High-status trades indicated by enormous cigars in 1943

This 1943 ad for humongous cigars enumerates all the high-status trades of the day, a strange mix that includes "metallurgist" "dramatist" and "munitions maker."

Who IS that man with the huge ... cigar?


  1. Wasn’t “munitions maker” one of the jobs that was relegated to child slave laborers by the Nazis?

    1. Oh, he doesn’t ‘make’ the munitions himself, he just whips the slave children while they do it. With his free hand, of course. The one not holding the cigar…

    2. I hadn’t ever heard that. Then again when they contracted munitions makers, some of them used Jewish slave labor (ala Schindler’s List). Yessir, when I think of people I want building rounds of ammunition what won’t blow up in my gun, I think kids and Jews who would like me dead 0_O

      The rocket factory in Peenemünde used slave labor, which led to pretty much anything they built not working. I do know they put some Hitler Youth into service early in the war, with groups competing with one another for the privilege. And later pressing into service anyone able to hold a Panzerfaust.

      Anyway – I don’t believe the US used slave labor to make munitions, so I am not sure how that relates to the ads.

      1. I don’t believe the US used slave labor to make munitions, so I am not sure how that relates to the ads. 

        My point was that most jobs that enslaved children are forced to do aren’t exactly the kind of vocation you brag about whilst chomping on a fancy cigar.

        1.  @banshee:disqus : “My point was that most jobs that enslaved children are forced to do aren’t exactly the kind of vocation you brag about whilst chomping on a fancy cigar”

          On the other hand, the whole reason for #OWS is that we are oversupplied with people who *would* brag about enslaving children if it were legal, and are probably plotting to make it so.

  2. Why do I get the feeling today’s “actual” leaders probably smoke a more expensive brand that would never market itself to them in this way, but that a lot of people who would like to be today’s leaders might have bought these ones in the hope that they would seem more leaderly..

    1. Yes, these are standard marketing tactics that continue today… “luxury” brands try to make you think you’ll be like the rich and famous if you buy their product. Meanwhile, the rich and famous don’t go anywhere near those brands unless they’re paid to do so (with some exceptions).

      1. There is a billboard near my house on the highway, which reads: “Update your status” and has a picture of a BMW. It’s got some other stuff that suggests it’s a pun on updating your facebook status, but still. “Buy a BMW to be part of the big leagues!”   

  3. So “successful men who are leaders” didn’t always mean they were in finance or on the campaign trail?

  4. Munition maker, during a war that put millions of people back to work in high-paying factory jobs, wasn’t a profession that was looked down on.

    @chgoliz: Yes, “Dramatist” and “Architect” are interesting choices by today’s standards.

  5. I’m going to guess that he’s a guy who got a male modeling job because all the other guys were gone and the Army didn’t take paroled felons.

  6. I’m increasingly intrigued by Cory’s ongoing fascination with vintage tobacco ads.  Keep ’em coming!

    In what world were “dramatists” ranked amongst “today’s leaders”?

  7. Hardly enormous, rather average.  I’m intrigued though, it’s unusual to see a torpedo tip on a thinner cigar, and then to make it box-pressed to boot.  Very cool.

  8. Just what the heck is going on with the dancing girls? Are the four of them trying to get away from the man with the giant… cigar… while one of them has apparently signed a deal with the devil and is dragging them back in? Seriously? This weird narrative just doesn’t make any sense.

    1. Those would be the tobacco girls, found in better restaurants and night clubs of the era.  They’d carry a tray, with a selection of cigars and cigarettes, around for guests to choose an after-dinner smoke from, just like dessert.

  9. at first i read “munitions maker?” as “munitions?” “maker?” and got excited because they considered makers to be high profile, but then disappointed when i saw it was only munitions makers

  10. The dancing girls represent the five available sizes and shapes for every taste. So while one part of you is thinking of the cigar as a phallic symbol, another part is supposed to think of it as a tiny dancing girl you can play with? I don’t understand what it all means, but Monica Lewinsky should be the Perfecto-Extra.

  11. Were playwrights ever plutocrats?  I know a number or dramatists, and I’m pretty sure none of them keeps a limo driver on staff.

  12. Metallurgist (science), Architect (shelter), Munitions Maker (defense), Dramatist (art), Surgeon (health). All people engaged in useful arts that advance standards of living for the common man. I approve of this 1%. Have a cigar.

  13. I don’t think it’s intended as a laundry list of the professions with the very topmost status. More like a carefully assembled salmagundi tailored to appeal to various vanities and desires.

  14. Middle of WWII, no surprise munitions maker and metallurgist would be there, makes them look patriotic.  Dramatist…look at all the “artistes” you see in movies of that era with a cigar etc.

    Huge cigar?  Hardly.  That’s about a normal size, average cigar really.  Go watch Edward G. Robinson movies if you want to see a good-sized cigar on a man.  (grin)

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