Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Loading Tobacco

This is another picture from 1940 near Lexington, Kentucky. It shows men loading tobacco onto a wagon. Several people have mentioned the aroma of tobacco as it is drying. When I was a boy, several old timers around town would grow a couple rows of tobacco in the their gardens, and then would hang it in the garage to cure. That was the most wonderful aroma I ever smelled. It was a very sweet smell, like honey. I am surprised no one has ever tried to capture that smell in a candle or something.


  1. I have always wondered what raising tobacco (and probably using it) did to these old-timer's health in the years before they knew about it's effects. Did they get skin cancers on their hands from handling it???? Maybe a morbid wondering there...
    Neat photos though.

  2. no skin cancer on your hands. I am a firm believer it is the chemicals sprayed on the tobacco that causes cancer more than the tobacco. It can make you sick if you handle it while it is wet. I always heard it called nicotene poisoning.

  3. Living in NC for 12 years, I've seen lots of tobacco fields but no horses pulling tobacco carts.

    I do work across the street from a Lorrilard plant, and days when the wind's right the scent of curing tobacco is strong and sweet, I love it. (And I quit smoking over 4 years ago, but that smell, yum.)

  4. Raw Tobacco has an amazing smell. Last year while camping I let my kids smell some drying in a barn. 2 of them liked it and one hated it. I love the smell because it took me right back to my childhood! Great memories!

  5. Yes to what crazylady said. My grandparents were from low country South Carolina, where tobacco is still grown. I spent a few weeks one summer harvesting tobacco (I think it was intended to build my character, or get me very excited by the prospect of college). 95+ degrees in the field, under the sun, being slowly towed through the rows harvesting the "ripe" leaves from the tobacco plants (you would leave leaves that weren't ready on the plant until they were). You had to wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt as well as gloves, because the tobacco leaves were very thick and moist and full of juice. Plant juice would seep from the cut stem and get on you, and the leaves themselves had a kind of moist almost oily surface. Bottom line was that you were going to get covered in the juice, and you could absorb the nicotine through your skin.

    First couple of days I did it, I worked all suited up and got sick as a dog by the day's end anyway (the same kind of sick I got the first time I chewed tobacco and swallowed the tobacco juice!!) Once I got more adept at cutting the leaves & putting them aside, I didn't get so much juice on me; I also think I just got used to nicotine.

    I went to college!!


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