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Canton landscape supply company and retailer RJR, based in Canton, Ohio, was started by the Rogers brothers in the early 1900s and expanded to other parts of Ohio and eventually outside of the U.S. With the advent of diesel-powered locomotives and automobiles, RJR realized that railroad freight would soon be a diminishing commodity and switched from carrying lumber to transporting household goods. RJR quickly diversified, going into household appliance, tool and hardware, office equipment, and even automotive parts and tires. Today, RJR supplies companies with products ranging from office products to power tools. RJR, currently in its 90th year, is now a part of the Stanley Black &, Decker Corporation. This company history describes the history and expansion of RJR, dating from its earliest days in the late 1800s to its current business, in this case household appliances and supplies.
Early years--1883-1899: The Rogers brothers, Samuel and James, owned a general store in Canton, Ohio, in the late 1800s. It sold a variety of goods, including lumber, general merchandise, and food. Around 1883, the brothers decided to specialize in buying lumber at discount and selling it at a premium. After seeing a great deal on the railroad car load of merchandise that was sent from the lumber mills to Canton, the brothers made a large capital investment, and RJR, "Rates Lumber &, Coal," was born. The Rogers brothers hired clerks to sell their lumber and coal, and within a few years the business had grown considerably. RJR soon began delivering coal to steamboat lines on the Great Lakes. The business expanded to a lumber mill in nearby Richwood, Ohio, and then to nearby Youngstown, Ohio.By the late 1890s, RJR had expanded to carrying household goods, as the company was known. James Rogers was the father of Samuel P. Rogers, who served as governor of Puerto Rico and then as U.S. Secretary of State. RJR continued to grow in its early years. For example, by 1896, the company owned four stores in Ohio, and two in Michigan, with annual sales of $250,000. The business also included a mill in California, an automobile truck line, and a trucking company. The railroad also hauled merchandise to the company's warehouses in Youngstown and Canton. The company purchased several other businesses in the years following 1899, including a lumber yard in Youngstown and a grocery store in Cleveland.
By 1899, Samuel P. Rogers decided to leave RJR to pursue other ventures. He was elected governor of Puerto Rico. He also founded RJR Tobacco Company, which would soon become a major producer of tobacco products. The RJR Tobacco Company owned several tobacco companies, including RJR Foods. At this time, the RJR Tobacco Company was the second-largest tobacco company in the world. The RJR Foods Co. was a large manufacturer of foodstuffs, with a warehouse in Cleveland. It also owned a number of plants in the United States, mostly in Cleveland.
Samuel P. Rogers's children continued to work with RJR in Youngstown, and the company continued to grow. By the mid-1900s, the business had a new facility in Youngstown that was built for the business. RJR also had factories in other cities across the United States, including Canton, Cincinnati, Chicago, and Indianapolis. In the years following 1899, the company entered the food industry with the purchase of several grocery stores. RJR acquired a new factory in Indianapolis in 1900, and in 1901, the company acquired the Cramie, Inc., the largest food wholesaler in the United States. Cramie, Inc., had been founded in 1898 by George L. Cramie.
The Rogers family continued to expand the business throughout the first decade of the 20th century. For example, in 1901, the Rogers family and the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company bought Cramie, Inc. George L. Cramie, who had founded the company, died in 1901. In 1902, James F. Rogers became president of the company. The company also started shipping cigarette papers to different states in the United States. On March 1, 1902, the company acquired the Western Smokeries and Cigar Stores Company.
On January 1, 1905, the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company acquired the American Tobacco Company, and the companies merged into the American Tobacco Company. RJR continued to grow, with tobacco manufacturing plants in Akron, Cincinnati, and Columbus. It also had plants in Youngstown, Indianapolis, and in Louisville, Kentucky. RJR also had a manufacturing facility in Boston.
On January 1, 1907, the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company merged with the American Tobacco Company to form the American Tobacco Company. The R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company would no longer exist. On the same day, RJR opened a cigar manufacturing plant in Lawrence, Massachusetts. In 1915, the company built a factory in the city. The company would soon close the factory in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
On January 1, 1911, the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company introduced its first "Premium Cigarette" line. The idea was the idea was to create cigarettes that would have "premium" taste and quality. In addition to selling cigarettes, the company also sold "caviar" and other tobacco products. In 1911, the company also started selling its "Tobacco Pipes".
The company was in the process of moving to new, larger, more modern manufacturing facilities. The company's new factory was located in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The company was now the fourth largest cigarette manufacturer in the United States. The company continued to grow throughout the first half of the 20th century.For example, in 1913, the company started manufacturing its first cigarette with a filter. In 1928, the company made history by developing a unique tobacco mixture which was called "Camel."
The R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company would continue to grow throughout the 1920s and 1930s. By 1936, the company had over $15,000,000 in assets. In 1938, the company had over $40,000,000 in assets. In addition to expanding the business, the company continued to develop new technology and products for cigarettes and tobacco products. In 1955, the company started introducing its own brand of bottled soft drinks.
On August 1, 1964, the company announced it was merging with the Liggett &, Myers Tobacco Company to form the American Tobacco Company. The new company, also known as the "American Tobacco Company" was to be headquartered in New York City. The company's new manufacturing plant was in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1971, the company introduced its famous "Lorillard" brand of "filters." The company would continue to develop products like its "Lorillard" and "Winston" brands, as well as other consumer products. In 1998, the American Tobacco Company went public, making it the oldest publicly traded tobacco company in the United States. In 1999, the company was split into three separate companies - American Brands (tobacco products), Lorillard (tobacco products), and Philip Morris International (tobacco products). The tobacco industry is now also known as the "tobacco industry."
According to TobaccoHistory.org, the industry is currently the third largest consumer of electricity. In 2013, the industry purchased 15.4 billion gallons of water to grow, manufacture, and process tobacco. Currently, American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco are the two largest tobacco companies in the world.
Tobacco use has been linked to cancer, heart disease, other diseases, and even death. It is still unclear how many tobacco companies the government should be able