Cigar making in Lima, Ohio   Save
Ohio History Connection
Description: This is a photo of 2 men working somewhere in the Deisel-Wemmer-Gilbert cigar factory. The cigars can be seen completed in stacks, so it can be assumed that this is either the quality checking process or boxing process. The company was started by Harry Diesel in 1884. Diesel started out by calling his cigars "Harry's Best" and were hand-rolled out of his house. As popularity grew, Diesel could afford a shop on North Main Street and hired some workers to help him with his business in 1886. Two years later in 1888, his workers formed a union and went on strike for more money. Diesel gave in to the demands, but needed a partner to deal with the effects of the strike. He teamed up with brothers Henry and William Wemmer and changed the name of his cigar company to the Diesel-Wemmer Company. The company moved to several different locations as demand for the company's cigars grew and the need for a bigger space and more workers were needed. The Diesel-Wemmer company would eventually end up running 17 plants and employing 4,000 people, mostly women. The invention of the cigar-rolling machine put a dent in the amount of people needed to make cigars. One of these machines could produce 3,500 cigars a day and only needed 4 men to operate. The company continued to roll their cigars by hand for a while but, once the technology improved, moved to machine-rolled cigars. In 1925, cigar production declined and Diesel-Wemmer eventually merged with the Gilbert Cigar Company creating the Diesel-Wemmer-Gilbert Cigar Company (DWS) with Gilbert now controlling the company. Gilbert would control the company through the depression until 1939 when Norman Schwartz would take over as manager for Gilbert. After the war, DWS would buy out several other cigar manufacturers and become the 5th largest cigar producer in the United States making 56 million cigars a year. In 1990, after 106 years of operation, DWS would be out of business due to declining sales and the shrinking cigar market in the United States. A calendar can be seen on the wall, assuming it is correct, the photo was taken sometime in April of 1937. View on Ohio Memory.
Image ID: SA1039AV_B07F08_012_1
Subjects: Lima (Ohio)--History--Pictorial works; Tobacco industry; Cigar industry;
Places: Lima (Ohio); Allen County (Ohio)