A Brief History of Cigar Cutters

Nate Simonds

Cigars have been enjoyed for centuries, but it wasn't until the 19th century that cigar cutters became popular. Before the invention of the cigar cutter, cigar smokers would typically bite off the end of their cigars, use their fingernail, or use a knife to cut them. However, these methods often resulted in an uneven cut, which could cause the cigar to burn unevenly or unravel.  Zino Davidoff was quoted as saying “biting does not permit much precision. I realize that some smokers are past masters of this technique, but I never practice or recommend such a method”.

The first cigar cutter was invented in the 1860s by a Frenchman named Pierre Lacour. Lacour's invention, called the guillotine cutter, featured a blade that would cleanly slice off the end of the cigar, resulting in a more uniform cut. The guillotine cutter quickly caught on among cigar smokers, and by the end of the 19th century, it had become the most popular type of cigar cutter.

In the early 20th century, other types of cigar cutters began to appear on the market. The punch cutter, which features a circular blade that punches a hole in the end of the cigar, was invented in the early 1900s and quickly became popular among cigar smokers who preferred a smaller, more concentrated draw.  The punch method was favored by Winston Churchill, however, he used the end of a wooden match to punch his cigars. The V-cutter (or wedge cut), which features a v-shaped blade that cuts a wedge out of the end of the cigar, was also invented around this time.

During the 20th century, cigar cutters became more elaborate and ornate, with many featuring intricate designs or made from expensive materials like gold or silver. Some cigar cutters even featured built-in lighters or other accessories. However, the most important feature of the cutter is that it is sharp. Once a cigar cutter dulls it must be discarded to avoid continuously damaging your cigars!

Today, cigar cutters come in a wide variety of styles and designs, from basic guillotine cutters to high-end cutters made from exotic materials like titanium or carbon fiber but the same basic cuts remain. Many cigar enthusiasts prefer to use a specific type of cutter based on their personal preferences, with some favoring the clean cut of the guillotine cutter, while others prefer the concentrated draw of the punch cutter or V-cutter. Some people even use multiple v-cuts to form a cross or star.

In addition to their practical function, cigar cutters have become an important style accessory for cigar smokers, with many collectors seeking out vintage or unique cutters to add to their collections. Brands have also begun advertising their cigars on promotional cutters given at events. Whether you prefer a basic cutter or a high-end model, a good cigar cutter is an essential tool for every cigar connoisseur.

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