Yes, it was the brothers Upmann – purportedly – that were the first to package their cigars in a box; but interestingly enough, those very first cigar boxes didn’t have Upmann cigars in them. That’s because there wasn’t an H. Upmann brand to be had…yet.
The Upmanns were a family of German bankers; sometime around 1840, brothers Herman and August Upmann convinced their father that it would be a grand idea to open a bank branch in Cuba. Herman, it seems, doubly benefitted from the deal: not only was the bank a success from the start, but as this Upmann brother was quite the cigar enthusiast – his relocation to Havana was a no-brainer. Shortly after, Herman began sending cigars from various Cuban factories back home to Europe. They would be packaged in cedar boxes, stamped with the bank’s name, and given as gifts to his most influential clients, as well as for marketing purposes. In just a few short years Upmann was immersed in cigar exporting, and by 1844 had invested in a factory to produce his namesake H. Upmann cigars. The bank would go on to fail by the 1920’s; the cigar venture did too, until it was purchased from bankruptcy.
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