Oceanic Cut Plug Tobacco Pouch

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In 1852, Daniel Scotten began his career in Detroit's tobacco industry as an apprentice to cigar maker Isaac Miller. At that time, Detroit was known for its cigar and chewing tobacco production, producing 210 million cigars and 14 million pounds of chewing tobacco a year. The tobacco companies were among the leading employers in Detroit, providing over 10,000 jobs (mainly for women). In 1856 with partner George Lovett, Scotten founded the Hiawatha Tobacco Company.
In the late1880s, Scotten moved to a bigger factory and renamed his company the Scotten-Dillon Company, to signify the addition of a corporate partner. The company mainly produced cigars, chewing, and flake tobacco. By the 1890s, Scotten-Dillon had 1200 employees and $4 million in annual sales. The Conwood Corporation would eventually acquire the company.
Of Scotten-Dillon's products, chewing tobacco was the most popular. Chewing tobacco is made by pressing cured tobacco leaves, usually in sweet molasses-based syrup, between two large tin sheets. The sheets are then cut into blocks or plugs. During the 1930s the standard plug size was 2 ¾" x 4 ½" and 1" thick. This plug sold for a nickel or a dime, depending on the quality of the tobacco. The consumer could either cut or bite the tobacco from the plug for consumption.
One of Scotten-Dillon's brands was Oceanic Cut Plug tobacco. This was a reference to the 1899 ship Oceanic, built for the White Star Line by Harland Wolff Ltd. Known as the "Queen of the Sea" and considered the most glorious ship of her time, the White Star Liner was built for around one million pounds silver. It was 700 ft. long with a 68 ft. beam, 17,274 tons and a maximum speed was twenty knots. The ship would have 15 years of service before being grounded 20 miles off Northern Scotland in the Shetland Islands on September 8, 1914 while serving in the Royal Navy as an armed merchant cruiser. Oceanic would remain there untouched until 1973, when salvaged.
Currently not on view
date made
Scotten-Dillon Company
place made
United States: Michigan, Detroit
Physical Description
linen (overall material)
cotton (overall material)
overall: 6 1/4 in x 4 1/2 in; 15.875 cm x 11.43 cm
ID Number
nonaccession number
See more items in
Work and Industry: Agriculture
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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