ManufacturerArdath Tobacco Company
Ardath Tobacco Company
The company was created in the late 19th century in London, England, and was originally called Albert Levy & Thomas. In 1893, Sir Albert Levy, a London tobacco merchant, was visiting the United States. While in New York State, Levy was a passenger on the Empiro State Express train, which broke speed records as locomotive #999 sped its way to Buffalo, New York at a peak of 112 1/2 miles an hour (180 km/h). It was the first train to break the 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h) mark.
When Sir Albert returned to England, he registered the State Express name as a trademark, along with the series of triple numbers from 111 to 999. All of these numbers were used as different brands, each with a different blend or mix of tobacco: 444 was made with Macedonian leaf, and 777 was made with Turkish tobacco, for example. The most popular of these was the Virginia tobacco State Express 555, introduced in 1895.
The name of the company was changed in 1901 to the Ardath Tobacco Company, and was split in 1925 when it was sold; British American Tobacco acquired the overseas rights of Ardath, while the Imperial Tobacco Group retained the rights of sale within the United Kingdom and Ireland. The State Express brand proved to be a boon for B.A.T., where it was a huge success in China until the rise of communism there (though it has since been re-introduced). In the United Kingdom, Ardath's brands also endured, to the point where they were granted a Royal Warrant by King George VI in 1946.
In 1961, British American Tobacco bought out Imperial Tobacco's share of Ardath, thus gaining full control of Ardath's trademarks.
- State Express
- State Express AA
- State Express 333
- State Express 555
- State Express 777
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