R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Established
The 1870's was the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in North Carolina. North Carolina has been dubbed Tobacco Land' because of the defining industry in the state of the manufacture of tobacco. On October 19, 1874 Richard J. Reynolds purchased a 300 ft lot of property in Winston-Salem, NC and established the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company where he began to manufacture tobacco. Other companies soon followed suit building other tobacco manufacturing factories in Winston-Salem and Durham. R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. also gained prominence with its patent of a process to refine' tobacco in 1907. An advertisement from that year claims that their refining process makes their tobacco the most delightful and harmless tobacco for cigarette and pipe smokers.' To this day the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company is the 4th largest tobacco manufacturer in the world and the 2nd largest firm in the United States.
Reynolds was a very influential factor in Winston-Salem History; he served as city commissioner in 1884. There are buildings and statues that memorialize him in Winston-Salem today. By 1880 the tobacco industry in North Carolina was firmly grounded in the national market, and industry in that state exceeded what it was before the Civil War.
The tobacco industry was booming in Virginia as well as North Carolina. The tobacco industry allowed tobacco warehouses as well as tobacco manufacturers to prosper. A Broadside for the newly established Star Warehouse in Danville, Virginia for the auctioning of loose tobacco, announcing the sale of tobacco on April, 15, 1874. The broadside states that on April 15 the sale amounted to 51,279 lbs for 7,184.16, averaging 14,01 per hundred pounds.' The proprietors, W.J. Fowlkes & Co., boast that the Star Warehouse building is the finest, largest, and best arranged house in the state. It is apparent that the tobacco industry was a very prosperous one in the 1870s.
- Hugh Talmage Lefler and Albet Ray Newsome, The History of a Southern State: North Carolina (Chapel Hill, NC: Chapel Hill, 1854), 505-506, 582.
- "Tobacco Town Changing Image as Reports on Smoking Darken," New York Times, April 26, 1998, 1.
- Sale at Star Warehouse Danville Broadside, broadside, Special Collections Library, University of Virginia.
- Nannie M. Tilley, The R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1985).