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What Did People Do If Caught in Tobacco Shortages Long Ago

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  • Started 10 months ago by bluto
  • Latest reply from prairiedruid
  1. bluto

    bluto

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    Wondering what pipe smokers may have turned to long ago , during a time when tobacco may have been scarce , during wars , The Great Depression ..

    The two stories I have heard from old timers was from back in the 1930s when tobacco was hard to come by , they would sometimes smoke black tea

    Alternatively , there is a common weed , they called it 'goats tobacco ' , it was cut and dried and smoked when times were tough

    Edited by jvnshr: Title capitalization (please check Rule #9)

    “listen: there’s a hell
    of a good universe next door; let’s go”
    Posted 10 months ago #
  2. chasingembers

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    From my own collection, War and Depression era pipes had extremely small bowls.

    Damnation seize my soul if I give you quarters, or take any from you.
    -Edward Teach
    Posted 10 months ago #
  3. bluto

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    From what I have seen , soldiers from the 17 th century used small clay pipes

    So small they could be concealed in hand , because smoking on guard duty was not allowed ..

    Posted 10 months ago #
  4. anthonyrosenthal74

    anthonyrosenthal74

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    Some may have smoked kinnikinnick.

    Arrrrr, shiver me timbers! International Talk Like a Pirate Day is September the 19th!!!
    Brothers Of The Black Frigate
    Posted 10 months ago #
  5. workman

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    Where I live, The Faroe Islands, tobacco shortage was a problem back in the 19th century and further. Chewing tobacco and later tobacco for smoking was considered beneficial for all kinds of ailments. It was a painkiller, antiseptic, used for removing ticks and fleas, a remedy for hunger etc. Apart from the obvious enjoyment it gave. It is well documented, that the local parliament sometimes tested the quality of tobacco shipments and found them inferior, prompting grievous letters to the king. This was no mere hobby, it was life or death. But I have no imformation of any substitute for tobacco.

    Smoking is one of the leading causes of all statistics.
    Posted 10 months ago #
  6. chasingembers

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    Some may have smoked kinnikinnick.

    I still do from time to time. Usually on season starts and to honor my ancestry.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  7. bluto

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    Is that lingonberry ? Can it be made into tea ..

    Posted 10 months ago #
  8. mso489

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    This doesn't relate to tobacco substitutes, but of course during the Great Depression the harvesting of cigarette and cigar butts was pretty common, right off the sidewalk or from the gutter or ashtray. Some stuck them directly in their mouthes, I guess, and others recycled the dry part in a pipe or rolling paper if they had it. Sherlock Holmes, who was not depicted as poor, would go through his own ashtray and pick out the unburned pieces to re-use. When tobacco was shipped all the way back from the new world in the 16th and 17th Centuries, it had to be expensive, so smoking had to be more of a special indulgence now and then rather than a habit. Native Americans had a wide array of herbs they smoked and blended. The Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens character Huck Finn smoked corn silk in a cob pipe. During the Long March of Communist forces in retreat in China, tobacco was a luxury afforded the leadership in good supply, which I don't think was Marx's idea, but was predictable. During WWII, when food, gasoline, and many other products were tightly rationed, tobacco products were widely distributed to the troops as a matter of morale. Briar pipes were hard to get and substitutes like Mountain Laurel were used; hence soon after the war many new pipes were stamped "Imported Briar" to emphasize this important material restored to the pipe market.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  9. woodsroad

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    Many died.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  10. hoosierpipeguy

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    I suspect many simply did without.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  11. olkofri

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    @ Workman: are there any records of the earliest use of tobacco in the Faroes? As in which century did the Norse start using it.

    Not the sweet, new grass with flowers is this harvesting of mine;
    Not the upland clover bloom...
    Posted 10 months ago #
  12. chasingembers

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    Is that lingonberry ? Can it be made into tea ..

    The blend I smoke contains bear berry, osha root, mullien, red willow, and yerba santa.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  13. warren

    warren

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    Stole from those who hoarded or tried to gain from selling their hoard at exorbitant prices. Stay tuned, what goes round might come round again.

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 10 months ago #
  14. hoosierpipeguy

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    Stole from those who hoarded or tried to gain from selling their hoard at exorbitant prices. Stay tuned, what goes round might come round again

    You say that as if you believe it would be justified.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  15. warren

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    Naw! I'm looking forward to enjoying the extra cash in me pocket.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  16. hoosierpipeguy

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    Kewl. You smoke your cash, I'll smoke good, aged tobacco.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  17. mso489

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    Many Forums members have more tobacco on hand than various European kings who smoked in earlier centuries, I surmise.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  18. huntertrw

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    What did people do if caught in tobacco shortages long ago

    The late author Shelby Foote indirectly commented on this in an interview by Larry O'Connor titled Civil Discourse which appeared in the Fall 1997 issue of Pipes and Tobaccos magazine. It states, in part:

    P&T: Speaking of the Civil War, our readers would probably like to know if pipe smoking had a significant role in it.

