Molded in Tampa
  History Collections

 Hand Made Cigar Making Molds

_Before mold and cigars machines, cigars were made entirely by hand. The only tools a cigar makers needed to perform his trade were a table,a cutting board and a “chaveta” (cutting blade). It was all about skill techniques and devotion to the art of cigar making. But that would soon change when cigars molds were introduced.

  It believed the first molds were invented around 1850 in Germany, but some say it was Spain that came up with the first design. The molds made the cigar making process easier and more productive per day. Prior to the molds cigar makers used paper to form the “bunch” instead of the mold. Each morning when cigar factories opened, every cigar makers will received, their allotment of raw material and paper. It was similar to the brown paper in today's groceries bags.  

_Making the cigar entirely by hand was called the “Spanish Hand Method”. While the process with the use of molds was called “Standard Method”.

_The mold was unique tool is made with up to 4 different types of wood, with groves (10 or 20) where the bunch is located is made of cedar, while the top is made of Oak wood (or any hard wood). The covers have layers of cedar and poplar to protect and give integrity to the mold. A wood peg was inserted on the left and right on the top part to fit into round-drilled holes on the bottom for a snug fit and proper alignment.


_In the beginning they used to have 20 spaces for the bunch. Prior to the molds cigars bunches were made by using a strip of paper, to obtain the shape; later (about 60 minutes) the paper is removed and the wrapper leaf was placed. The mold proof to be better to obtain the proper shape and ring size to the “bunch” and therefore a better cigar presentation.But later the ten spaces was better adopted. One set of molds equal five pieces, which can produce fifty cigars.

_Later (1880's) Partagas Cigar Company in Cuba was the first one to used them in order to improve quality and production. In 1870's an American company Miller, DeBrul & Peters, Mfg. Co. patented their version of mold that was largely use by the northern manufacturers and also in Tampa . Many of their molds made in 1900's still in use today.

_Years later in 1903 the Tampa cigar industry decide to introduced them without to much success, cigar makers were reluctant or use to them. The arrival of cigar molds would be met with great resistance. In 1907 cigar makers from both sides Ybor City and West Tampa went on strike when factory owners insisted molds be used. To the cigar artisan, “Hand Made” meant exactly that and to suggest they use a mold was an insult. The strike lasted forty five days and almost broke the cities in the economical sector. Cigar makers reluctantly agreed to use molds and return to work under pressure, but at the end the manufacturers won and proved to be right.

_In Tampa molds were made by Justo Fulgueiras & Son Mfg. Co. which provided for the local, national and international industry. This small company started during 1940's, when a shortage of cigars molds created a crisis to the Tampa industry. They become “master mold makers” and their reputation of a quality product was known worldwide. The company unfortunatelly closed operations in 2003.

At the present time molds are a important part in the cigar manufacturing around the world, and are manufactured in countries such as Cuba , Dominican Republic , Nicaragua , Honduras , United States and Ecuador . During 1900's molds development help to create a variety of shapes and sizes that still in use today…



Synopsis from: (Tobacco Journal – 1956) – “ Molds Influence to the Industry”


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