Or to be precise, W. & F. Faulkner, subject of our first ever reference book RB.1, published in 1942 - and inside the front cover of which is a small biography, just asking for expansion.
Now the story starts, as all good treasure hunts ought to, with a mystery, because the date of their beginning is quoted as 1831 in our World Tobacco Issues Index, but the reference book begins by saying : "The firm of Faulkner commenced in the year Victoria was crowned (1838) and tribute was paid to her Majesty in their set "British Royal Family", which includes eleven pictures of the Queen." The address given on the back of these cards is Blackfriars Road. The full address was 223 & 224 Blackfriars Road, London, S.E - and they were still listed as being there in a London directory of 1884.
The reference book then tells us that "In 1896 they became a limited company", and with this knowledge we are able to state that their "Puzzle Series", originally dated to 1898, must have been produced before that, because there is no "Ltd." on the card. It was printed by A. Hildesheimer & Co., and the cards measure 2 7/16" x 1 9/16". This set is quoted to be of twelve cards, but there has always been a suspicion that it was of twenty-five. There are also two printings, as cards were issued with both the "Grenadier" and "Nosegay" brands, and slight differences can be found between them.
When troubles were stirring in South Africa their cards were again influenced by current events. Therefore they issued "Kipling" and in 1901 25 cards in an untitled series which is either known as "South African War Series" or "Boer War Series". Printed by Mardon, Son & Hall. Now this set is one of the few Faulkner issues to be printed on both sides. It also measures 2 5/8" x 1 3/8"
The next sets all follow the same pattern, looks wise, and measure approximately 2 3/8" x 1 1/2", or 59-62 x 37-39 m/m. The fronts are coloured drawings on a white background, sometimes with a toned shadow, and there are no marginal lines. For some reason the backs are always plain. There is nothing recorded as to why this was, and other issuers were already producing double sized cards, but it could just have been simple economics, because every additional colour added cost, and to print on both sides would also have been another process to factor into the cost. Perhaps this was also a factor in the sets being printed by different printers?
Some of these sets are based on popular sayings and expressions, a lot of which are now long forgotten, but given a comical twist.
1899 12 "Military Terms" (untitled) - Ltd., London S.E. - "Grenadier Cigarettes" - printed by A. Hildesheimer & Co.
we know that in January 1899 framed copies of this set were given away to tobacconists, presumably to entice them to stock the product. Even if what was framed was simply proofs, it means that the cards were all drawn and capable of being printed, so we can pretty safely say this would have been the first of this style of set
1899 12 "Military Terms" second series (untitled) - Ltd., London S.E. - "Grenadier Cigarettes" - printed by A. Hildesheimer & Co.
as this is the second series it cannot have been before the above set.
1899 12 "Police Terms" (untitled) - Ltd., London S.E. - "Grenadier Cigarettes" - printed by A. Hildesheimer & Co.
1899 12 "Cricket Terms" (titled) - Ltd., London S.E. - "Grenadier Cigarettes" - printed by A. Hildesheimer & Co. (in Germany).
1900 12 "Nautical Terms" (untitled) - Ltd., London S.E. - "Grenadier Cigarettes" - printed by A. Hildesheimer & Co.
1900 12 "Nautical Terms" (untitled) - Ltd., London S.E. - "Grenadier Cigarettes" - printed by Tillotson & Sons, Bolton.
The change of printer suggests that perhaps they were cheaper, or offered a special deal.
1900 12 "Nautical Terms" (untitled) - Ltd., London S.E. - "Union Jack Cigarettes" - printed by Tillotson & Sons, Bolton.
1900 12 "Coster Series" (untitled) - - Ltd., London S.E. - "High Class Cigarettes" - printed by J. Causton & Sons, Ltd.
Another new printer. And "High Class Cigarettes" was not a brand, it was a statement about the quality of the product. It also appears on the back of their first set "British Royal Family"
1900 12 "Football Terms" Second Series (titled) - Ltd., London S.E. - "Grenadier Cigarettes" - printed by A. Hildesheimer & Co.
Back to Hildesheimer, with their tail between their legs?
1900 12 "Cricket Terms" (titled) - Ltd., London S.E. - "Grenadier Cigarettes" - printed by A. Hildesheimer & Co.
1900 12 "Sporting Terms" - "Grenadier Cigarettes" - printed by A. Hildesheimer & Co.
This was the last set by Hildesheimer, they again gave Causton a go
1901 12 "Golf Terms" (untitled) - Ltd., London S.E. - "Grenadier Cigarettes" - printed by J. Causton & Sons Ltd., London
1902 12 "Street Cries" (untitled) - "Grenadier Cigarettes", printed by J. Causton & Sons Ltd., London.
These only concluded when the business was merged into the Imperial Combine on September 29th, 1902.
In the 1920s cards were again issued. In 1923 and 1924 two sets of "Prominent Racehorses of the Modern Day" were produced, one being numbered 26-50 and having the subtitle "2nd series of 25". These were printed by Mardon, Son & Hall, who produced many of the Imperial Tobacco Co.`s cigarette cards, and they are a much different format to the "Terms" series, in almost every way, being double sided, and numbered, with full colour fronts having white margins to each of the edges. There was also what is described as "A stiffener" to announce the set. Nothing else is recorded, but that term suggests a thicker card than normal. I will try to track one down to chat about!
In 1902 they joined the Imperial Tobacco Company.
Some of their other brands were :
"Sweet Rosemary Flake" - tobacco - retailed for 7 1/2d. an ounce
"Tom Long" - tobacco -
For very many years Faulkner`s occupied premises in Blackfriars Road, London, S.E., a neighbourhood rich in tradition and history, but RB.1 states that "at the time of compilation (1942) they were located at Canal Street, Chester." There was a very good reason for this, and that was that almost as soon as the Second World War began they transferred all their staff out of London and up to Chester and Liverpool. However some employees chose to stay, and these were given a fixed fee instead.
Now I have discovered that somewhere in Liverpool there exists a memorial to Faulkner staff who lost their lives in the two World Wars. Does anyone know where this is?