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a token of elegance

A Token of Elegance: Cigarette Holders in Vogue showcases a select group of nearly 140 cigarette holders and other smoking requisites from the unique collection of Carolyn Hsu-Balcer. Rare, one-of-a-kind, exquisite and luxurious, these small gems of design represent the artistry of the finest artisans and jewelers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Fabergé, Cartier, Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpels, Alfred Dunhill, Buccellati—all are represented here in specially commissioned photography by masters John Bigelow Taylor and Dianne Dubler that makes these diminutive objects pop off the pages with brilliant color and form. Within these pages are early nineteenth-century cigarette holders, Princess Margaret’s well-used enameland-amber cigarette holder, and disposable holders given as promotional gifts by the top nightclubs of Roaring Twenties New York.

a token of elegance cigarette holders in vogue martin barnes lorber – rebecca mcnamara ph oto g r a ph y by j o h n b i g e low tay lo r a n d d i a n n e d u b l e r

front cover: Cigarette holder. Bagués-Masriera, Barcelona, c. 1910 [cat. 14] spine: Cigarette holder. Kano Tessai (1845–1925), Japan, Meiji (1868–1912) or possibly Taisho (1912–26) Period [cat. 52] back cover (from left to right): Cigarette holder. India or Japan, c. 1930–40 [cat. 120] Cheroot holder. Possibly France, c. 1890–1910 [cat. 32] Cigarette holder. Edward Wilhelm Schramm for Fabergé, St. Petersburg, 1899–1908 [cat. 3] Ejector cheroot holder. Possibly United States, c. 1920–30 [cat. 40] Cigarette holder. Probably Ivan Lebedkin, Russia, c. 1900–1910 [cat. 31]

www.officinalibraria.com $50.00 - £35.00 - €48.00

The book’s illustrated essay—written by Asian arts specialist Martin Barnes Lorber and rising art and design writer Rebecca McNamara—takes the reader through the history of smoking from its pre-Columbian roots in the Americas, where it was a sacred ritual, through to the present-day worldwide e-cigarette craze. Entertaining and informative, the essay keeps its artistic eye focused on smoking’s accoutrements as expressions of the day’s dominant design trends, from sinuous Art Nouveau to the costume jewelry craze to sleek midcentury black, and more.


a token of elegance


martin barnes lorber – rebecca mcnamara ph oto g r a ph y by j o h n b i g e low tay lo r a n d d i a n n e d u b l e r

a token of elegance cigarette holders in vogue t h e c a r o ly n h s u - b a l c e r c o l l e c t i o n


Consultant John Tancock Thanks to Courtney Bowers for assistance in the early phases of research for the book.

Officina Libraria via Carlo Romussi 4 20125 Milan, Italy www.officinalibraria.com Editorial coordination Marco Jellinek Graphic design and layout Paola Gallerani Editorial assistant Serena Solla Editing Bronwyn Mahoney Color separation Eurofotolit, Cernusco sul Naviglio (MI) Printed by Grafiche Corrà, Arcole (Verona), Italy

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. © Officina Libraria, Milan, 2015 © The Mattawin Company Inc. for the texts, 2015 © John Bigelow Taylor and Dianne Dubler for the images, 2015 Produced by The Mattawin Company Inc. isbn 978-88-97737-62-9 Printed in Italy


table of contents

Foreword by Carolyn Hsu-Balcer........................................................................................................................................ 7

Introduction............................................................................................................................................................................... 9

chapter i:

Tobacco’s Journey from the New World to the Old: Medicine and Pleasure....................................................... 12

chapter ii:

The Rise of Cigarette Culture: The Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries...................................................... 22

chapter iii:

Smoking, Sociability, and a New Modern Era: From the First World War to the Second................................. 38

chapter iv:

The Cigarette Holder’s Peak and Fall: A New Culture of Smoking since the Mid-Twentieth Century.............. 52

endnotes.................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 62

appendix:

CATALOG ................................................................................................................................................................................... 67

