Tumbler Pigeon, from the Birds of America series (N4) for Allen & Ginter Cigarettes Brands
Trade cards from the "Birds of America" series (N4), issued in 1888 in a series of 50 cards to promote Allen & Ginter Brand Cigarettes.
Issued by Allen & Ginter (American, Richmond, Virginia)
Allen and Ginter, a tobacco manufacturing company founded in 1865 by John Allen and Lewis Ginter in Richmond, Virginia, created the first cigarette cards for collecting and trading in the United States. The first tobacco company to employ female labor, by 1886 they had 1,100 employees, predominantly girls, who rolled the cigarettes. The Company history ended when in 1880, Allen and Ginter offered a prize for the invention of the machine able to roll cigarettes. Inventor James Albert Bonsack won the prize. But all but one of the large tobacco manufacturers, including Allen and Ginter itself, declined to buy the machine because it was not 100% reliable. James Buchanan Duke did buy the machine invention in 1885 and by 1890 he had consolidated his four major competitors, including Allen & Ginter, and formed the American Tobacco Company. The "Allen & Ginter Company" was no more, but Lewis Ginter sat on the board of the American Tobacco Company.
Alois Senefelder, the inventor of lithography, introduced the subject of colored lithography in 1818. Printers in other countries, such as France and England, were also started producing color prints. The first American chromolithograph—a portrait of Reverend F. W. P. Greenwood—was created by William Sharp in 1840. Chromolithographs became so popular in American culture that the era has been labeled as "chromo civilization". During the Victorian times, chromolithographs populated children's and fine arts publications, as well as advertising art, in trade cards, labels, and posters. They were also used for advertisements, popular prints, and medical or scientific books.