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Thread: Pigtail Bogie Twist Roll

  1. #1

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    Pigtail Bogie Twist Roll

    God bless both houses of Gawith!

    I'm so glad that the mighty houses of Gawith are continuing the grand UK tradition of these hard tobaccos.

    If it wasn't for them, we would be lost.

    Sure, there is an American tradition of twists too, with brands like Shoe Peg, Hornet, Wild Duck, King B, Mammoth Cave, and perhaps most famously amongst pipesmokers, Cotton Boll Twist:

    But that history is for someone else to do as I tend to concentrate on the UK stuff.

    I'm also very glad to see the tradition continued by Motzek/TAK in Germany, as well as in Argentina which I wouldn't know if it weren't for Crawford (Scottishgaucho) telling us about it.

    As for the historic UK stuff, it is made by both Gawith houses in the same manner it has been made for a long time. The late 19th century saw advances being made on the industrial front and a "spinning machine" made things much easier, but still somewhat labor-intensive and definitely hands on.

    This 1892 illustration shows twist being made at the Cope Brother factory in Liverpool:

    A bit later,
    an actual photograph:

    Another factory photo,
    this is Robert Sinclair of Newcastle:

    Samuel Gawith of old:

    And modern:

  2. #2

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    Not much exists materially in the archaeological records in the sense of tins, but print advertising, signage, paper labels, and the odd rare actual foilwrapped twist can be found here and there.

    Many of the old brands would be totally forgotten as they only show up in old price lists and nary a trace of their existence can be found elsewhere.

    I very much enjoy firsthand accounts of the old stuff, but these too are hard to come by.
    Here's one which mentions John Sinclair's Rubicon Twist:

    "Inside the little kitchen Uncle Jack used to sit beside the fire on his cracket (stool) reading his newspaper and smoking his pipe, whilst auntie cooked and baked the brown bread for which she was often commended in the annual baking competitions by Hindhaughs. I can visualise him using his old pocket knife to cut shavings from a coil of Rubicon twist tobacco, rubbing them between his palms, and tamping into the bowl of his blackened pipe. The flare of the Swan Vesta match, followed by the crackle of the fiery bowl. Should we annoy him by running in and out, he would bring us a terrific wallop with a rolled-up newspaper."

    It's also interesting to survey this property loss record that an Irish tobacconist suffered as a result of the Easter Rising,
    John M. O'Toole's Claim for Damages caused during the Disturbances on the 24th April, 1916, and follwing days.

    Note the poundage of hard tobacco in stock:

    You can view the pdf here:

    Ever wonder where and why the word bogey in relation to twist tobacco came?

    The Scottish National Dictionary says:

    n. A coarse, black tobacco of a certain gauge, first manufactured about 1830 in Keith, the name being taken from the River Bogie. Compared with Lurgan, Scotch and Irish, Bogie was a thinner, longer twist, but thicker than Mid and Fine.

    Bogie Roll was named after the River Bogie in Aberdeenshire by George Cockburn, a tobacco manufacturer in Keith in the early 19th cent. The thinness of bogie twist enabled the seller to give a greater length of it per ounce than in the case of other varieties and because of this and its good quality it became popular all over the North of Scotland. It was stocked also in the fishing centres in the east of England — e.g. Lowestoft and Yarmouth — for the benefit of the Sc. fishermen. The varieties of black twist in the order of their thickness are: Lurgan (extra thick), Scotch, Irish, Bogie, Mid (thin), Fine (chewing). (Extract from letter 1935 from Mr Everard Cockburn, Inverness, grandson of the above-mentioned George.)

    "An' wi' a fill o' bogie rowe, Firget my troubles dere."

    T.P. Ollason

    "Bogey roll, the only tobacco with a sufficient kick in it."

    Sir Harry Lauder
    Roamin' in the Gloamin'

    Here's an old photo of an Orkney tobacconist with a Bogie Roll sign out front,
    and an interesting commentary section as well:

    nailrod is an archaic term and neither the word nor the style of baccy it describes is no longer with us,
    it is simply:
    hard-pressed and usually very dark tobacco made up in short rods or sticks

    Herman Melville mentions it in Redburn from 1894:

    "Every day the tobacco grew scarcer and scarcer; till at last it became necessary to ... the dark places explored; and two sticks of nailrod tobacco..."

    Many firms made "common" unbranded twists and such, in a tremendous range of sizes.

