Elegance at Hand: A Brief History of Cigarette Holders

04/04/2022     General

A case of Zeus Cigarette Holders featured in Hayloft’s April sale will transport you back to a bygone era. As you open the case, you’ll find yourself wishing you were sitting outside a Parisian cafe with black satin evening gloves and an empty coffee cup artfully arranged on the white tablecloth in front of you.

If the image of Audrey Hepburn in an updo holding a cigarette holder immediately came to mind, you may be surprised to know that cigarette holders were initially used by men as it was considered inappropriate for American women to smoke in public. After the 19th amendment was passed, granting women the right to vote, cigarette smoking became more common among the younger generations and an elegant, often feminine accessory was born.

Cigarette holders were used throughout the 20s, 30s and 40s – before filtered cigarettes were invented – to keep the user from inhaling tobacco flakes. They also prevented ash from falling on clothes. As they began to be used widely, cigarette holders became as decorative as they were practical.


Cigarette holders came in different sizes, styles and designs for different occasions. Longer lengths were used for more formal events, while the shortest was used for a casual smoke at home. These accessories served as a form of self-expression in a society that valued stepping out and enjoying themselves. Many examples of cigarette holders can be found in films, fashion and images of everyday life.

For obvious reasons, cigarette holders became less popular as technology and attitudes toward smoking shifted in the United State and elsewhere. Although their use has fallen out of fashion, cigarette holders still reveal a great deal about the time periods from which they originated. Form, function and style combined to create beautiful examples of craftsmanship and elegant design.

Hayloft’s upcoming sale will be open for bidding from April 6th through April 10th. Find Lot 17, the Zeus Cigarette Holders, and many others when the online catalogue opens.