With so many innovations you might imagine Matchette would have been a huge success, particularly since the price at sixpence for 10 was comparable to other large brands like Player's Navy Cut or Will's Gold Flake. I suspect maybe the cigarettes themselves were not quite as good as the maker's claimed, but the real reason that this was a short lived brand could well have been the cumbersome size of the packet. The 20 size particularly is quite a monster.
POINT OF SALE - Pinnace
by John Kitchen
Most of the tobacco companies made use of a "Navy Cut" description for at least one of their cigarette brands. According to the book "From Plantation to Players" published in 1936 the term originates from the days when sailors were allowed to purchase un-manufactured tobacco leaf duty free. They rolled the leaf and then coiled a rope around it which was twisted to tighten onto the tobacco and compress it into a length of "plug”. As required a section of the coil would be unwound and a piece of the plug cut off using a knife. Hence the term Navy Cut. Some brands referred to this same process as Navy Twist. Players claimed to have incorporated this compressing of the leaf into a plug as part of their manufacturing processing and other makers appear to have followed suit in name at least.
The Navy Cut brand of cigarettes sold by Godfrey Phillips at the early part of the last century was Pinnace. Again the, name retains the seagoing theme as a Pinnace was a warship's small boat originally schooner rigged or eight oared, but by the turn of the century steam powered. Pinnaces were used to transport officers from ship to ship or shore.
This die cut show card for Pinnace cigarettes shows a mouth watering array of packets and boxes, some with the contents tumbling out. The design was used up until the early 1930s with modifications to bring the boat up to date. A couple of the open 10 size packets here show rather eerie looking 'women's heads rising out of them. These are the distinctive oval cigarette card "Beauties" that were being packed with Pinnace cigarettes at the time and are a perfect way of being able to accurately date the show card to 1914 when the series was issued. In the 1920s this brand was famous for the 'long running series of small photographs of footballers that were issued with it. So popular were they that the wording "a real photo in every packet" was added beneath the triangular logo.