    Here's a few examples suchwise from manufacturer price lists.

    Player's 1936

    Wills 1933

    Clarke 1925

    Here's a listing of the various old brands that I've come across, probably missing many, but this is a good few...

    PJ Carroll, Dundalk
    Boreen Coil
    Pension Pigtail
    Bog Oak Roll
    Whippet Irish Roll

    Fairweather & Sons, Seagate Dundee
    Angus Bogie Roll
    Spindle Roll
    Caber Roll

    William Clarke, Dublin
    Famous Roll
    Cable Coil
    Newcastle Brown Roll

    Godfrey Phillips, London
    Derby Twist
    Sae Lord Pigtail

    Franklyn, Davey, & Co., Bristol
    Plover Pigtail
    Cutty Roll and Pigtail
    Cross-Bow Pigtail

    William Hunter, Gateshead
    Teams Brown Twist
    aromatic Roll

    E. Robinson & Sons, St. Petersgate Stockport
    Tuffo Pigtail
    Gamebird Thick Twist
    Kimbo Pigtail
    Kinsman Pigtail
    Red Thorn Pigtail

    Manchester Tobacco Co., Manchester
    Linden Brown Twist
    Linden Black Twist

    The Amlwch Tobacco Co., Amlwch
    William's Black Twist
    Kelt Twist

    E. Morgan & Co., Amlwch Anglesey
    Taffy Twist
    Blue Band Twist
    Red Band Twist
    Green Band Twist

    Murray's, Belfast
    Erinmore Twist
    Jackpot genuine Irish Roll
    Preston Brown Bogie

    W.H. & J. woods, Preston
    Nubian Pigtail
    Chung Pigtail
    Denver Roll

    Edwards, Ringer, & Bigg, Bristol
    Showman Roll/Pigtail
    Stockade Roll/Pigtail
    Hatchet Roll/Pigtail
    Brownie Roll/Pigtail
    Ringer's Thin Twist

    W. Marr & Sons, Durham
    Brizlee Roll
    Abbey Twist Thick

    Gallaher, Dublin
    Irish Twist
    Condor Twist
    Black Twig Twist
    Black Wing Twist
    Uncle Jeff Brown Twist
    Lynx Pigtail

    John Sinclair, Newcastle
    Rubicon Twist/Coil
    Brown jack twist
    Golden Twist
    Tweed Roll
    Puffing Billy Black Roll
    Old Peg Black Roll
    High Level Spiral Twist
    Highland Roll

    Robert Sinclair, Newcastle
    Golden Twist
    Old Tom Twist
    Blenheim Pressed twist
    Toga Black Twist
    Roc Roll
    Marra Twist
    Pick Twist
    Tynesider's Twist
    Ladie's Twist

    L. Hirst & Son, Leeds
    Buster Pigtail/Roll
    Dalesman Brown Twist

    Thomson & Porteous, Edinburgh
    Drifter Twist
    Half dark Nailrod
    Anvil X Roll
    Best Border Thick Roll
    Best Kelso Extra Thick

    Stephen Mitchell, Glasgow
    XXX Bogie Roll
    Longbow Twist
    Black Dwarf Twist
    Heather Bell Bogie
    Black Knight Bogie Roll

    Walker's, Liverpool
    Gold Medal Pigtail
    Ferry Roll and Twist
    Equality Roll and Twist

    Thomas Nicholls, Chester
    Blue Spot Black Pigtail
    Clutch Black Pigtail
    Oliver Twist
    Buckle Brown Pigtail
    Nicholl's Twist

    Alfred Preedy & Sons, Dudley
    Shamrock Twist
    Silver Rod Twist

    G. Smith & Sons, London
    Smith's Twist
    Cornish Twist

    Gawith Hoggarth, Kendal
    Kendal Twist
    Billy Boy Empire Twist
    Corgi Twist
    Beacon Light Twist
    Kendal Hand-Spun Roll

    Samuel Gawith, Kendal
    Celebrated Kendal Twist

    John Clune, Limerick
    Far-Famed Limerick Twist
    Excel Twist
    XL Coil
    Clune Coil

    W&M Taylor, Dublin
    Bendigo Coil/Roll
    D.K. Coil
    Lurgan Roll
    friday Roll

    Wills, Bristol
    Anchor Pigtail
    Dagger Pigtail/Roll
    Pirate Pigtail/Roll
    Soccer Pigtail/Roll
    Three Twist

    Ogden's, Liverpool
    Pullet Pigtail
    Beano Pigtail
    Pruin Twist
    Toke Bogie
    Impi Twist
    Mahogany Coil
    Inkum Twist
    Pat Brown Pressed Pigtail
    Ogden's Brown Roll
    Last edited by misterlowercase; 08-31-2017 at 20:22.

