Saturday 24 January 2009

Cigar Smoke

Postcards depicting back-breaking manual labour were very popular. Perhaps they reminded the holiday maker of the situation from which they had (temporarily) escaped. The above card from Cuba is exceptional in the degree to which the workforce appears oppressed and exhausted by the tasks they must accomplish. Shifting these massive and weighty bales around has induced a mood of weary lethargy. The second card (below) relates to an earlier stage in the process with an image of a Cuban Tobacco Barn in which the tobacco leaves would have been cured. The third card shows a room full of workers engaged in the art of hand-rolling cigars in a Florida factory. Cigar production was a long and labour-intensive activity and it is pleasing to find some recognition of this in these fascinating postcards.

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