Materials Used in Cigarette Holders ................................................................................................................................. 188

acknowledgments .............................................................................................................................................................................................. 191 photo credits ....................................................................................................................................................................................................... 192


foreword

A Token of Elegance is an expression of my love of beauty and functionality. It is also a way of paying tribute to the trade that allowed my family a comfortable living in Shanghai, a trade that provided them a lifeline when they were forced to leave their home after the Chinese Revolution of 1949 and migrate to the West, where they settled in Virginia’s tobacco country. I began collecting cigarette holders in 1991. My first acquisition was an 1890 Viennese telescopic silver cigarette holder in an enamel case. I was at the Columbus Avenue Flea Market in New York City, and I was attracted by the object’s compactness and design. I was a smoker at the time, and I’d been toying with the idea of using a cigarette holder. This one seemed to fit my own personal style. Over time I became less interested in smoking and more interested in cigarette holders. I was attracted by the endless variety of materials, the period styles, the marriage of artistry and practicality, all played out on a small canvas that looked equally at home between the fingers as it did between the lips. Wherever I found myself in my travels, I would seek out holders unique to the particular country I was in. There wasn’t one city or town where cigarette holders couldn’t be found in small antique shops and flea markets—a testament to tobacco’s global reach. But the fact that so many second-hand holders were available for sale was also a testament to their fall from fashion. Antiques dealers didn’t know what to do with holders, which often came to them as part of a larger lot. They were out of vogue, associated with a now-reviled habit. Dealers stuffed them away and forgot about them. When I happened into a shop, they assumed I was interested in jewelry or antique silver. Imagine their surprise— and joy—when I asked them for cigarette holders. Out of bottom

drawers and the backs of cupboards came some of the most beautiful expressions of functional craftsmanship. While the collection has grown to over four hundred objects, the holders in this book have been selected to give the reader an encyclopedic view of the range of styles, materials, and origins— from disposable holders churned out by the thousands to exclusive diamond-encrusted fabrications of rare metals and semi-precious stones made by the most prestigious jewelry houses. A Token of Elegance is intended as a catalog of these unique and often-forgotten items, and in its text, as a journey through time and place. It will, I hope, offer readers a greater understanding of tobacco’s importance throughout history as it assumed many roles, not all of which seemed so ill-fated at the time. The reader is asked to set aside any prejudice as regards tobacco and look upon the objects in this book as an expression of that very human desire—that very human need—to apply our innate creativity to turning even the most everyday articles into works of beauty, into what are, undeniably, works of self-expression. Carolyn Hsu-Balcer New York, 2015

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introduction

Some may say that elegance is dead. Others, wiser, know that it’s alive, simply evolving over time, manifesting subtly, or hiding in plain sight. In the not-so-distant past, tokens of elegance were concealed in purses and pockets, then removed casually, catching the eye as they glimmered in the light of a match. Elegance cannot truly exist without people. No matter how rare, refined, and beautiful a place or object may be, without people as context to bring a thing to life, it might as well be part of an empty stage set. Eighteenth-century jewels, for example, were never intended to be viewed under modern lighting. The diamonds do shine and glitter, but when seen in their original context, under candlelight, worn by elegant ladies in mirrored ballrooms, the diamonds explode with small flames and smoldering lights. It is all a matter of context. In a pointed example of context, there is a rather fine line between ostentation and elegance. When an object of vertu, made solely to showcase the maker’s expertise and the owner’s taste and wealth, is displayed, it is ostentation, but when that same article is an integral part of the overall persona of the owner, then it is easy elegance. This space is where the cigarette holder fits beautifully as an important part of the social history of smoking. As an accoutrement, the cigarette holder is far more than utilitarian. It is often a work of art, a thing of beauty—or even an object of communication. The role of the cigarette holder as an article of communication defies accurate description. Although it can be used in a purely functional manner, more often than not it is accompanied by a wider range of meanings depending upon factors such as the materials in which it is executed and the smoker’s own social status and level of sophistication. Wielded as deftly as an orchestra conductor’s baton,

it becomes an extension of its owner’s personality and everything that is said or gestured takes on a more dramatic life, without the cigarette holder having to say a word. The cigarette holder is one piece in the story of a four-thousandyear love affair between people and a plant. The plant in this case, our femme fatale, is tobacco—and like all love affairs, this one has had its ups and downs. From alluring and fickle beginnings, tobacco offered mankind a choice of sixty-four varieties of the Nicotiana plant family, but principally only two—Nicotiana tabacum and Nicotiana rustica—satisfied users’ tastes throughout the millenniums. Both species originated in the Western Hemisphere: the latter cultivated by indigenous North Americans, while tabacum first appeared around 4000 BCE in the Andes prior to northward migrations into Central America and Mexico. From 900 to 1500 ACE, the Mayans, followed by the Aztecs, cultivated tabacum to smoke primitive versions of cigars and clay pipes; but it was the earlier Mayans who rolled tobacco in cornhusks, the ancestors to cigarettes. Although unaware of the addictive effects of nicotine, Meso­ americans smoked tobacco for medicinal as well as spiritual and social reasons. Prized for inducing hallucinations, tobacco assumed a sacred role when a pipe was passed among family and tribal members to share thoughts, and spirits were believed to be personified in the smoke. Similarly, smoking the proverbial peace pipe signaled the creation of negotiated agreement over human conflicts, the smoke assuming greater significance for American Indian values than signed contracts and paper treaties. At the end of the fifteenth century, the history and use of tobacco changed dramatically when European explorers arrived in 9


