Pam’s Pictorama Post: Weirdly, the concept of the match safe has long fascinated me. I can’t entirely express why, but knowing that my matches are safely tucked away, where they will remain dry and ever-ready, appeals deeply to the tidy and organized part of my personality. I have lusted after this Black Cat cigarette company match safe for years, ever since spying one in a book devoted to cat advertising. You can imagine my joy when my friend Zach alerted me to the sale on eBay.
I have visited the Black Cat Cigarette company in my earlier post, Smokin’ Cats, but somehow missed this lovely bit of history about the name which I share from Wikipedia below:
Black Cat is now a cigarette brand sold around the world, but its name sprang from humble origins. The original black cat was an ordinary domestic cat which spent hours curled up asleep in the window of Don José’s Wardour Street shop, well before the turn of the 20th century. Because the cat became such a familiar sight to the passers-by, the shop began to be known as the “black cat shop”. Don José decided to adopt the cat as part of the company’s image and in 1886 it became the first trademark to be registered by Carreras. Eventually the cat became an integral part of the design of the Black Cat pack where it appeared in a white circle surrounded by a black border above the initials “JJC” (Don José Joaquin Carreras).
The Black Cat cigarette was introduced in 1904 as one of the first machine-made cigarettes manufactured in Britain. The cat was used in some of the earliest cigarette promotions, including the Black Cat stamp album which was issued free to smokers. Stamps were available inside the cigarette packs and £325 in prizes was offered for the best completed albums…One of the most ambitious promotions took place on 18 October 1913 – designated by the company as “Black Cat Day”. Advertised extensively in the national press, Black Cat salesmen could give a golden half-sovereign to anyone they approached in the street who could prove they were in possession of a Black Cat pack…During the early 1920s enthusiasm for the Black Cat was at a peak, with many people wearing badges and stickers featuring the cat and even going to fancy dress parties in black cat costumes. By now, coupon trading was fiercely competitive and the Black Cat gift catalogue offered gramophone records, gardening equipment, gentlemen’s razors, automobile accessories and wirelesses.
Black cat day! Yahoo! Clearly this is why it was the roaring twenties – black cat dress up parties and badges! And wouldn’t I just love to find some of that black kitty booty? I fully intend to – and will share it here with you.
The mysterious inside of the safe: