H & C Flick, Cigar Importers
The Egyptian cigarette industry was one of the main exports in Egypt during the time period from the 1880s to the end of the World War I. Just from reading one week of issues of the Egyptian Gazette, I could tell that cigarettes were a major part of an Egyptian’s life. There was at least one advertisement for cigarettes on each page of the newspaper, but one specific advertisement in particular stood out to me the most: “H. & C. Flick, Cigar Importers.” Now this specific ad might not sound important to anyone else, but to me it was very interesting and got me thinking about my ancestry. I am 99.9% sure that I am not related to these Flick’s, but I wonder what it would be like to be a Flick in Egypt in 1906.
In 1905, Egypt imported a total of 8,078 tonnes of tobacco and a total of 8,377 tonnes in 1906 (Relli Shechter, Smoking, Culture and Economy in the Middle East: The Egyptian Tobacco Market 1850-2000, p. 59 ). The advertisement states that H. & C. Flick was the largest depot of cigars in Egypt, so I can imagine that Flick’s were a very successful in 1906 due to the increase in cigar imports from 1905 to 1906. Egyptian tobacco was usually very poorly made and didn’t taste very well, so most of the cigarettes in Egypt were not made from Egyptian tobacco (EGYPTIAN CIGARETTES AND TOBACCO, Journal of the Royal Society of Arts Vol. 59, No. 3034 (JANUARY 13, 1911), pp. 201-203). Due to Egyptian tobacco not being up to par with what most tourists and immigrants are used to, being a cigarette importer was probably a very good business.
Even though I might not actually be related to H. & C. Flick, I now know that it would probably be a good family business in Egypt in 1906, but it might be harder to be a cigar importer in the United States in 2017 due to all the information about how terrible cigarettes are for our health.
Related Blog Post by ALEX CALIENDO: The Evolution of Cigarette Advertising.