The R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

By Nannie M. Tilley | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 10
Development into a Modern Industry

The meteoric rise of the Camel prior to 1925 demanded emphasis on production to fill the orders that poured in. From 1925 to 1940, however, the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company concentrated on other aspects of the business. Beginning in 1924, William N. Reynolds handed the presidency to Bowman Gray, Sr., and moved into the newly created position of chairman of the board. This would be followed by numerous shifts in management personnel as the company moved further away from the dominance of its founder into the less personal sphere of corporate life. It appears that advertising received the lion's share of attention because of the company's interest in exploiting its moisture-proof cellophane wrapper for cigarettes, the result of pioneer work in the industry. Modernization of cigarette production and the handling of leaf tobacco included installation of the Arenco packing machine and the Mark VI model of the Molins making machine, development of a foil-making plant, adoption of the vacuum conditioner and a mechanical method for assembling hogsheads, and, above all, support of the establishment of an American source for the production of cigarette paper. Concern for the welfare of employees led to the early adoption of a retirement plan and group health insurance. After 1937 a complete revamping of the sales department led to more harmonious working conditions for sales personnel.


Leaders in a New Era

Though working in something of a new era, the men who led the company after 1924 generally had long been associated with it. All except Wil

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