Smokers' Items

by Mark Nye
Issue No. 341 - September 2001

In this article, the third in a series dealing with Circular Letters, the subject is Smokers items.

Dated July 22, 1938 the first Circular Letter deals with the Pristine 728 five-piece Ash Tray Set.

To All Agents:

Please refer to Circular Letter# 161-1938 concerning the Pristine 728/721 5 piece Ash Tray or Cigarette Set and take note that our future price will be $30.00 a dozen list Packed.

This allows the Set to be sold to the large users at $12.00 a dozen net, which is at the extreme discount.

Concentrate on this item and sea if you can't get the customers to use this as a special for the fall and advertise it at a retail price of $1.95.

You will recall this is the one on which we sent you the Peacock Ad. and they have been using so many.

You have the set now in both Crystal and the Baritone as per C/L #14 dated 7/1/38.

Neither of the Circular Letters referenced in this one have survived. A copy of C/L #5 from July 1, 1938 dealing with the Stack away set being available in Baritone colors has came down to us and it follows. Probably the "Peacock Ad." reference refers to a an advertisement placed by a store named "Peacock" in a local paper. If any of our members know of a store, perhaps a local department or jewelry store, with this name, write and let us know.

To All Agents:

We have decided to put up samples of the Stackaway Ash tray in the Varitone colors, therefore a sample is being sent you, one each, of the trays in Pistachio, Mocha, La Rosa and Moonlight.

We believe you will find a good demand for this set in tie lighter colors as well as the dark colors on which we did so well.

Price is the same as for Crystal or dark colors namely:

  • 6 doz. Lots @ $7.20 per dozen, Net, Packed.
  • Less Lots - $7.80 per dozen, Net, packed.

The subject of a January 8, 1938 letter, #48 for the year, was "Special - Cigarette Sets"

To All Agents:

We call your attention of a Cigarette Set consisting of one of the #616 Cigarette Boxes and four of the #721 Ind. trays.

This makes a very handsome set and at the price at which we are going to let you offer these to the trade, we believe you should do a nice business on them.

We are going to let you use this during the month of February as a special. The price will be $9.00 a dozen in 100 lots and in less lots $9.60 per dozen. Prices NET.

The sample Cigarette Set we are sending you is cut and polished,but the sets we supply will be full fire finished. We doubt whether anybody will be able to tell the difference between the cut and the fire finished.

The #721 square shaped ash tray was already a year old when the previous mailer was issued. Its debut had come on January 28, 1937, with this letter.

To All Agents:

We have made a new Ash Tray which will be known as the Pristine Square Ash Tray #721 fire finished.

The Price will be $3.75 per dozen, subject to regular discounts.

Add to Pristine price list page 6 as follows:

  • 721 2½ in. Ash Tray Square - Plain $3.75

Over two years later, on August 29,1939, Cambridge introduced a larger version of the #721.

To All Agents:

We are sending you a sample of our new #722 - 3½ inch Square Ash Tray, which is made to match the #721 - 2½ inch which has been so popular.

We find that quite a nice set can be made up using one of these new Ash Trays with four of the small ones. It will also make a popular priced set, as this new Ash Tray will list at $7.50. When used with four of the #721's at $3.76, it will make the set list $22.50 doz. sets.

We hope you will be able to send-us sane nice business on this set.

Unfortunately, page 1 of C/L #8 dated July 1, 1938, did no survive. The original untyped version of page 2 had as its subject Ace Ash Tray set line: "Lucky Strike Cigarette Set." On the copy that has come down to us, "Lucky Strike" was crossed out and replaced by the handwritten "ACE." There was no indication at what point in time this change was made. Beginning in August 1939, price lists and catalogs referred to the set as the "ACE Cigarette Set" (shown at right). As many probably remember, Lucky Strike was a cigarette brand. It is possible Cambridge had a potential agreement with the manufacturer to use the brand name that did not materialize or was canceled for some reason unknown to us. This set, known by the catalog number 1500, consisted of a glass base or holder and four ashtrays. The base was Crystal and the ashtrays came in one each of the Varitone colors: Mocha, La Rosa, Moonlight and Pistachio. The ashtrays were known as the 1501 3 in. ashtray. The August 1939 price list offered these sets at $18.00 per dozen list or if ordering five dozen or more, list price was $16.50. The only known Cambridge illustration of the set is in the 1940 Cambridge catalog and, along with the holder and ashtrays, there appears to be a pack of cigarettes in the center. Perhaps this was the original tie-in to Lucky Strike cigarettes.

The illustration of the 1500 "Ace" set was taken from the catalog - and is reprinted as it originally appeared. The other illustration (below) with this article have been taken from their original 1940 catalog pages, reversed and combined into the partial pages reprinted here This is not an original page nor are the items shown to scale.

Smokers items