Brown's Mule Tobacco, Original Box, Tobacco Sample & Printing Plate.

  • $149.99 CAD

Brown's Mule Chewing Tobacco, Comes with Original Box, Small Sample Of Brown's Mule Chewing Tobacco and Original Printing Plate Used To Produce The Cover Of Brown's Mule Tobacco. 


Brown's Mule is plug tobacco made from the scrap and stems of cigar tobacco which is soaked in a sweet syrupy substance such as honey. Brown Mule moulds were placed in the bottom of a wooden frame and the sweetened scraps were poured into the frame and spread evenly. A blank tin was packaged on the top, placed under pressure and then sent to the curing room. After leaving the curing room the tobacco was sheared into plugs, wrapped and boxed for sale. The complete sheet measures 12" square. Each mould was used to produce 24 plugs.

Henry Belk’s dissertation on chewing tobacco and its 100-year-old factory are pretty vague, and its location of the Mosely plantation of the Horace Penn Moore is the Bethany section of Rockingham County seems still more vague to this old lady of a tobacco Dan River valley.

Mr. Belk should have called the chew flakes, flavoured with licorice, dried peaches, etc., “plug tobacco,” as different from selected leafage, twisted into rolls for pocket biting, called “quids.” Shortly quid tobacco was a plain leaf, rolled for pockets, and bore the price of the treated pressed cakes. Every plantation had its “plug” screw press, and even old in Madison (1818-1850) many backyards had plug mule-powered screw-downs for leafage brought in from plantations of the town dwellers, most of whom had town residences on acre lots.

The “plug” was treated for the “Down South” covered wagon trade. The big chew cakes were cut to fit sturdy oak plank small boxes and these were plugged tightly inside. So “plug” was a luxury and “quid” was home “chaw.” The licorice trade was foreign and most important. Planters experimented with flavours to get a tasty cake.

R.J. Reynolds’ first absorption was in the plug trade and his “Brown’s Mule” every oldster recalls. This trade nourished wagon making, box making, and after 1880 wooden hogsheads in which to screw-press the untreated leaf and ship to Reynolds in Winston. The hogshead industry yielded to the big gasoline trucks of the past 20 years.

Horse drovers throve by importing from the mountains over Kentucky way. Workers would load the plug boxes into long beds of covered wagons in September and start driving the two-horse wagons toward the cotton-growing South, with wayside camp cook utensils hung on the wagon. All stores en route were canvassed and the small boxes were bought as trade warranted. Several men went with each camp wagon, and usually, a dog.

Barter brought food en route. Some comical stories persist here from 80-year-olds of first rice cooking. Homebound loads were chiefly grosses of coffee beans and sugar, plus the luxury of cloth and tableware.

Item Code - TOO7E217MC

Box - Width: 6 1/2"  Height: 1 1/4"  Depth: 3 3/8" 

Printing Plate - Width: 12"  Height: 12"  Depth: 1/4"  Total Weight: 492 g

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