the Americas and seized native golden treasure and the “medicinal” tobacco plant to ship back home. Tobacco spread through Europe quickly and fervently, and its original importance as an instrument of health and sacred rites diminished, replaced by the sheer pleasure and meditative relaxation of smoking a pipe. Such popularity enhanced tobacco’s trading glamour and newly acquired currency role amidst Europe’s brawling mercantile competition. The opening of Japan’s southern ports for trade at the beginning of the seventeenth century brought the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, and English. But it was the Portuguese who first introduced the tobacco plant for cultivation in Japan and subsequently to India. The two Hispanic empires went on to compete for the new Asian markets, introducing China, the Philippines, Malaya, and Korea to both the tabacum and the rustica species. Over time, the spread of tobacco in Europe, Russia, Asia, the Middle East, and the United States triggered new ways, and thus new accessories, of enjoyment. Pipes, being the earliest means of consuming tobacco, remained the preferred choice with design and material modifications to suit particular cultural needs and tastes, followed at the end of the sixteenth century by tobacco crushed for inhaling through the nose or applying along the gums. By the mid-eighteenth century, using snuff became a social habit among aristocrats and gentry, later to be replaced by cigars and cigarettes. The invention of cigarette-rolling machines at the end of the nineteenth century powered mass production and consumption. The standardized cigarette was more neatly configured and packaged, and this modern smoking device attracted women to luxuriate in smoky reveries. To some arbiters such feminine indulgence proclaimed an alluring liberation from traditional social restraints, while others viewed it as a sinful condemnation of female morality. On the eve of the twentieth century, the accelerating habit of men and women smoking cigarettes the world over produced the first widely used, portable accoutrement since the seventeenthcentury snuffbox: the cigarette holder. Holders became a handy

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introduction

theatrical prop for business and political confrontations as much as a fashionable branding tool of social sophistication among celebrities and within elite circles. Despite the debilitating interruptions of wars and global depression, the first half of the twentieth century radicalized civilization, producing scientific discoveries, rapid modes of transportation and communication, and social, political, and cultural innovations. In the decades around the turn of the century, the cigarette holder’s burgeoning era, two decorative styles dominated: Art Nouveau, inspired by nature’s sinuosity and the modern woman’s sensuality, followed by Art Deco, which celebrated human achievement past and present. In Art Deco design, skyscrapers, ocean liners, jazz bands, visual art, and fashion all shared the spotlight of accomplishment with ancient Egypt and Greece, Mogul India, and Asian dynasties. Throughout this time, humanity’s intimate companion was tobacco with each of its personae and accessories. Pipes, boxes, and holders were treated to contemporary design styles and production methods. Exotic wood pipes sporting modern engravings emerged from the shadows of Mesoamerican clay ancestry. These accessories underwent spectacular transformations, morphing from the snuffbox’s majestic gold and diamond origins, reflecting aristocratic ownership, to the cigarette holder’s democratic popularity in a variety of fashionable plastics to a bejeweled version befitting a liberated lady’s smoking habit and her evening purse. Cigarette holders run the design gamut from handmade silver or ivory craftsmanship to the geometric elegance of Art Deco, from inexpensive, brightly colored synthetics to elegant gold and gems. No matter the dictates of a simple environment or a lavish lifestyle, the bond between smoker and accessory remains very personal—akin to the musician and his instrument, the sportsman with his gear—caring and cleaning, respecting and using. It is an enduring relationship.


introduction

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catalog


catalog t h e c a r o ly n h s u - b a l c e r c o l l e c t i o n

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fabergé 1 Cigarette holder. Fabergé, Moscow, 1899–1908. Guilloché enamel on silver, gold mounts, amber mouthpiece. 3 3/4 5 5/8 5 5/8 in.

2 Ring cigarette holder. Erik Kollin for Fabergé, St. Petersburg, 1875. 14-karat gold, snake topped with ruby. 3/4 5 1/4 5 2 3/4 in.

Although Carl Fabergé was an expert jeweler and goldsmith, he served his namesake firm predominantly as a businessman, relying on highly skilled workmasters to craft the objects for which he is renowned. Unfortunately, pieces from the Moscow branch typically lack the workmasters’ marks found on their St. Petersburg–made counterparts.

