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Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company

by Anna Withers Bair, 2006

See also: Tobacco, American Tobacco CompanyBull Durham Tobacco; R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company; W. Duke Sons and Company; Tobacco Barrels: HogsheadsInventions in the Tobacco Industry; Tobacco Belts

"Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company, located at 104-120 North Liberty Street, 1918." Image courtesy of Digital Forsyth.  George T. Brown and Robert L. Williamson started manufacturing chewing tobacco in 1894 in a building at the corner of Liberty and First Streets at the southern border of the town of Winston (which later became Winston-Salem). Both young men's fathers were tobacco manufacturers. Williamson had worked in his father's plant near Yanceyville before he moved to Winston, where he had become superintendent of the T. L. Vaughn Tobacco Company. Brown speculated in the buying and selling of leaf tobacco. When the financial panic of 1893 left him with 100,000 pounds of tobacco for which he could find no buyers, he and Williamson, his brother-in-law, who had practical experience in tobacco manufacturing, decided to go into business together as partners. They named their company Brown & Williamson, with Williamson's brother-in-law Walter R. Leak as treasurer.

During the new firm's first year, Brown & Williamson took over the T. F. Williamson & Son company and its brands of Red Juice and Red Crow twist chewing tobacco and Golden Grain granulated smoking tobacco. To these they added their own products, including Bloodhound, Bugler, Kite, and Shot chewing tobacco. All of these became immensely popular brands, and the young firm grew so fast that in 1906 it was incorporated as Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company, with Brown as president, Williamson as vice president, and Leak as treasurer.

In 1925 Brown & Williamson bought the J. G. Flynt Tobacco Company and its Sir Walter Raleigh pipe tobacco brand, which had been manufactured since 1884. The firm expanded further in April 1926 by buying R. P. Richardson Jr. & Company of Reidsville, which manufactured the Old North State brand of smoking tobacco, dating to 1873. Richardson also made cigarettes with the brand name of Old North State. With the purchase of this company, then, Brown & Williamson entered the field of cigarette manufacturing.

In 1929 all divisions of Brown & Williamson except chewing tobacco and snuff were moved to Louisville, Ky., and headquarters for the company remain there. The company merged with R. J. Reynolds Tobacco in 2004 to form Reynolds American, Inc.

Additional Resources:

Kleber, John E., editor. "Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corporation." The Encyclopedia of Louisville. University Press of Kentucky. 2001. 133-134. (accessed December 4, 2013).

RJ Reynolds Public Document Repository:

RJ Reynolds History:

RJ Reynolds About Us:

Image Credit:

"Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company, located at 104-120 North Liberty Street, 1918." Image courtesy of Digital Forsyth.  Available from (accessed June 27, 2012).

Origin - location: 



What was the reason B@W decided to
eliminate the free samples of small
packs of cigarettes . When I was a young
man the samples were available if you
asked . Thinking this might be something
to think about by marketing here in the
mid west . People cannot afford to buy
your products at the current price .
Thank You !


HI Bill,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia.

Unfortunately, NCpedia is unable to answer more specific questions about products.  You may want to contact the company's customer service operations with your questions. 

The company is now part of Reynolds American.  Here is a link to their website:

I hope this helps!

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library


Recently I have been purching your Kite menthol rolls and the papers aren't any good. kite is the only kind I purchase, it has happened alot lately. Concerding changing brands is there any way your company can compensate me???"


Hi Leah,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and sharing your comment.

NCpedia is the online encyclopedia of North Carolina and presents encyclopedic content about North Carolina, and unfortunately we are not able to help with questions about a company's products or services.  You would need to contact the company directly for that.  Brown and Williamson merged with R. J. Reynolds in 2004 to from Reynolds American.  Here is a link to the company website where you can find contact information --

I hope this helps!

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library


My son has a rolling machine that needs a new apron, a few years ago his wife wrote and recieved 3 new ones for free, do you still have any?


What were your profits in 1995?


I found old cigarettes from B&W, they are called "Hollywood extra" and Theres 25 cigarettes in one pack, on The top of The cigarette pack stands that they cost "Fr. 300".
does anyone know how old they are and what currency This should be?


I found 20 coupons from B&W, Series YY, what year were these issued?


I found a bunch of coupons when i was cleaning out my moms stuff. Series 39


In what years did Brown and Williamson tobacco Corporation supply Barclay Cigarettes to Air Force One? These have a sleeve on them with the Presidential Seal on it? Any information would be helpful. Thanks


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Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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