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Chewing tobacco

This chewing tobacco was produced by Imperial Tobacco Canada in the first half of the 20th century. The Granby factory, where the canning is done, specializes in the production of this type of tobacco and pipe tobacco. Chewing tobacco is consumed by chewing it for a while and then spitting it into a spittoon.

The Indigenous Peoples were smoking tobacco since before the arrival of the Europeans in the Americas. Over time, different ways of smoking tobacco have become associated with different social groups and have been given a symbolic charge. For example, snuff (powdered tobacco inhaled through the nose) and cigars are considered more sophisticated and are popular with the upper classes. In contrast, the pipe is adopted by the working classes. The act of smoking is associated with the male gender and was long frowned upon for women.

Chewing tobacco is initially popular with soldiers and sailors in the southern United States. In the aftermath of the Civil War, it spreads to different social spheres and becomes popular around the world. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, chewing is a social activity. Households, as well as public places, are commonly equipped with spittoons to receive tobacco spits. The arrival of the cigarette on the market in the 20th century replaces other forms of smoking for all genders and classes.

In homes, the metal containers in which tobacco is sold are often reused as storage containers for various materials and objects.


Date: First half of the 20th century

Origin: Granby

Owner: Magasin général historique authentique 1928. Percé.


Gouvernement du Québec. (n.d.). Usine Imperial Tobacco [Imperial Tobacco factory]. Répertoire du patrimoine culturel du Québec. Retrieved July 28, 2022, from https://www.patrimoine-culturel.gouv.qc.ca/rpcq/detail.do?methode=consulter&id=191017&type=bien

Seymour, C. M., & Gordon, P. (2006, February 7). Tobacco-Product Industry. In The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved July 22, 2022, from https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/tobacco-products-industry

Ferland, C. (2007). Mémoires tabagiques. L’usage du tabac, du XVe siècle à nos jours [Smoking memories. Tobacco use, from the 15th century onward]. Drogues, santé et société, 6(1), 17–48. https://id.erudit.org/iderudit/016942ar

Illustration: Chewing tobacco