This photo shows the old factory building at 616 North 8th Street in Reading, PA
This photo shows the office inside one of the old John Hay factories. During the early 1900's more than 100 factories made cigars in Reading, PA alone.
This photo is from a parade in Reading, PA in 1922.
John Hay Cigars was established in Newmanstown, Pennsylvania in 1882. The cigar company, then W.W. Stewart & Sons, moved to Reading PA in 1898 and continued producing cigars until the cigarette industry all but wiped out most local cigar industries in the 50's. Craig Stewart, greatgrandson of W.W. Stewart, re-introduced the John Hay Cigar in the early 1990’s and when Craig retired, David & Lauren took sole ownership in 2006.
The company today is phenomenal, producing some of the industry's most sought after Pennsylvania Broadleaf cigars. Pennsylvania Broadleaf, unlike other cigar wrappers are grown right here locally in Pennsylvania, and have been around for quite some time, but until recently, it was only ever referred to as US tobacco and used as a binder and occasionally a filler.
Due to an ever increasing demand for a unique and robust maduro wrapper that produced a strong yet subtle smoke, the PA Broadleaf has pretty much created a name for itself. It’s not the most attractive leaf due to its somewhat uneven, marbleized appearance. But the flavor is extraordinarily rich and distinctive.
These Pennsylvania made cigars are named for the American diplomat and statesman, John Hay (1838-1905). Hay was born in Salem, Indiana in 1838. He graduated from Brown University and began practicing law in Springfield, Illinois in 1861. When Abraham Lincoln became President, he made Hay his Assistant Private Secretary.
In 1897, Hay was appointed United States Ambassador to Great Britain. From 1898 until his death in 1905, he served as Secretary of State under Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. John Hay is best remembered for his Open-Door Policy in China and establishing the diplomacy that prepared the way for building the Panama Canal (Hay-Pauncefote Treaty).
Read more about John Hay