Saturday, June 1, 2019

132. GERMINAL CIGAR COMPANY - Maker of Cigars for the Emperor

This is an article of Manila Times, Dec 1, 1908 -  CIGARS FOR THE EMPEROR
The Germinal Cigar Factory was founded in 1898, was a Filipino owned 
company that could lay claim at that time to be the largest manufacturer 
of tobacco products in the country.

THE GERMINAL CIGAR COMPANY, considered he largest establishment of its kind in the world. is featured in the Manila Times today. 

The factory is described as having a total of 35 cigarette machine on it second floor.  Each of the machine is capable of cutting and molding the cigarette paper, filling them up with finely cut tobacco, and finally folding these into the finished product. 

The machine requires only a single employee to look after it and keep it continuously fed with tobacco. 

The Germinal Cigar Factory once stood at Calle Marques de Comillas in San 
Miguel, Manila, next to the Ayala Bridge. The factory produced up to 
3 million cigarettes and 200,000 cigars a day.
To meet the great demand for Germinal cigar and cigarette, the factory operates every day of the week including Sunday and holiday.  Its output is 3,000,000 cigarettes and 200,000 cigars daily.
The figure includes the production of the night shifts. Although two shifts of workers are being employed, the factory is hardly able to fill the numerous orders coming from all over the Philippine and from Australia, China and Japan. 

"Only four day ago, an order was received from the emperor of Japan for the immediate shipment of 50,000 perfectos.   To show the enterprise of this Filipino factory, the order was executed in two days not withstanding the heavy local demands that have to be met.”

Touring parties have been lavishly entertained by the directors and managers of the company, and a trip through the
factory has awed nearly everyone who has had the pleasure of making it.

Employees of Germinal making cigars.
The light claro cigars manufactured by the company are very popular among the local American population. Since not enough domestic light wrapper can be produced locally, the management has arranged for additional shipmen from the United States.

Right now, the wrapper being used for the perfecto and similar higher-grade cigars have been imported from Connecticut.

A for the personnel of the firm, there are about 13,000 employees paid wage to the amount of P5,000 weekly.
Dr. Ariston Bautista y Lim was the founder and served
also as president of the Germinal factory.
Source: Bahay Nakpil-Bautista
The girl working in the factory make an average of 75 centavos a day. Skilled laborer , however, can earn as much a P1.50 for the day's work. 

It has also been noted that although the night shift and those willing to work on Sunday and holiday are paid as much, the greater bulk of the employee prefer to work during the regular daytime hour. 

The company, also one of the major sponsors of the first Manila Carnival, had Dr. Ariston Bautista y Lim as its president. Lin also served as the head of the Philippine Medical Society as well as executive of several charitable organizations in the county.

Different cigarette wrappers of Germinal

This is an article from  the Navy Guide to Cavite and Manila in 1908

In 1908 the cigarette output of this factory is three million cigarettes
every twenty-four hours
The Germinal cigar factory has become one of the principal places of interest for visitors to Manila. Almost every person of note who has visited manila within the last few years has been the guest of this company. Touring parties have been lavishly entertained by the directors and managers of the company, and a trip through the factory has awed nearly everyone who has had the pleasure of making it.
Different cigar rings of Germinal
FABIAN DELA ROSA  paints the word “Germinal”
 in the background of this painting- a tribute to the cigar
company that provided him a scholarship to study at the 
Academie Julian in Paris. 
Source: Important Philippine Art, Salcedo Auction, 2018

The hustle and bustle and yet calm and orderly movement of the workers has startled the reconceived and entertained idea that all the industries of Manila are of a primitive character and the workmen shiftless and unreliable. After passing through the great room where the pina-clad senoritas sit in a long row engaged in the talks of putting the cigarettes up in packages.  So deftly do these girls perform their task that by touch alone they are able each time to gather just thirty cigarettes and so quickly waft them into the folded and fastened package that the eye is left to catch up with the performance. Never are the cigarettes counted but form the never diminishing pile, always fed from the machines, the exact number is taken without hesitation and with one movement of the sensitive fingers then with a rapid movement thy are encased the paper package and are ready for the market.

1912 Germinal Newspaper Ad

The cigar output is 100,000 per day. Thirteen hundred men, women and girls are employed by the Germinal Company and the weekly payroll amounts to from P4,000 to 5,000. The daily payment to the internal revenue tax amounts to P4,000 on cigars and cigarettes manufactured for home consumption.

Germinal tobacco plantation advertisement postcard

Advertisement postcard of Germinal - THE SMOKE OF THE FLEET.  The Great White Fleet was the popular nickname for the powerful United States Navy battle fleet that completed a journey around the globe from 16 December 1907, to 22 February 1909, by order of United States President Theodore Roosevelt. The fleet arrived in Manila Bay on Oct . 31, 1908