The New Student's Reference Work/Tobacco


Tobac′co, species of Nicotiana, a genus of the nightshade family. N. tabacum is the best-known species, but N. rustica is also much cultivated. The latakia of Syria and the commonly cultivated tobaccos of Cuba, the Philippines and the United States belong to N. tabacum. Turkish and Hungarian tobacco belong to N. rustica. Common tobacco (N. tabacum), grows from two to eight feet high. Its leaves are lanceolate, oblong or ovate in shape, from 12 to 42 inches long and eight to 24 wide. They are in turn so attached to the stem that the first is below the ninth and the second under the tenth. A hundred varieties of common tobacco are cultivated, distinguished by color, shape, size and texture of leaves; by fitness for different soils and uses; by different colors in the plants during growth; and by other points. Some ripen in six weeks, others are slow to ripen. Tobacco was introduced to the civilized world by the discovery of America, where the natives were found using it. The valuable properties are found in the leaves, which are dried and cured. More tobacco is produced in the United States than in any other country, but it supplies less than half the tobacco of commerce. Five leading types are grown in this country. Seed-leaf tobacco includes all tobacco for cigars, and is raised in the Connecticut and Housatonic valleys, Florida, Miami Valley, northern Illinois, some counties of central New York, southern Wisconsin and the Susquehanna valley of Pennsylvania. White Burley tobacco is mainly used for making plug and fine-cut chewing tobacco and the lower grades of pipe-tobacco. There also are heavy or dark tobacco and yellow tobacco, Danville, Va., being the greatest market in the world for the latter. This is used for plug, wrappers, high-grade pipe-tobacco and granulated tobacco in cigarets. American perique is grown only in Louisiana. Tobacco demands a strong and heavily manured soil. The soil's color influences that of tobacco, and its elements the quality of the cured product. Tobacco is cultivated much like cabbage. It is cured, that is, has the sap dried out, by airing it or by heating it. It then is prepared for market by sorting it into grades, which number from two to ten according to the variety of the plant; packed and pressed in boxes; and then fermented or sweated in the warehouse. In 1910 the product of the United States was 984,349,000 pounds from 1,213,800 acres, and on the farm it was valued at $91,458,773. Russia in 1909 produced 176,953,000 pounds; Hungary 189,652,000 (in 1909); Japan 91,845,000 (in 1909); Turkey 100,000,000; Germany 62,122,000 (in 1909); Brazil 65,679,000; France 54,610,000; Java 49,100,000; Sumatra 46,500,000; Cuba 59,323,000; and the Philippines 40,258,000. The total product of the world one year was 2,046,817,000 pounds. The value of American tobacco-products in 1905 was $331,117,681. Cigars and cigarets were 64.7% of this value, chewing and smoking tobacco and snuff 35.3%. The making of cigars and cigarets is one of the few factory-industries pursued in every state and territory. New York leads, followed by Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio and Illinois. It is grown as a commercial product in almost every state of the Union, Kentucky very far exceeding all other states in acreage under cultivation. The next states in order of production are North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Outside of the United States the cultivation of tobacco is chiefly in tropical and semitropical countries, Vuelta del Abajo, a rich plain in Cuba, producing the finest grades.