Byline: Compiled by Charles Legge
QUESTION A scene from ITV's Downton Abbey has two characters smoking long 'tailor-made' cigarettes. Would these have been available in 1912?
A 'TAILOR-MADE' is slang for a mass-produced, factory-made cigarette. Non-filtered varieties were certainly available in 1912.
The cigarette was given its name in the 1830s, a French adaptation of the Spanish word sigarito a diminutive of cigar, which is itself believed to come from the Maya sicar, 'to smoke rolled tobacco leaves'.
In the 1850s, Turkish leaves were very popular in Russia, and the cigarette was brought to Britain by soldiers returning from the Crimean War. Demand surged, and London tobacconist Philip Morris began to manufacture cigarettes in 1854. But cigarettes were hand-rolled, and even a good roller could produce only three or four a minute. So they were a luxury item.
Then, in 1875, tobacco manufacturer Allan & ginter of Richmond, Virginia, offered a prize of $75,000 for the invention of an automatic rolling machine. Young inventor James Albert Bonsack (1859-1924), of Roanoke, Virginia, took up the challenge and in 1881 filed U.S. Patent no 238,640 for a machine that could produce 120,000 cigarettes in ten hours, instantly revolutionising the cigarette industry.
Smoking became …
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Publication information: Article title: Downton's Starring Roll; ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: Daily Mail (London). Publication date: November 17, 2010. Page number: 58. © 2007 Daily Mail. COPYRIGHT 2010 Gale Group.
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