Station: [12] Smoking Table

In the centre of the room, the smoking table from 1920 has been festooned with images and decorative borders from old cigar boxes. This table once belonged to Josef Kasper, a cigar manufacturer from the town of Grafenhausen. It reflects the spirit of the times, which is also evident in the marketing of cigars back then.

The German empire, now lost, love for the fatherland, and the war heroes August von Mackensen and Paul von Hindenburg were the subjects these gentlemen discussed over their beer and cigars. 

Tobacco products, above all cigarettes, took on an important role in the First World War. In the trenches, cigarettes were often the only thing that briefly distracted the soldiers. During periods of existential privation, money lost its significance, and instead, the soldiers used cigarettes as currency and a means of exchange. 

Wives stayed at home in the evenings and looked after the household and the children, while the men met up in the pub or the smokers’ saloon. In the past, this allocation of roles was long taken for granted.

Gentlemen bought their cigars at the counter or from a machine. If you take a look at the display case to the right of the window, you can see two such machines from the 19th century. They’re especially rare and would have been found in pubs. A regular customer didn’t even need to bring his pipe. It was kept there, often by the landlord, along with his personal beer mug. 

But back to the cigar – the next stops are devoted to the story of its success.

All depictions: © Oberrheinisches Tabakmuseum Mahlberg