Info, please: M. B. Cannon - Murnon from 1910's

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ThePiedPiper

Lurker
Dec 18, 2023
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Welcome from the Central Coast of California!

Title shortened. Original:


M. B. Cannon - Murnon from 1910's. Anyone know anything about this company/brand?


I bought these bags on a whim at a local auction and wanted to see if any tobacco historians here could help shed some light on what I've got. From what I can tell, Cannon's was a cigar/tobacco shop in Ohio. Not sure when they were founded or when they went out of business.

These look to be from 1910 (the bigger package) and 1917 (the smaller packages). I haven't opened any of them, but I can see/feel some soft metal inside the wrapping - tin, maybe? No discernible smell from the outside of the wrapping. I have no idea what kind of blend these are.

I'm going to dig around online to see if I can find any additional info and will keep you all updated!

murnon1.jpgmurnon2.jpgmurnon3.jpgmurnon4.jpg
 

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ThePiedPiper

Lurker
Dec 18, 2023
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At some point I would like to try some, but I want to do some research first to see how to best approach it. For example, is it best to smoke these sorts of old tobaccos right out of the package, or should I try to rehydrate it first?
 
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Briarcutter

Can't Leave
Aug 17, 2023
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Well, it says right on the package,"will be kept in perfect condition in any climate". So I'd give it a try and then decide.
 

Searock Fan

Lifer
Oct 22, 2021
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Interesting find! Two thoughts: First, the tobacco would not be smokable any more. Second, don't open them, if you do the collector value will drop like a rock! puffy
 
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ThePiedPiper

Lurker
Dec 18, 2023
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What a cool find. Chances are, given their age, they will taste really awful if they taste of anything at all, though maybe slightly less awful if they're burley. If you're expecting an amazing smoking experience, you may experience one in the worst possible manner.
I'm anticipating as much--I bought these for the oddity factor and the chance for an "interesting" smoke. I'm definitely not expecting a very good one!
 

greeneyes

Lifer
Jun 5, 2018
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jguss

Lifer
Jul 7, 2013
2,553
6,799
Very cool stuff greeneyes. I can add the Maxey Benton Cannon (1886-1971) opened his cigar/tobacco newsstand about 1916-17, and ran it until he died some 55 years later. His son James was involved in his father's business when he was young but went into banking as an adult and stayed in it the rest of his life. I suspect the newsstand closed with CB's death.

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ThePiedPiper

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Dec 18, 2023
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That third URL is actually the auction I bought these at lol
 
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ThePiedPiper

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Dec 18, 2023
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Very cool stuff greeneyes. I can add the Maxey Benton Cannon (1886-1971) opened his cigar/tobacco newsstand about 1916-17, and ran it until he died some 55 years later. His son James was involved in his father's business when he was young but went into banking as an adult and stayed in it the rest of his life. I suspect the newsstand closed with CB's death.

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Really interesting! Thanks for tracking this info down. Judging from the seals on these packs, they must have been from around when he first opened that store?
 

jguss

Lifer
Jul 7, 2013
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Really interesting! Thanks for tracking this info down. Judging from the seals on these packs, they must have been from around when he first opened that store?

I’m no expert on tax stamps but believe a new series was not issued every year; the 1910 would be used until it was succeeded by the 1917, and so forth. So your larger packet could date to the early days of the business in the mid teens, and the smaller ones a few years later. But perhaps someone who better understands tax stamps will chime in.
 
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jguss

Lifer
Jul 7, 2013
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If the seller had thought to characterize the contents of CB ‘s correspondence as highly erotic and available to mature buyers only the letters would have sold already, and for much more money.
 

ThePiedPiper

Lurker
Dec 18, 2023
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So I was going to wait a little longer before cracking into one of these, but considering that today is International Pipe Smoking Day, I figured that there's no better time to test some of this out.

1.jpg
This package is over 100 years old and, all things considered, in nearly pristine condition. Truthfully, part of me feels like I'm desecrating something by opening this up. But I am of the opinion that tobacco was meant to be smoked.

2.jpg
Opening up the outside paper, I can get a better view of the foil inside.

3.jpgI'm fairly certain that this is tin foil. It's a little thicker and more rigid than aluminum foil. At this stage, I still can't smell anything when I hold my nose to the foil package.

4.jpg
Opening up the foil, I can see that the tobacco itself is wrapped in a layer of paper. I'm by no means an expert, so I can't identify what kind of blend this is based on sight alone. The coloring isn't uniform; it's definitely a blend of some kind. It looks similar to the English blends I am familiar with--Nightcap, Engine 99, and the like.

To my surprise, I can smell a tobaccoey sweetness. It's faint and mingled with the mellow mustiness of age, but it's there.


5.jpg
I poured half the package into a jar. Here, you can see the coloring a little better. This stuff is beyond dry. It's crispy. I want to try rehydrating this to see if it makes a difference in the taste/smoking, but that'll be a project for another day.

6.jpg
I figured that any taste I'll be able to get out of this tobacco will be very faint, so I'm smoking it out of a new clay pipe. That way, I can be sure that any flavors I pick up are from this tobacco and not the remnants of some other blend I'd smoked previously or flavors from the pipe itself.

As far as the taste goes: Before smoking this, I was expecting, at best, the taste of papery hot air, and at worst, the bitterness of burning mold. But wow, was I pleasantly surprised. To preface, I have neither the experience, palate, nor vocabulary to be a very good tobacco reviewer, but I can tell you that this tastes like an English blend to me. It's muted, sure, but it's still an English--and a pretty good one at that. Everything I've read about aged tobaccos suggests that Latakia's flavor fades with time, but I swear I can still taste that smoky goodness. Or is that just the complex flavor of a hundred-year-old Virginia? I don't really know. I can't pick up any casing on this--if it ever had one, it faded long ago, probably during the latter years of the Roosevelt administration.

My pipe was 3/4 full, but this was a very quick smoke, likely due to how dry this stuff was. Hopefully my rehydration experiment pays off!

To be continued...