M922.214.171.1244 | Clipper
John Henry Walker (1831-1899)
1850-1885, 19th century
Ink on paper - Wood engraving
4.7 x 13.6 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords: advertisement (407) , Print (10661) , Sign and symbol (2669)
Keys to History
Significant quantities of cigars were made in Montreal during the second half of the 19th century. Between 1871 and 1891, the processing of tobacco and manufacturing of cigars represented the city's fourth largest industrial sector after ironworks, machinery and transport equipment manufacturing, clothing and shoes.
In fact, nobody benefited from this system. According to cigar manufacturer George Robley's testimony before the Royal Commission: "[...] When a boy has the advantage of being pretty lively at work, he makes a pretty good week. On the Saturday evening, according to the caprice of the boss, or for any little offence that he may have made, this extra, as they call it, is taken from the boy." (Canada. Royal Commission on the Relations of Labor and Capital, 1889: 46)
This illustration is undoubtedly from a catalogue or advertisement.
In the second half of the 19th century, Montreal was the industrial centre for tobacco processing in Canada.
In the late 1880s, around the time of the Royal Commission on the Relations of Capital and Labor, children as young as 10 and 12 years were working in cigar factories.
John Henry Walker, a Montreal artist, illustrated numerous commercial catalogues, books, government reports, advertisements and weekly publications such as Canadian Illustrated News, L'Opinion Publique and Le Monde Illustré.