Mold, Cigar

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Record 215/261
Copyright Oshkosh Public Museum
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Description Wood cigar mold in two halves. One half stamped in emblem of unicorn, globe, human

Hand-Making Cigars: The difficult job of hand-making a cigars requires the use of a mold or former. The mold determines the size of the cigar. Tobacco leaves, a binder or gum, and sometimes even a filler are pressed tightly into the molds, the two halves were put together and then the mold is heated just long enough to dry. When removed from the mold another thin tobacco leaf is wrapped around the molded cigar and the edges trimmed with a cutter.

The Oshkosh Cigar Industry: During the 1870s through the 1890s Oshkosh had quite a thriving cigar industry. Oshkosh had 18 cigar manufacturers and produced about 270,000 handmade smokes a year. An average cigar maker could produce between 200 to 250 cigars a day. The take-home pay was between $15 to $20 a week (converted to 2002 currency that would be $294.12 to $392.16 a week), quite good for those times. In 1919, the invention of a cigar-making machine and the growing popularity of cigarettes would change the industry forever. By the end of World War II only two cigar makers in Oshkosh remained, Derksen and John Reinke. Within three years they too would stop production. Perhaps one of the best known was H. Derksen & Sons on Main Street. This firm was founded by Holland-born Theodore Derksen when he transferred his cigar business from Watertown, Wisconsin to Oshkosh in 1868. The first factory was on the corner of Main and Irving Streets, later they would move to the corner of Waugoo and Main Streets. When they were burned out in the fire of 1875 they rebuilt and, to commemorate the disaster, produced a brand of cigars know as "Oshkosh Fire." These cigars were packed in a box with the picture on the label depicting the event. (To see an image of this label--visit the New Winnebago Room located on the second floor of the Oshkosh Public Museum and purchase a mug with the image in the Museum Store.) In 1882 the company built in brick a building on Main Street, you can still see the Derksen name on it today. During World War I Derksen's employed 48 cigar makers.

Dimensions H-1.5 W-2.75 D-4.75 inches
Dimension notes Height = 1.500 IN
Depth = 4.750 IN
Width = 2.750 IN
Width = 3.000 IN
Year Range from 1870
Year range to 1900
Material Wood
Makers mark DI U/ ET MON/ DROUT
Object ID I97.6.11.4
Object Name Mold, Cigar
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Last modified on: December 12, 2009