The founder of the industry was Nestor Gianaclis, a Greek who arrived in Egypt in 1864 and in 1871 established a factory in the Khairy Pasha palace in Cairo. Note 1 After the British troops began being stationed in Egypt in 1882, British officers developed a taste for the Egyptian cigarettes and they were soon being exported to the United Kingdom. 1 Gianaclis and other Greek industrialists such as Ioannis Kyriazis of Kyriazi fr res successfully produced and exported cigarettes using imported Turkish tobacco to meet the growing world demand for cigarettes in the closing decades of the nineteenth century.
Egyptian cigarettes made by Gianaclis and others became so popular in Europe and the United States that they inspired a large number of what were, in effect, locally produced counterfeits. Among these was the American Camel brand, established in 1913, which used on its packet three Egyptian motifs the camel, the pyramids, and a palm tree. Fellow Greeks in the United States, also imported or produced such cigarettes for example, S. Anargyros first imported the Egyptian Deities and then produced Murad, Helmar and Mogul, and the Stephano Brothers produced Ramses II. 2
Cigarette production of major manufacturers (all explicitly listed by name being Greek) of luxury cigarettes in Cairo, 1897 1901 3 1897 1899 1901 Company kg cigarettes kg cigarettes kg cigarettes Kyriazi Fr res 76,386 51,726,550 120,987 89,414,500 140,654 108,174,225 Nestor Gianaclis 37,178 30,537,110 55,203 48,025,660 70,680 56,000,000 Dimitrino et Co. 24,569 18,564,135 27,916 21,982,380 30,980 26,000,000 Th. Vafiadis et Co. 21,568 14,033,900 23,861 16,330,060 32,067 23,000,000 M. Melachrino et Co. 17,920 12,096,340 20,782 13,936,626 60,237 46,000,000 Nicolas Soussa Fr res 29,260 24,000,000 Others 47,952 33,583,909 59,224 43,636,800 70,982 64,313,976 Sum 225,573 160,541,944 307,973 233,326,026 434,860 347,288,201 Decline edit
Tastes in Europe and the United States shifted away from Turkish tobacco and Egyptian cigarettes towards Virginia tobacco, during and after the First World War. What remained of the Greek run tobacco industry in Egypt was nationalized after the Egyptian Revolution of 1952. Egyptian made cigarettes were thereafter sold only domestically, and became known for their poor quality (and low price).
Of all the many foreign imitations of Egyptian cigarettes, only Camel survived the remainder of the twentieth century.
In culture edit
Arthur Conan Doyle paid a casual tribute to the popularity of Egyptian cigarettes in his 1904 story “The Adventure of the Golden Pince Nez”, where a character interviewed by Sherlock Holmes in a murder investigation is described as a very heavy consumer of them.
“A smoker, Mr. Holmes?” said he, speaking in well chosen English, with a curious little mincing accent. “Pray take a cigarette. And you, sir? I can recommend them, for I have them especially prepared by Ionides, of Alexandria. He sends me a thousand at a time, and I grieve to say that I have to arrange for a fresh supply every fortnight.
His copious cigarette ash eventually helps Holmes solve the mystery.
Egyptian cigarette advertisements are parodied in Herg ‘s graphic novel Cigars of the Pharaoh. Tintin has a nightmare where characters in ancient Egyptian garb smoke opium laced cigars.
See also edit
- Kyriazi freres
Notes and references edit Notes
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