Picayune is also the name brand of the strongest little cigarettes I have ever smoked in my life. We would always test the mettle of wannabe smokers by offering them one of these little jewels from our hidden stash. It had no filter, of course, and inhaling a large drag from a Picayune could send some folks running to worship the porcelain goddess, hand covering mouth which was attached to a face turning a wonderful shade of green.

While trying to make sure that I had remembered this correctly, as well as trying to verify my theory that they were manufactured in Nawlins or thereabouts (could not confirm), I ran across this bit of cigarette lore:

In the 1920s, the battle of the big three became known as "The Cigarette Ferris Wheel." Camel, Chesterfield and Lucky Strike took turns at the top. Lorillard's 1926 entry into the "standard brand" race was called Old Gold, a brand name which dated back to the 1870s. Using their famous blindfold test and such slogans as "Not a cough in a carload," Old Gold claimed a fair share of the market but never rode to the top of the "cigarette Ferris wheel."

While the standard brands commanded the lions' share of the market, there continued to be a substantial demand for regional brands throughout the 1920s. Picayune and Piedmont sold well in the Gulf states. Clown, Snooty, Charring Cross, and numerous other minor brands held claim to loyal followings in the South and Midwest.

Pic`a*yune" (?), n. [From the language of the Caribs.]

A small coin of the value of six and a quarter cents. See Fippenny bit.

[Local, U.S.]

<-- adj. picayunish; small-minded -->


© Webster 1913.

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