Rummaging around in the knee walls today J found an old pack of Marlboro Cigarettes.
Of course as the consumate researcher she went straight to Google. As of 8:20 PM this evening here's what we know...
Discovery #1: Jeanne was unable to find a package online that matched this. Therefore, she assumes the pack dates from between 1902 (when Phillip Morris first became a US corporation and started selling its British brands, including one called Marlboro) and 1950 (the earliest package she found).
Discovery #2: The pack has a stamp stating "20 Grade A Cigarettes," which means it has to be from after 1911, because Fatima was the first major brand to be sold in packs of 20.
Discovery #3: Ah ha! "In 1924, Philip Morris introduces the mass market Marlboro, a women's cigarette that is "Mild as May"." (A women's cigarette...really?)
And that's as far as we got...the package dates some time between 1924 and 1950. That time period is actually strange, since our house was built in 1914. The pack was actually in a dead space behind a wall where the chimney passes through. Someone must have gone in there after the original construction and worked on the chimney or something.
In case anyone is interested, here are a few more distinguishing characteristics that could help to date it more definitively:
And finally, since no entry on vintage cigarettes should conclude without mention of how awful smoking is or how deceitful big tobacco has historically been, here's a doosey from a 1943 Phillip Morris ad in the National Medical Review:
"'Don't smoke' is advice hard for patients to swallow. May we suggest instead 'Smoking Philip Morris?' Tests showed three out of every four cases of smokers' cough cleared on changing to Philip Morris. Why not observe the results for yourself?"
(Note: Most of the facts came from the excellent timeline here.)