The snake on this holder’s stem is no mere ornament: it can be moved up to tighten a cigarette in place and down to release it once used.

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catalog

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3 Cigarette holder. Edward Wilhelm Schramm for Fabergé, St. Petersburg, 1899–1908. Spiral-striped opaque white Pékin enamel, sapphire-encrusted mount, nephrite stem and mouthpiece. 4 3/16 5 1/2 5 1/2 in.

4 Cigarette holder. Fedor Afanassiev for Fabergé, St. Petersburg, 1899–1908. Guilloche enamel, 14-karat gold bands, diamonds, nephrite mouthpiece. 4 1/8 5 7/16 5 3/8 in.

Fabergé introduced Russia to jewelry that could be valued for its artistry and craftsmanship, rather than for the intrinsic worth of its gems. The company’s famous guilloche, or engine-turned enamel, surface was a mark of excellence and high technical achievement.

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5 Cigarette holder. Henrik Wigström for Fabergé, St. Petersburg, 1899–1908. Fluted gold, nephrite mouthpiece. 3 1/2 5 3/8 5 3/8 in.

6 Cigarette holder. Erik Kollin for Fabergé, St. Petersburg, 1908–17. Guilloché enamel, 14-karat gold bands, amber mouthpiece. 3 3/4 5 3/8 5 3/8 in.

Henrik Wigström, Fabergé’s leading workmaster from 1903 until 1918, was entrusted with important commissions, including those from the imperial family.

Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, once owned this holder. Fabergé, as Supplier to the Imperial Court and Appraiser to the Office of His Imperial Majesty in Russia, produced works suitable for royalty all over the world. Such royal purchases were likely encouraged in England by Fabergé’s early 1900s branch, from where this piece was bought.

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a token of elegance

A Token of Elegance: Cigarette Holders in Vogue showcases a select group of nearly 140 cigarette holders and other smoking requisites from the unique collection of Carolyn Hsu-Balcer. Rare, one-of-a-kind, exquisite and luxurious, these small gems of design represent the artistry of the finest artisans and jewelers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Fabergé, Cartier, Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpels, Alfred Dunhill, Buccellati—all are represented here in specially commissioned photography by masters John Bigelow Taylor and Dianne Dubler that makes these diminutive objects pop off the pages with brilliant color and form. Within these pages are early nineteenth-century cigarette holders, Princess Margaret’s well-used enameland-amber cigarette holder, and disposable holders given as promotional gifts by the top nightclubs of Roaring Twenties New York.

a token of elegance cigarette holders in vogue martin barnes lorber – rebecca mcnamara ph oto g r a ph y by j o h n b i g e low tay lo r a n d d i a n n e d u b l e r

front cover: Cigarette holder. Bagués-Masriera, Barcelona, c. 1910 [cat. 14] spine: Cigarette holder. Kano Tessai (1845–1925), Japan, Meiji (1868–1912) or possibly Taisho (1912–26) Period [cat. 52] back cover (from left to right): Cigarette holder. India or Japan, c. 1930–40 [cat. 120] Cheroot holder. Possibly France, c. 1890–1910 [cat. 32] Cigarette holder. Edward Wilhelm Schramm for Fabergé, St. Petersburg, 1899–1908 [cat. 3] Ejector cheroot holder. Possibly United States, c. 1920–30 [cat. 40] Cigarette holder. Probably Ivan Lebedkin, Russia, c. 1900–1910 [cat. 31]

www.officinalibraria.com $50.00 - £35.00 - €48.00

The book’s illustrated essay—written by Asian arts specialist Martin Barnes Lorber and rising art and design writer Rebecca McNamara—takes the reader through the history of smoking from its pre-Columbian roots in the Americas, where it was a sacred ritual, through to the present-day worldwide e-cigarette craze. Entertaining and informative, the essay keeps its artistic eye focused on smoking’s accoutrements as expressions of the day’s dominant design trends, from sinuous Art Nouveau to the costume jewelry craze to sleek midcentury black, and more.

Profile for Officina Libraria

A Token of Elegance: Cigarette Holders in Vogue  

The book showcases a select group of nearly 140 cigarette holders and other smoking requisites from the unique collection of Carolyn Hsu-Bal...

A Token of Elegance: Cigarette Holders in Vogue  

The book showcases a select group of nearly 140 cigarette holders and other smoking requisites from the unique collection of Carolyn Hsu-Bal...

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