Benson & Hedges Cigarette Box


In 1939, Walter Landor arrived in the United States to help install the British training pavilion at the New York World’s Fair. At twenty-six years old, Landor had left his home in Germany to study art and design in Britain, where he became the youngest Fellow of the Royal Society of Industrial Artists. With whispers of war circulating around Europe, Landor decided to stay in the United States and travelled to the West Coast in search of design work. In 1941, Landor and his new wife Josephine Martinelli founded Walter Landor and Associates (today Landor) in their San Francisco apartment. The company specialized in packaging and label design for a number of iconic brands ranging from Marlboro cigarettes to Aunt Jemima to Sara Lee. As the company expanded, Landor’s base of operations moved from his home through several locations until it settled in 1962 on the Klamath, a docked ferryboat in the San Francisco Bay that would become an iconic part of Landor’s own brand.

Richard Benson and William Hedges founded Benson & Hedges cigarettes in 1873 in London. Philip Morris Company, now Altria Inc, purchased the US branch of Benson & Hedges in 1958. Philip Morris, one of the largest producers and marketers of tobacco-related products owned numerous brands, included both Marlboro and Virginia Slims. After Landor redesigned the package, Benson & Hedges skyrocketed its popularity. The packaging’s lower half represents the deep browns of a boardroom, with the white top emulating the look of a calling card. The entire design resembles a personal cigarette holder. The company kept later redesigns subtle because of the brand’s popularity and easy recognizability.

Location: Currently not on view

Credit Line: Bequest of Walter and Josephine Landor

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1993.0393.107Accession Number: 1993.0393Catalog Number: 1993.0393.107

Object Name: Boxcigarette box

Measurements: overall: 8.5 cm x 7.5 cm x 2 cm; 3 3/8 in x 2 15/16 in x 13/16 in


Record Id: nmah_1297884

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