Taking Care of Business: Fendrich Cigar Company

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

When you think of a celebration, some individuals think of cigars and popping a bottle of champagne. Our next entry in “Taking Care of Business”, we are focusing on the Fendrich Cigar Company.

Workers at Fendrich Cigar Company in Evansville, Indiana, 1905. Source: MSS 205-005.

Workers at Fendrich Cigar Company in Evansville, Indiana, 1905. Source: MSS 205-005.

The Fendrich Cigar Company began their operations in 1855 in Evansville, Indiana. During their tenure, their cigars and employment opportunities gained recognition. They were in competition against the American Cigar Company from 1902 and 1911; however, Fendrich made bold business moves and strategies such as hiring female workers by offering “… ‘pure drinking water’, ‘perfect sanitary conditions’, and ‘no machinery, hence, no danger” (Cooper, 1987, p. 181).  As they continued to grow, Fendrich provided modern work conditions and benefits for their workers. Their work environment was equipped with “… light, ventilation, and sanitary conditions” (Patton, 1987, p. 178), mimicking modern-day factory conditions.

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Business continued until 1969, when Fendrich started to experience issues. By this time, they was the largest cigars manufacturers in the United States (Baskett, 1969). Sadly, Fendrich closed their doors permanently in early March for unmentioned circumstances (‘Fendrich set for closing’, 1969). Shortly after the closure, Imperial Plastics, known today as Berry Plastics, bought the former Fendrich Cigar plant (‘Operations shift set’, 1969).

At the University Archives and Special Collections, this Fendrich Cigar box is located in the Anna Orr collection (MSS 205). Her collections focuses on the history of the company and has eleven photographs on our online digital gallery. Stay tuned for an exciting next entry on “Taking Care of Business”!


Baskett, D. (1969, February 11). Fendrich lay-offs due soon: Many workers just at wrong age. The Evansville Press. Retrieved

Cooper, P. A. (1987). Once a cigar maker: Men, women, and work culture in American cigar companies, 1900-1919. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=9mKFVJ1FGJMC&printsec=frontcover&dq=one+a+cigar+maker&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiJiO6stPbXAhXHzIMKHVsUD6IQ6AEIJjAA#v=onepage&q=one%20a%20cigar%20maker&f=false

Fendrich set for closing. (1969, March 2). Sunday Courier and Press. Retrieved from http://infoweb.newsbank.com/resources/doc/nb/image/v2:1425EEA2CB57B634@EANX-NB-1539D7442484F31A@2440283-1539995ADA2384F3@14-1539995ADA2384F3@?p=WORLDNEWS

Operations shift set: Imperial Plastics buys Fendrich plant. (1969, March 21). Evansville Courier. Retrieved from http://infoweb.newsbank.com/resources/doc/nb/image/v2:1425EEA2CB57B634@EANX-NB-1539D81BEC45A117@2440302-1539D3D2A824A064@16-1539D3D2A824A064@?p=WORLDNEWS

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