Re: Dating Rattray's Tobacco?



On Dec 26, 8:54 am, Straightgrain <straightgr...@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Here's an excerpt from John Loring's "Dating English Tinned
Tobacco" (1999) that should clear things up:

More mistakes are made in dating Rattray tobacco tins than with any
other brand. The key is to generally disregard the label and look at
the tin itself.

Rattray was a Scottish tobacconist who closed up shop in about 1980
but whose highly regarded pipe tobacco blends continue to the present
day. Up to about 1970 all Rattray tobacco was blended by Rattray and
came in tall thin 4 ounce 'knife lid' (or briefly in the 1960's in 4
ounce 'lever') tins. These tins were all labeled 'Made by Rattray'.
[For reasons unknown the Highland Targe label has never been imprinted
either 'Made by' or 'Made for' and dating of this blend has to be done
by the tin top and bottom alone.] It is generally thought that Rattray
continued blending all of its blends for another ten years and then,
in 1980, turned them over to Robert McConnell, a fine English blender.
However, based on a conversation related by Irwin Friedman with a
former Rattray employee and which I find, with some modification,
collaborated by the packaging, it appears rather that in about 1970
Rattray turned over the blending of some of its blends intended for
the United States to McConnell. McConnel labeled the tins it blended
'Made for Rattray'. Rattray continued to blend itself the tins
intended for the English and European markets, as well as all the
blends of lesser demand, which tins were labeled, as in the past,
'Made by Rattray'.

When Rattray closed its doors in 1980 McConnell took over the blending
of all the Rattray labeled tobacco, but did not change the labeling,
thus after 1980 some McConnell blended tins were labeled 'Made for
Rattray' while others also blended by McConnell were nonetheless
labeled 'Made by Rattray'. McConnell blended in England through the
1980s but shifted production to Germany (and later elsewhere)
beginning in about 1990 without any change in the labels, thus
continuing the now meaningless 'Made by Rattray' and 'Made for
Rattray' duality. Further, the country of origin for the German made
Rattray was not included on the label (in the US only it was on a
removable tab on the bottom of the tin).

Thus for Rattray tobaccos it is impossible to determine from the label
alone who was the blender or when or where the tin was blended.

But if you largely disregard the label and look at the tin top and
bottom you will do just fine:

• if the 'pop top' tin top is plain, the tin dates to the 1990's and
was blended on the Continent;
• 'if the 'pop top' tin top has pictorial opening instructions and
there is a "Made for Rattray" label Robert McConnell of England was
the blender and the tin dates to the 1970's -1980s;
• if the 'pop top' tin top has text only opening instructions and
there is a "Made by Rattray label it dates to the 1970's and was
blended by Rattray of Scotland; and
• if the 'pop top' tin top has pictorial opening instructions and
there is a "Made by Rattray" label the tin dates either to the 1970's
and was blended by Rattray in Scotland, if it has a silver tinted
bottom, or to the 1980's and was blended by McConnell in England, if
the tin has a gold tinted bottom.

The problem with the last category of tins however, is that it is
extremely difficult to determine whether you are looking at a silver
or a gold tinted tin bottom unless you have one of the other for
comparison (and do not believe any one that tells you they can do it
without a comparison tin). For comparison purposes you can safely use
either a Rattray's 'pop top' with text only instructions on the top,
which tin will only have a silver bottom or, more readily findable, a
tin with pictorial instructions on the top and a 'made for Rattray'
label, which tin will only have a gold bottom.

In short:

Plain top (either a "for" or "by" label & either a gold or silver
bottom) ---------------- Europe/'90s
Picture top / gold bottom / "by" label -------------------------
England (McConnell)/'80s
Picture top / gold bottom / "for" label ----------------- England
(McConnell)/'70s - '80s
Picture top / silver bottom / "by" label ----------------------------
Scotland (Rattray) /'70s
Text only top / silver bottom / "by" label -----------------------
Scotland (Rattray) /'70s.

Frank

THANKS FRANK It is always fun to find out history of which I was
totally unaware.
John in the Indian Nations
.