Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 143,424 pages of information and 230,044 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
The company was established in 1902, when the United Kingdom's Imperial Tobacco Co and the American Tobacco Company of the USA agreed to form a joint venture, the British-American Tobacco Company Ltd. The parent companies agreed not to trade in each other's domestic territory and to assign trademarks, export businesses and overseas subsidiaries to the joint venture. James 'Buck' Duke became its chairman. The British American Tobacco business thus began life in countries as diverse as Canada, China, Germany, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, but not in the United Kingdom or USA.
In 1911 the American Tobacco Company sold its share of the company. Imperial Tobacco gradually reduced its shareholding, but it was not until 1980 that it divested its remaining interests in the company.