Affiliations, Acquisitions, and Consolidations
The years from 1899 to 1911 represent a unique period for the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and indeed for all firms manufacturing chewing tobacco. Small manufacturers who had survived the financial vicissitudes of the 1880s and early 1890s were confronted with the American Tobacco Company's program to dominate the chewing tobacco industry. It was a time when manufacturers of chewing tobacco either failed or joined the Continental Tobacco Company, organized on 10 December 1898. From the beginning the American Tobacco Company exercised complete control over Continental, which in reality was a holding company. James Buchanan Duke served as president of both companies. 1 With his business steadily expanding and in dire need of additional capital, Reynolds apparently sought it from James B. Duke on a personal basis. As a result, in 1899 his company became a subsidiary of the Continental Tobacco Company and served as the agency for consolidating the flat-plug chewing tobacco industry of the Virginia-Carolina area. In that role, the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company acquired numerous tobacco factories located generally in the vicinities of Winston and Salem and Martinsville, Virginia. From the monotonous details connected with the acquisition of these factories, it is clear that many of them represented earlier consolidations. Operations of the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company during these years necessarily received supervision from the men who dominated American and Continental. Meanwhile Reynolds remained alert to all possibilities.