Charles Edward Smeltzer, cigar manufacturer in Bittersville, York County, PA (1919 Photo from Ancestry.com; when C. E. Smeltzer was 30 years old)
Smeltzer’s Cigar Factory in Bittersville, York County
During the early 1900s, there were at least four Smeltzer Cigar Factories in Bittersville; a small village located at the end of the trolley line from York into southeastern York County.
Cigar manufacturing was the dominant industry in York County in the early 1900s; both in terms of number of factories and total number of employees. There were at least eight Smeltzer Cigar Factories throughout York County. Those factories were owned and operated by Oscar Smeltzer, Wesley Smeltzer, William Smeltzer, Charles E. Smeltzer, Alvin Smeltzer, Ardes Smeltzer, Harry Smeltzer, and Charles H. Smeltzer. Besides Bittersville, Smeltzer factories were located in Red Lion, Craley, and Wrightsville.
The Bittersville cigar manufacturing business of Charles E. Smeltzer is the subject of this post. Charles Edward Smeltzer is 30-years old in this photo via Ancestry.com.
A long ago query about Bittersville was revived after Nicholas Dercole submitted a cigar box photo for “The Original Smeltzer’s Quality Cigars.” The box carried the caution: “Look for Factory No. 612 appearing on package and cigar wraps. Your best protection against imitation.” Directories of Cigar Factory Numbers in York County, note: “Factory No. 612; C. E. Smeltzer, Bittersville, Pa.”
The cigar box also carried the caution: the cigars are not genuine without the C. E. Smeltzer signature. The distributor for this box of cigars is “H. D. Sourbier, 329 Girard Ave., York, Pa.” One of C. E. Smeltzer’s innovations was utilizing a unique box label for each of his cigar distributors. For example, boxes of his cigars, sold in Lancaster County, carried the imprint “Booth Tobacco Company, Distributor, Lancaster, Pa.”
Charles Edward Smeltzer was born in 1889; the son of Oscar Smeltzer, an early cigar manufacturer in Bittersville. C. E. Smeltzer was considered a cigar pioneer for his marketing innovations. He was occasionally known as C. Edward Smeltzer, or just Edward Smeltzer; likely because there was another Charles Smeltzer in Bittersville; also a cigar manufacturer (Factory No. 1751), however with middle initial H.
The following 1919 photo is from Ancestry.com. Charles Edward Smeltzer stands next to wife Orah Matilda Snell Smeltzer holding their oldest son James Edward Smeltzer. They also had four more children: Bertha, Miriam, Paul and Lillian.
C. E. Smeltzer served as the Postmaster for Bittersville. Towards the end of his career, cigar manufacturing declined for Smeltzer; as it did throughout York County. C. E. Smeltzer gradually converted the cigar factory into a general store. Smeltzer’s Store in Bittersville was later sold to his brother; Horace O. Smeltzer. The C. E. Smeltzer Cigar Factory and Smeltzer’s Store was located in the following building at 1925 Craley Road in Bittersville; located approximately opposite Lewis Road. That building presently houses several apartments.
A long ago query asked how old is Bittersville and when did their first trolley service begin. This post is as good a place as any to provide the answers.
Per various maps, there was a grouping of houses in that locality prior to the 1880 use of the name Bittersville for that village. Bittersville is just east of the Lower Windsor Township line to the south side of Fishing Creek; about two miles east of Windsor Borough.
Bittersville was the end of a trolley line from York that went through the boroughs of Dallastown, Red Lion, and Windsor; with Windsor the originally intended terminus. The extension to Bittersville was to be the first leg of ultimately extending that trolley line to Long Level. The trolley reached Bittersville on August 3, 1907, but was never extended further.
Click on this LINK for a yorkblog.com Full View of the photos in this post.
Links to other York County cigar industry posts:
Mayer’s Cigars by the Million in North York
Paragon Cigar Factory owned by a woman
Early Cigar Factory locations in Dover
George W. Gable Cigar Factory in Windsor
Cigars by Celestino, Costello and Company
Fulweiler’s Cigars in York
Kohler’s becomes Merchants Cigar Company
LaButa Cigar Factory in York
A. F. Hostetter Cigar Factory in Hanover
William H. Raab Cigar Factory in Dallastown
Myers’ Cigar Box and Lithographic Works
National Cigar Manufacturing in West Manchester Twp.
David S. Detwiler Cigar Factory in Wrightsville