  3. #3

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    a few pictures!


  4. #4
    PSU Member Simon G's Avatar
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    You're right Troy, we're all very lucky gawiths & hoggarths are still going. Realise it even more seeing that long list of names that have all long gone. Fascinating company really, still using the same old presses they had delivered on horse and cart from Scotland in the eighteenth century! We're lucky that they're still putting out a huge range of blends & cuts of tobacco. Still loads I haven't got round to trying yet. Great post & images as always Troy!
    St. Bruno simply satisfies!

  5. #5
    Moderator Brooklin Bill's Avatar
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    5 members Liked or found this post helpful.

    As dizzy Dean wou;d say "holy cow!"
    "The box with the least amount of matches makes the most noise." MWB

  6. #6

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    Cheers Simon!

    Yep, you're right about Gawiths & Hogarths -- we're lucky they've kept to the game and continue to press on, they've weathered much through their combined years and hung on thick 'n thin both, outliving and surviving beyond the bigger tobacco companies who became fallen giants, now the House of Gawiths find themselves being a true giant!

    And they really are Giants in my book!

    Another interesting thing is how there was local taste preferences for specific brands, especially during the pre-war days, and usually would be something manufactured in somewhat close proximity in many cases --- such as in that short excerpt above talkin' bout Uncle Jack and his Rubicon Twist, it's not surprising that he was located at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea which is only about 20 miles from Newcastle-upon-Tyne where Rubicon was made.

    One of my favorite articles at the Legacy Library is on the topic of regional preference,
    it is here,
    on page 23-26:

    It does mention twist,
    Pruin is a twist selling mainly in the Midlands, but regular quantities are sent to Dorset and the North West.
    It was first registered by Ogden's in 1898.

    I wish we got the pigtail more easily here, but we don't.

    I tend to favor Hoggarth's Brown Bogie the most.

    Every now and then I smoke some Black XX, but I usually mix in some brown twist with it.
    Last edited by misterlowercase; 08-31-2017 at 22:41.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brooklin Bill View Post
    As dizzy Dean wou;d say "holy cow!"
    Dizzy Dean of the Gashouse Gang?

  8. #8

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    Came across this small tidbit which is interesting:

    Carter’s Lunch,
    circa 1904

    “Our local carters working the (Manchester) warehouses seldom took food with them. Public houses, avid for trade, put on some kind of a free snack with their 1˝d ‘carters’ pints’. Certain pubs went further and supplied potato pie, cheese and pickles, a pint of beer and a piece of thick twist tobacco — all for 4˝d. A carter had to prove his bona fides, though, by bearing a whip in hand or around his neck.”

    Robert Roberts,
    The Classic Slum: Salford life in the first quarter of the century
    Penguin, 1971.

    I had to look up what a "carter" was and essentially it could be defined as a "road carrier" which of course was essential for transporting goods from place to place, and as you'd imagine there was a very wide range within such an occupation, for example, you could be a Rubbish Carter or a Metalliferous Mine Carter, more generally you could freelance as a Haulage Contracting Carter, and maybe one day you may even become a Master Carter!

    This yootoob viddie shows some Carters in action....

    the dapper chap who enters scene at 1:30 lower right has quite a nice pipe!
    Last edited by misterlowercase; 09-01-2017 at 15:49.

  9. #9
    PSU Member Simon G's Avatar
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    Lovely old film! I can spend hours watching those, going from one to another. Fascinating to see all the different type of carts they used & all those lovely old horses. Doing what they were bred for. Could anybody spot anyone without a hat? I couldn't, not one! Lol.
    St. Bruno simply satisfies!

  10. #10
    PSU Member Scottishgaucho's Avatar
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    Thanks for the mention but my contribution pales into insignificance compared to yours which I always enjoy seeing.

    Any idea when the 'modern day' Gawith pictures were taken? I only ask as I see the workers aren't wearing surgical gloves. Through watching videos I have increasingly noticed them being worn by employees who handle tobacco due I imagine to health and safety at work practices being enforced.

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