History of The Cigar Store Indian

Everyone asks us all of the time, “What is history of the Cigar Store Indian statue”, so here is some history for everyone.  All of us have seen a Cigar Store Indian outside and inside of Cigar Stores, chain tobacco stores, general stores and more.  This sculptures were made as an advertisement for the public to show that the store is a tobacco shop which is as significant to the red and white barber shop poles outside of their location.

Cigar Store Indians date back to the 17th Century and due to many of the people being illiterate, shop owners started using symbols then figures to advertise their goods as not many could read the signs anyway.  These shops wanted to stand out in a way so that the townspeople would no where to go and use this as a “landmark” for their location which was fantastic advertising.  The “Indian” was appropriate to the trade as the American Indians introduced the Europeans with tobacco crop.

Carvers in 17th century Europe, constructed the very first Cigar Store Indian in which they used their imagination to depict what an “Indian” looked like as these carvers never saw one for themselves.  A lot of the early Cigar Store Indians looked more like Africans than Native Americans which was quite interested but a true piece of tobacco history.  American tobacco shops decided to start using Cigar Store Indians back in the late 18th century the American carvers were able to make more authentic Native American carvings that still look amazing in today’s time.

All of our world famous Cigar Store Indians are hand-carved from solid mahogany, kiln dried and painted with no two “exact” ones.  We do styles of them and each one has a distinct personality to them that everyone will enjoy for many years to come.  Take a look around our site or give us a call anytime Monday thru Friday, 9-3 Eastern Standard Time at (302) 738-2190.  Want to send us an email inquiry?  Select the ordering info page or click here.