History of National Cigar Corporation

Our cigar factory in Indiana:

A three story building in Frankfort, Indiana was built in 1917 (known as The Bankable building). It was originally owned by Noah Smith and operated as the Smith Cigar Company. The Smith Cigar Company also had a plant located in Lebanon, Indiana which later became that city's Legion Post headquarters.

Mr. Smith sold the building to Tegge Jackman, who operated it until 1931. The plant was idle for 12 years until 1943 when Carl Berger took it over and began producing four cigar brands. Those brands were Lincoln Highway (From coast to coast), Red Seal, The Bankable and Hoosier Poet. This marked the beginning of National Cigar's contribution to cigar making in America.

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Our tobacco warehouse in Connecticut:

We had a tobacco warehouse located in South Windsor, Connecticut, (the warehouse was sold in late 2007), right in the heart of the Connecticut Valley where some of the best tasting tobacco in America is grown. Connecticut broadleaf tobacco has become very popular with knowledgeable cigar smokers in recent years. National Cigar has been using this fine tobacco on many of our cigars for decades. We have had plenty of time to formulate the filler blends to make pleasurable smoking cigars with Connecticut wrappers.

In the late 50's, National Cigar acquired the Evermore and Farnam Drive labels from A. Kafka & Company, New Haven, Connecticut. Both these labels remain all natural tobacco cigars to this day. The tobacco is sent to Indiana from Connecticut, the cigars are made here, and then they are shipped back to Connecticut and enjoyed by many discerning Connecticut cigar smokers. Our Evermore and Farnam Drive cigars are very popular in Connecticut, where the cigar smokers have a great appreciation of their own home grown tobacco.

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The St. Louis story -- Hauptmann cigars

In the early 60's, the Hauptmann label was acquired by National Cigar from the Peter Hauptmann Tobacco Company, in St. Louis, Missouri, where the cigar line was and still is very popular. Many veteran cigar smokers called it "the cigar of St. Louis." Our sales manager Melvin G. Meinhardt (1922-1999) lived in St. Louis. Mel distributed Hauptmanns while working for another cigar company long before National Cigar made the brand.

There was once a package of 25 Hauptmann Perfecto shade wrapped cigars sold in attractive tin containers. With the sharp rise in the cost of metal packaging in the early 80's, the tin container was discontinued and the 25 count cigars were then packaged in a carton which is designed in appearance exactly the same as the last metal container they were packaged in. The old tin containers have become a collector's treasure.

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The Ohio story -- R. G. Dun & Ibold cigars

When DWG cigar manufacturer in Lima, Ohio went out of business and negotiations for the brands took place around year end in 1967, some of the DWG brands were split up among three cigar companies. At that time, National Cigar acquired the El Verso and El Macco labels, the company's two dark broadleaf wrapped cigars.

A new corporation, R. G. Dun Corp., was formed at that time to continue manufacturing DWG's largest selling line of R. G. Dun cigars. R. G. Dun was reported to be the largest selling cigar line in the states of Ohio and Michigan, along with wide distribution in Indiana.

Carl Berger became the board chairman of R. G. Dun Corporation, while also holding the highest office of president at National Cigar. R. G. Dun took over the old DWG factory on Main Street in Lima, Ohio which DWG had used for storage in 1963 when they opened their new plant on Bible Street in Lima. Besides Mr. Berger, the R. G. Dun board also consisted of Mr. Eugene Wilger, president of Ibold Cigar Company in Cincinnati. R. G. Dun soon began making the Ibold cigars in Lima. R. G. Dun president Clifford Mason (from DWG) began to institute "back to old-time quality" blend changes which made the R. G. Dun cigars popular for years to come.

The family relationship between the new R. G. Dun Corporation and National Cigar allowed the sales representatives of both companies to take orders from distributors for either company. National Cigar was specializing in dark broadleaf wrapped cigars with their newly acquired El Verso and El Macco brands, while R. G. Dun kept the shade wrapped line which they acquired from DWG. It was only natural for National Cigar to take over the full R. G. Dun lines in 1990, including Ibold, when R. G. Dun went out of the cigar making business.

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The Pittsburgh story -- the dark broadleaf El Verso cigars:

As the story goes, El Verso cigars were originally spread east from Lima, Ohio by railroad people who traveled east from Lima through Ohio and into Pennsylvania as far as Milton, PA. They spread north of Pittsburgh to Erie and east through Western New York to Utica. When people like a good cigar, they are more than happy to share those cigars with other cigar smokers and spread the word. In the south, Oklahoma has become a very strong market for El Verso cigars.

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Read the Marsh Wheeling Story

See a Listing of National Cigar Brands

[National Cigar Corporation]
407 North Main Street
PO Box 97
Frankfort, IN 46041
Phone: 1-800-321-0247
Contact National Cigar by E-mail