ManufacturerAlfred Dunhill

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Alfred Dunhill

The Dunhill business was started by Alfred's father, who ran a saddlery shop in London. By the time Alfred had inherited his father's business in 1893, the automobile was slowly starting to gain popularity among the more affluent of English society. Capitalizing on this new trend, Dunhill closed down the saddlery shop and opened up "Dunhill Motorities", a shop which specialized in accessories for the automobile, including lamps, leather overcoats and goggles, picnic sets, car horns, and dashboard timepieces. The new shop's slogan was "Everything for the car except the motor." Dunhill also began dabbling in tobacco blending and pipe-making, having patented, in 1905, his "Windshield Pipe", created to allow for comfortable smoking by drivers and cyclists.

In 1907, Alfred decided to retire the Motorities store, and instead focussed on his tobacco blending, by opening up a tobacconists at 30 Duke Street, located amongst the gentlemen's clubs in the St. James neighbourhood of London, S.W. 1. As mentioned, Dunhill made a name for himself with his pipe tobacco blends (among them, "My Mixture", "Royal Yacht", and "Durbar"), as well as his selection of cigars, having made distribution deals with a number of Cuban cigar-makers. In 1910, Dunhill went head-long into making his own pipes by opening up a nearby factory; his famous "White Spot" pipes were introduced in 1915.

The 1920s saw a period of expansion for Dunhill, who besides selling tobacco also specialized in men's luxury items, such as timepieces, writing implements, smoking accessories, and fine clothing. A shop in New York opened its doors in 1921, while a branch in Paris opened in 1924. Dunhill's tobaccos were so well renowned that, in 1927, he received a Royal Warrant from Edward, Prince of Wales (later to become King Edward VIII); it would be renewed in 1938 by King George VI (a frequent Dunhill customer, along with wartime Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill). The Royal Warrant was an honour that the Alfred Dunhill Ltd. kept until 1995, when it was rescinded due to a lack of demand from the Royal Households.

The Dunhill name was eventually attached to cigarettes, as well. Beginning in 1938, it was leased to a subsidiary of Philip Morris in the United States, who began to manufacture Dunhill and Dunhill Superior, along with Dunhill Majors in 1940. In the United Kingdom, the Dunhill name was leased to Carreras Ltd. in 1952.

Alfred Dunhill died in 1959 at the age of 86. Alfred Dunhill Ltd. was sold to Carreras Rothmans in 1967 (Carreras having merged with Rothmans of Pall Mall in 1958), and became part of Rothmans International when it was formed in 1972. In 1993, the luxury goods portion of Alfred Dunhill Ltd. was split off from Rothmans, which would focus exclusively on tobacco, and was put under control of the Richemont Group (which controlled Rothmans and was itself formerly Rembrandt Tobacco of South Africa). The Dunhill tobacco brands are now held by British American Tobacco, which acquired them after its merger with Rothmans International in 1999.

Dunhill cigarettes did not achieve great popularity until the introduction of Dunhill International (a luxury-length brand) in 1967. Since then, Dunhill has become well known throughout Europe, Asia, and South Africa.

Former Brands (by Carreras)

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