John Duncan & Son
Messrs. John Duncan & Son, Tobacconists and Cigarette Manufacturers, Importers of Havanna Cigars, 94, and 96, Buchanan Street.—
In connection with the tobacco, cigar, and cigarette trade in Glasgow there is no name better known, no business of longer establishment, and no house of more thoroughly representative character or more eminent commercial distinction, than that of Messrs. John Duncan & Son, of the foregoing address. This noted and particularly well-reputed house was founded as far back as 1772, and passed successively under the names of Bilton, Thomas Baird, and then George Baird, the latter being succeeded by Mr. John Duncan, who in 1847 received the appointment of tobacconist to the Queen by special warrant, and is probably the oldest tradesman now living who holds the royal warrant. Mr. Duncan was joined later on by his son, Mr. James Duncan, these two constituting the present personnel of the firm, and the title of John Duncan & Son was assumed twelve years ago. The present premises were taken in 1852.
They stand on the site of a house occupied by the Mr. Buchanan after whom this one of Glasgow’s finest thoroughfares was named, and are prominent in the handsome block known as Royal Bank Buildings. That portion of the buildings devoted to the purposes of Messrs. Duncan’s business comprises a fine ground-floor shop, with cigarette-making workrooms on the top floor, and extensive storerooms in the basement. The principal shop has no superior in Glasgow, in the tobacco trade, as regards excellence of accommodation and appointment, and is heavily stocked from end to end with one of the largest and choicest assortments of first-class tobacconists’ goods to be found in any one Scottish establishment.
Messrs. Duncan handle only the finest and most thoroughly reliable lines of tobacco merchandise, and their house maintains a reputation that is unsurpassed at the present day by any British concern of its kind for the purity and high quality of every article supplied in its name. The value of such a reputation as this is obvious to every smoker, for there can be no exaggeration in saying that there does not exist to-day a lover of the “weed” who has not on many an occasion learned by unpleasant experience that, in the tobacco trade at least, it is possible to place implicit reliance only in such establishments as enjoy the confidence winch only such a reputation can engender. This is not a pleasing fact to record, but it is none the less true, and its mention in these pages is introduced simply to bring due stress to bear upon the foregoing statement in favour of the firm here under notice.
Messrs. Duncan were primarily famous for their smoking tobaccos. “Duncan’s Mixture”, a fine-flavoured and high-class pipe tobacco, was among the first mixtures brought out in Great Britain. It is likewise among the first to-day in point of quality, and its one uniform standard of merit has never varied in the whole of its long and successful public career, save inasmuch as it may have now and then manifested the ever acceptable variation of improvement. Mixture tobaccos, then, and fine smoking tobaccos of all kinds for pipe use, rank among the great specialities of this house, and Messrs. Duncan’s supplies in this respect have more than a national celebrity, they are known and appreciated in many a land whither they have been preceded or followed by smokers who have valued them at home.
In the production of cigarettes Messrs. Duncan & Son are now no less famous than in the skilful blending of high-class pipe tobaccos, and their house obtained a prize medal at the Leeds Exhibition of 1875 for the manufacture of these vastly popular little “smokes”, which have been wittily defined as “the most insidious, wicked, and withal charming little smokes ever known”. Messrs. Duncan & Son’s cigarettes embody the one standard merit of purity, which must ever be the first recommendation for this class of tobacco manufactures, and their goods have repeatedly proved their perfect trustworthiness in this highly important respect.
In the matter of cigars the house enjoys a repute that needs neither defence nor accentuation here. The very choicest brands may always be obtained from “Duncan’s”, and this firm is among the very few in the United Kingdom who have cigars made specially for them by the great manufacturers in Havanna.
The trade controlled by the house is of the most distinguished and superior character, and extends not only throughout the entirety of the three kingdoms but also over a far-reaching export circle, the Canadian connection being especially well developed through the medium of an agency in Montreal. An immense stock is held, comprehensive, valuable, and complete in its every retail and department, and the firm’s patronage is drawn from the highest circles in the land, among their many illustrious customers being members of our own royal family and several members of the various European courts, also numerous eminent members of the English, Scottish, and Irish nobility, the gentry of the United Kingdom, and distinguished officers in both branches of Her Majesty’s service.
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