Blog by Steve Laug
I am always on the lookout for aged tobacco, whether it is in tins, boxes or foil pouches. I love the look of the old packaging and trying the old tobacco. On a recent trip to Idaho Falls I came across this pair of packets of Kentucky Club in one of the antique malls I visited. From a bit of research I found that the Original Kentucky Club pipe mixture was a mild blend of high grades of White Burley from Tennessee and Bright Virginias from Carolina and Georgia districts. The next two photos are advertisements for Kentucky Club that give a bit of feel for the age of the brand. I don’t what the age of the tobacco I found is but the fellow who sold it to me with two pipes thought it was from the 50s. So it has a bit of age on it.
The two boxes were wrapped together in a torn brittle plastic package. When the shopkeeper gave them to me the plastic fell off. The two cardboard boxes are printed in basically three colours so it is not a modern printing process. The packaging makes me think the seller was correct in his thinking it came from the 50s. I picked up the two unopened boxes for about $8. The boxes are printed Kentucky Club White Burley Smoking Tobacco with a picture of a jumping horse. At the bottom of the box cover it says Guaranteed Fresh Net Wt. 1 ½ oz. with a picture of a blue pouch with the Kentucky Club logo. This is on both the front and the back of the box. On one of the long edges it reads Kentucky Club over TP-16, W. VA. Kentucky Club, Wheeling, W. Va. Union Made. Under that it reads Made in USA. There is a perforated PUSH IN tab on the top edge. On the other long edge it reads Kentucky Club over White Burley Smoking Tobacco. This side also has the PUSH IN tab at the top. On the top and bottom of the box it read Kentucky Club. I opened one of the boxes to look at the contents. Inside was a foil pouch of tobacco. The pouch is checker board black and blue. On one side is a silver medallion that has the words Never Tires Your Taste over Kentucky Club. On the other side it has a jockey and horse jumping inside a silver circle like the logo of the tobacco. The tightly sealed foil pouch let none of the aroma of the tobacco escape. That in itself was a good sign. The contents were a little dry as the tobacco was crunchy. Around the outside of the pouch was wrapped a coupon for a Millard Pipe.
The one side of the insert read: “Looking for the ideal pipe? The Millard is often regarded as the answer. Its complete action trap keeps the pipe dry in any position and prevents mouth flow back. See it in our new premium catalog. It will delight and intrigue your, we feel sure.”
On the other side it reads: “Valuable Dividend Coupon. It entitles you to buy our quality imported briar pipes and other premiums at very worthwhile savings. Send for our free catalog which pictures and fully describes our premiums. Read about our everyday service pipes up through the deluxe collector grades. A shape chart is included to help you select the pipe style you want. We have a real guarantee – it makes you the judge – if you are not satisfied, you merely say so and we refund your money, in exchange for the article returned unused. Send a card or letter for the free catalogue to: Premium Dept. Kentucky Club, 4000 Water St., Wheeling, W. Va.”
The combination of the design of the pouch, the packaging and the insert make me even more certain that the seller was correct in his general assessment of the age of this tobacco. I did a bit of digging to find out about The Millard Pipe – which seemed to have been a type of system pipe. I was able to find a Millard pipe through Google photos and it turns out that it was a pipe with a design very similar to a Keyser Hygienic Patent Pipe. The inner tube in the shank and a similar tube in the stem with a military mount stem. Now I am going to have to hunt down one of these Millard Pipes.