Philip Morris, Ltd.
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Philip Morris was a London Tobacconist in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
In 1902, the new king, formerly Prince Albert, appointed as his royal tobacconist the firm of Philip Morris, Ltd., thereby reaffirming a relationship that had begun a quarter-century earlier when, as H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, Albert had dubbed the Bond Street boutique as main supplier of cigarettes, his favorite form of smoking and one which he made popular in Britain's fashionable circles.
By then the Morris family had long disappeared as proprietors. On Philip's death in 1873, his widow, Margaret, and brother Leopold took over the business, soon boosted by the cachet of Prince Albert's patronage. Leopold Morris brought out his sister-in-law in 1880 and was joined in the ownership by Joseph Grunebaum; their advancing prosperity was confirmed the following year, when a public offering of stock ownership for sixty thousand pounds was oversubscribed six-fold, allowing the company to open manufacturing facilities at Poland and on Marlborough Streets. Their Bond Street shop by that time had a well-established competitor near by, operated by Messrs. Richard Benson and William Hedges. By 1889, the year Buck Duke was forging his American tobacco combine, Little Philip Morris Ltd., was offering free samples of its painted cork-tipped brands by posting and promising that they brought "luxury to the lips and prevent all tongue and throat irritation."
The company gained ground until Leopold Morris was smitten by an opera singer. His attractions were massed by her expensive taste. By 1894, the firm was in the hands of creditors, and when it emerged from receivership, it was controlled by William Curtis Thomson and his family. The Thomsons nursed Philip Morris back to health, but it was still far too small a business to rate inclusion among the leading British manufacturers united as Imperial Tobacco in 1901. But, its standing newly enhanced by the appointment as tobacconists to the crown, Philip Morris grew more prominent and began advertising in chic English periodicals. In a discreet 1907 ad, for example, the company called itself manufacturers of "highest grade Turkish cigarettes," of which the most popular were "Philip Morris Original London Cigarettes," which came in a little brown cedar wood box. Another British ad of that period depicted a uniformed page boy in a pill box hat, he was proffering the reader a trade bearing cigarette packs; the headline read, "Call for Philip Morris." (adapted from a passage in Ashes to Ashes: America's Hundred-Year Cigarette War, the Public Health, and the Unabashed Triumph of Philip Morris, by Richard Kluger).
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