Growth and Transition
The R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, a small-scale manufacturing unit in 1888, became, during the ensuing decade, an outstanding producer of southern flat-plug chewing tobacco, though by no means the only one. Numerous factors effected this transformation, one of the most important being the improvement of transportation facilities, which gave Winston connections with the Norfolk and Western Railway and freed it from domination by the Richmond and Danville railway system. R. J. Reynolds took an active part in furthering these developments, which led to the expansion not only of his company but also of tobacco manufacturing interests in Winston as a whole. With new sales opportunities available after the development of wider transportation facilities, Reynolds enlarged his plant, began advertising in a systematic manner, and established a sales department. The company also adopted improved machinery and made drastic revisions in its manufacturing processes so that its production increased virtually 400 percent from 1892 to 1898. Basic to these changes was the building of the Roanoke and Southern Railway.
The Salem Branch Line gave Winston its first badly needed railway connections, although it also opened the way for the Richmond and Danville railway system (later the Southern Railway) to enter the town. Thereafter further efforts to expand transportation facilities for the town met opposition from the Richmond and Danville system. R. J. Reynolds played a leading role in this fight, which eventually resulted in the entry of the Norfolk and Western Railway into Winston. Shortly afterward, in an effort to place Winston on the main line of the Southern, Reynolds led a