A star is born in Winston-Salem

On this day in 1913, Old Joe, a dromedary in the Barnum & Bailey circus passing through Winston-Salem, posed for the Camel cigarette package.

Because the camel image on the existing pack didn’t suit R.J. Reynolds, Roy Haberkern, his secretary, went to the circus in search of a replacement. Haberkern found the trainer unwilling to allow photographs—until he threatened to end the company’s tradition of closing its factories when the circus came to town. Even then, Old Joe balked until the trainer slapped him on the nose, motivating him into his soon-to-be world-famous stance.

This is a lithographed metal fan pull, about 4 inches in diameter, used to operate the ceiling fans typical in stores before air conditioning.

One thought on “A star is born in Winston-Salem”

  1. What a great story…my grandfather always had a crumpled Camel packet in his pocket as I was growing up and he used to always make up stories about how the camel managed to have his photo taken 🙂

    …and what a great heirloom, it would certainly take some looking to locate any old ceiling fans still around these days with a fan pull like that!

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