    SF: Absolutely. A lot of the men smoked pipes. Tobacco was a prized object. The Confederates had tobacco and the Northerners had coffee, and they used to swap whenever there was a truce. There were some informal ways to exchange things, without killing each other.

    P&T: Specifically the tobacco-coffee barter?

    SF: Yes, that was the swap. The Northerners got an issue of coffee. And there was practically no coffee in the South. They used all kinds of substitutes, especially peanuts ground up.

    P&T: There's a wonderful scene in your novel "Shiloh," where Confederate soldiers overrun the abandoned tents of retreating Union forces and then stop to guzzle the steaming coffee left behind, one soldier chugging it right from the pot.

    SF: They were crazy for coffee and, as the war went on, it got rarer and rarer. There was never any coffee grown in the South, and the Northern blockade kept the South from getting it.

    P&T: And tobacco was grown in the South, but not in the North...

    SF: So it made a good swap.

    P&T: How often would an exchange take place?

    SF: Anytime there was some kind of truce...when there were burial details out, that would be an occasion, or when the armies had been in position for a long time on opposite sides of a river. They'd even make little boats with sails on them that they would sail back and forth to each other to make the exchange.

    Love Me, Love My Pipe
    Posted 10 months ago #
  19. warren

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    My intent would be to quit burning up my moneys. Unfortunately I ... have money to burn, as the rest of you obviously do. The money wafting to the sky or ceiling simply reminds me of my personal weakness. I'm not happy with that but, my love of nicotine over-rules the financial side of my brain. That provides the drive for more money as, I believe like water in California, tobacco will always be available for those who can afford it. So the thought of a shortage of blends and other tobacco products never seriously enters my mind. I might have to adjust my budget a bit but, I won't be deprived of tobacco products. Or, if I choose to quit smoking ... I still win.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  20. hoosierpipeguy

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    Admittedly, you have created a win-win outcome in your mind which is a good thing. I've been smoking McClelland St James Woods this past week which painfully reminded me this is the one McClelland blend I was unable to purchase as many tins as I wanted. IMHO, pipe tobacco is so cheap right now, it would be a bad decision financially to not cellar a lot of it.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  21. cosmicfolklore

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    I would argue that tobacco was NOT only grown in the South. It may have only been cultivated as a large scale crop down here, but tobacco has history in Michigan and many other Northern States. And, as to who would face shortages would be the question. During the Depression and two World Wars, tobacco was plentiful in rural areas, and that is why it was called a “poor man’s pleasure.” Those who lived in more urban areas and could not grow their agricultural products were the worst off. But, for many, if you had room to farm, you had tobacco. You may have had no one to sell to, and both Northern and Southern troops may have stolen your crops, tobacco was a little easier to hide, as many farmers would bury their tobacco harvest anyways.

    Even in the future, I am not afraid of any shortages of tobacco. But, folks that can’t or don’t grow their own foods and products may have legitimate fears. Tobacco is a quick crop. Long warm seasons down here, allow me two harvests of tobacco in a year. I cut the stalks, and even now, I have a second set of tobacco coming up behind it. And, we won’t get a frost until early December or maybe mid November on a fluke year.

    Michael
    Posted 10 months ago #
  22. hoosierpipeguy

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    I grew up in Southern Indiana. My neighbor grew his own tobacco. He turned it into chewing tobacco but it was tobacco nonetheless. I can remember the leafs hanging in his barn.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  23. paulie66scandinavian

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    During the second WW ,even here up North in Finland it was very popular to grow tobacco in the rural areas.

    Paul The Scandinavian'
    Posted 10 months ago #
  24. seacaptain

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    Many Forums members have more tobacco on hand than various European kings who smoked in earlier centuries, I surmise.

    I don't. But I do have more electricity and flushing toilets than they did.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  25. cosmicfolklore

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    Hey Seacaptain, as soon as I get over the “ick” factor of doing my business inside the house... blech, I will get me one of those fancy toilets.

    Posted 10 months ago #
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    thehappypiper

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    On the subject of shortages, I have been told by several Czechs that during the Russian Occupation, food was so limited that beer played a significant role in supplying calories to the population. I had a Czech girlfriend who told me what it was like during these shortages. Word would get around the workplace/office that something...say oranges were now available at such and such a street. So everyone would nominate one person to leave work to queue and everyone would give her/him as much money as they could afford and s/he'd disappear for the afternoon. Sometimes s/he'd come back and everyone would be happy. Sometimes the product would have run out before her turn to buy.
    Another friend went to Moscow in the 80s. She stayed in a decent hotel, but her evening meal consisted of one large beefsteak tomato and some black bread.
    The mother of a Chinese student I used to tutor told me that when she was growing up in Jiangsu Province, her entire family used to live on about 800 rmb per month. That's $100. During the same conversation she told me of her Chinese Building Firm's plan to build a new 5 star hotel not far from where she used to live. She is the CFO.
    What a change

    Posted 10 months ago #
  27. bluto

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    Pilsner urquell .. good stuff

    Posted 10 months ago #
  28. workman

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    @olkofri: I don't think there are any records from warehouses or stores that go that far back. There is no reference to tobacco in the sagas of Leif the Lucky and his trips to Newfoundland, if that's what you are thinking about. I will venture the guess that people here used tobacco in the same way and at the same time as the rest of Europe, maybe with a fifty or so years delay, as we are on the outskirts of Europe.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  29. olkofri

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    Yes, that's kind of what I was thinking about. I've read the Sagas and no mention of it. Guess the relationships with natives went sour before they had a chance to pass the leaf on. Ah well, there goes that line of scholarly research.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  30. jvnshr

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    Stole from those who hoarded

    Simply, peck is in danger.

