A walking tour of the JC Newman Cigar Co., Tampa

0

Photos/Cigar Lover

El Reloj is the name of JC Newman’s cigar factory and its iconic clock tower, which has been a beacon for Tampa’s cigar industry for over a century.

They say no family business lasts beyond the third generation, but don’t tell the Newmans that. Now in its fourth generation, the JC Newman Cigar Co. turned 125 last year, and it’s been in the family since day one. To celebrate more than a century of business, the Newmans decided to convert more of their headquarters into museum space, as well as transform the top floor of the old brick building into a rolling gallery where a few Skilled cigar makers entirely produce a brand called The American. by the hand.

The storied structure is located in the heart of Tampa and is a beautifully appointed institution dedicated to the art and craft of cigar making. It’s also an interactive exhibit that chronicles Newman’s legacy and tells his story in full.

Much of the cigar industry may have abandoned Tampa long ago, but the Newmans never left and they continue to call Cigar City home. Cigar fan or not, no trip to Tampa is complete without a visit. And yes, you are allowed to smoke.

El Reloj

JC Newman Cigar Co.’s fully restored lobby is as welcoming as it is beautiful. Notice Judge Wright’s ghost sign on the brick wall.

El Reloj

Like something in the pages of Jules Verne, this is the original mechanism that was installed in 1910 to power the clock tower – and it still works. The building was originally owned by cigar maker Regensburg & Sons before the Newmans moved there in the 1950s.

El Reloj

A museum exhibit and timeline that chronicles JC Newman’s early life. Located on the ground floor, the exhibition offers a fascinating look at the history and evolution of the company.

El Reloj

For many years this top-floor space was used for storage, but now it’s a rolling gallery in its own right where cigar makers produce a brand called The American. It is a new brand of cigars made entirely of tobacco grown in the United States.

El Reloj

Third-generation owner and company chairman Eric Newman can be seen in the background as the cigar rollers begin the morning shift.

El Reloj

Finished batches of freshly rolled cigars sit on a rolling table before being transported to the aging room.

El Reloj

JC Newman also makes around 12 million cigars a year by machine, seen here on the second floor of El Reloj. These marvelous machines are a true industrial throwback, some of them manufactured by AMF before WWII.

El Reloj

Unlike high-speed automated machines, these ancient cigar machines require a lot of human interaction. A machinist places the natural tobacco leaf wrapper on the metal plate where it is cut and ready for the next step.

El Reloj

Old machines like this were built to last, but can be difficult to maintain, as few people have the mechanical knowledge and no one makes parts for them anymore.

El Reloj

A bit of morning light shines on the wall outside the rolling room where the Americans are made.

Share.

Comments are closed.