Sniffing Out the Past

There were many ways in which tobacco was consumed in former times. Such as, having it within a pipe and then smoking it that way. Or there even is the concept of an aged tobacco that is commonly called chew where a piece of tobacco is placed between the cheek and lower lip, typically near the back of the mouth. It’s either chewed or held in place. Then there is the most common form of tobacco that we know about to this date; cigarettes and how they are a small roll of tobacco designed to be lit with a flame and then smoked. However, one of the more unique variations on how to partake in the consumption of tobacco comes from a form that is simply titled as snuff. Snuff tobacco is traditionally done by snorting the tobacco into the person’s own nose which then delivers the specific scent of the tobacco and nicotine to the nose. Also it’s important to note that there is a moist version of snuff actually and one of the most common kinds was called snus. Additionally, as we can see from the photo above this is a smoke can from the snuff shop that was actually made right under our own noses here in Jamestown!

Most likely prior to noting that this can itself was made in Jamestown it is possible that very few would have known that Jamestown actually had its very own snuff shop. In 1892 a man by the name of John F. Gustafson opened the first snuff shop in Jamestown titled Swedish Snuff Manufacturing Company. This company was located on 132 Foote Ave. The reason that the company had the nationality Swedish associated with it was due to the fact that allegedly every Swede in Jamestown had demanded snuff as they believed that they couldn’t do quality work without it.

Regrettably, in 1893 only a year after the building was first opened for business the first iteration of the snuff shop burnt to the ground on July 9th 1893. Thankfully, by the year 1895 came around the new Swedish Snuff Manufacturing Company was remade and this time into brick buildings. This is because the origin of the fire that burnt down the first iteration of the snuff shop was from a dry kiln and the original shop was a wooden building. So the original ended up going up in smoke. Fortunately, for the new store Mr. Gustafson would still be the owner of the new snuff shop.

Eventually, in 1923 the snuff shop building would be sold on May 31st 1923 with the total of the sale amounting to be just over 12,000 dollars and in today’s money that would amount to be $221,661 dollars. The sale of the Swedish Snuff Manufacturing Company building was done by Undersheriff Ernest A. Uossett. Here’s one final fact about snuff that I thought was really interesting and hopefully wasn’t all smoke and mirrors: “British doctors in 1791 found out that using snuff would actually lead to an increase in the chances of getting nose cancer.” Stay safe and healthy everyone!

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