Camel design
Camel design 1913
by Fred Otto Kleesattel
Name: "Camel"

Category: Tobacco

Subcategory: Cigarettes

Inventor: Richard Joshua Reynolds

Producer: R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

Production start: Late 1913 - Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA

First price: 10 cents 1 pack (20 cigarettes)

Richard Joshua Reynolds
Richard Joshua
Patrick County,
July 20, 1850 -
July 29, 1918,
the American businessman
who launched Camel brand
Overview: The son of a tobacco farmer in Virginia, R. J. Reynolds sold his shares of his father's company in Patrick County, Virginia, and ventured to the nearest town with a railroad connection, Winston-Salem, to start his own tobacco company. He bought his first factory building and established the "little red factory" with seasonal workers. The second primary factory was built in 1892. At the beginning of the 1900s, Reynolds bought most of the competing tobacco factories in Winston-Salem. 1907's "Prince Albert" smoking tobacco became the company's national showcase product, which led to high-profile advertising in New York City's Union Square. In 1913 Reynolds developed an innovation: the packaged cigarette. Most tobacco users who smoked cigarettes preferred to roll their own, and there was thought to be no national market for pre-packaged cigarettes. Reynolds also worked to develop a flavor he thought would be more appealing than past products, so created the Camel cigarette, a blend of several different types of tobacco that would come to be called "the American blend". The brand was named Camel because tobacco was rolled in Turkish paper, in imitation of then-fashionable Egyptian cigarettes. Camel cigarettes were originally blended to have a milder taste in contrast to brands that, at the time of its introduction, were considered much harsher. Initially, they was relased as regular, unfiltered variety (generally known as Camel Straights or Regulars), in a soft pack. Reynolds undercut competitors on the cost of the cigarettes, and within a year, he had sold 425 million packs of Camels. Supported by a careful advertising campaign, that included "teasers" which merely stated that "The Camels are coming!", Camel became the first nationally popular cigarette in the United States.

Slogan (1913): «The Camels are coming!»

Property: R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

Product website:

Camel pack 1913 front
Camel pack 1913
Camel pack 1913 back
The first version of Camel cigarettes (1913). Twenty unfiltered "Turkish & Domestic Blend Cigarettes" in a soft package which shows an oasis, the palm trees, the Pyramids, and a camel. On the back, is another desert scene, featuring this time bazaars and mosques; the manufacturer warns: "Don't look for premiums or coupons, as the cost of the tobaccos blended in Camel Cigarettes prohibits the use of them".

Camel advertising May 19, 1914
1st day (May 19, 1914) - Camel advertisement in the Norwich Bulletin newspaper. The initial ads built anticipation by announcing the arrival of "Camels" without revealing what the product would actually be.
Camel advertising May 20, 1914
2nd day (May 20, 1914) - Camel advertisement in the same newspaper. "The Camels Are Coming" is also the title of an old Scottish folk song.
Camel advertising May 21, 1914
Camel article May 21, 1914
3rd day (May 21, 1914) - Page 3, advertisement announces: "Tomorrow there'll be more Camels in this town than in all Asia and Africa combined!"; on page 2 the publisher warns young readers that it is not a circus.
Camel advertising May 22, 1914
4th day (May 22, 1914) - Finally, the advertisement reveals the identity of the product: "Camel Cigarettes Are Here!". The advertising campaign was created by N. W. Ayer & Son agency, which also created some of the most recognized slogans of the 20th century.

Camel cigarettes advertising 1915
Camel cigarettes advertisement (The Saturday Evening Post, October 23, 1915)

The dromedary Old Joe
The dromedary Old Joe posing for Camel cigarettes packaging design. In September 1913, Barnum & Bailey Circus came to Winston, NC, and the Reynolds company rushed a photographer over to check it out; then Fred Otto Kleesattel, a highly sought after graphic designer from Louisville, Kentucky, was commissioned to draw the original brand design.

Camel celebrate 100th anniversary
Camel celebrate 100th anniversary (1913-2013)