    Javan
    Posted 10 months ago #
  31. 5star

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    Hmmm . . . maybe I should ‘balance the portfolio’ and buy some more coffee

    "You are remembered for the rules you break." - General Douglas MacArthur
    Posted 10 months ago #
  32. seldom

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    I've read that the Marshall Plan included very large shipments of tobacco to Germany free of charge (69,000 tons in 1949 alone). Of course the Nazi's were totally against tobacco claiming it was a vice spread by Jewish and black people so this part of the Marshall Plan not only helped American tobacco farmers but also went against fascist doctrine.
    At the close of World War II things were bleak for German and other European smokers. I've read accounts of men waiting outside American army quarters hoping to score a cigarette butt with some tobacco on it.

    Seldom Seen
    Posted 10 months ago #
  33. workman

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    @Seldom: I have read a lot about WWII and Hitler, but have never seen any reference to politics on tobacco consumption. Your comment made me google it, and of course you are correct. Also they used for their propaganda the fact that Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt were smokers where Hitler, Mussolini and Franco were not. At least not openly, as I think I remember reading somewhere that Mussolini was an occasional smoker, but was too afraid of Hitler to tell him.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  34. seldom

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    Workman; Nazi anti-smoking is a bit of history I think of when I hear people complain about "anti-smoking Nazis". They are often more accurate than they realize!

    Posted 10 months ago #
  35. workman

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    It's ironic that "Unser Führer" was heavily addicted to all kinds of drugs instead.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  36. mikethompson

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    Well I remember reading that soldiers would be given a small bottle of brandy on Hitler's birthday during the early years of the war as well. I've never heard about tobacco being included in the Marshall Plan before, that's interesting.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  37. eaglewriter1

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    Well appearently during the first World war, Tobacco Rations for Soldiers and civilians could be made up of as far as up to 80% of various Foilage. And only the Rest being Tobacco. So what you do during a shortage? If you dont have enough, stretch it. And no I dont want to know how that stuff smoked.^^

    Posted 10 months ago #
  38. eaglewriter1

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    Also appearently some people turned to smoking good old Galium odoratum being woodruff, being one of the first leaves to be smoked in europe even before tobacco became a thing. Wich I would not recommend replicating as this stuff is ever so sligthly poisonus.

    Posted 10 months ago #
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    molach95

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    Workman's description of Faroese culture in relation to tobacco closely matches that of Scotland. Here tobacco was also believed to have medicinal properties at one time, particularly in relation to typhoid and fleas. It was common among Scottish Gypsies/Travellers to start children smoking as young as 4 or 5 for that reason. I know in the Hebrides (Islands off the West Coast of Scotland) people smoked black tea leaves in their pipes when tobacco was unavailable c. 100 years ago and silverweed roots, or possibly the leaves (I don't know exactly) weere also dried and smoked. It was a fairly common thing to resort to these alternatives I gather as tobacco was not grown here and need to be brought to the local shops in the Highlands and Islands.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  40. bluto

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    Sailors on HMRS would be rationed a quart of rum daily , the tradition was abandoned in modern times , but really not so long ago ..

    Also heard of tea leaves being smoked when there was little tobacco to be had in the colonies

    Posted 9 months ago #
  41. warren

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    And, the rum was heavily, I mean heavily, cut with water and was termed grog.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  42. bluto

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    I can recall some of the original navy rum , I think one of them was called ‘lemonhart’ , could have been 100 ~ 150 British proof in its day
    You could light it with a match

    80 proof stuff is a latter day invention designed for regulation

    Posted 9 months ago #
  43. warren

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    When undiluted rum was served there was a test to prove the purity. If after soaking gunpowder in the rum, the powder still burned, the rum was considered to be uncut and, I guess, fit to be doled out.

    Crewmen got a cup (normally a 1/2 pint) of grog a day, maybe more for holidays or before the gun smoke and splinters started. Officers and under aged seamen did not get rum/grog issued. Non-drinkers were given three pennies a day instead of the "tot". Royal Navy and East India Company ships were not tolerant of drunkenness in crew or officers. Not that such was all that rare as various "home brew" products were made, below decks, to augment the grog ration.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  44. prairiedruid

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    Sumac leaves and drupes can be added to stretch your tobacco supply. I may have to run out and pick some to give it a try.

    Posted 9 months ago #

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