Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,946 pages of information and 233,606 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
Note: This is an abridged version of a chapter in British Commerce and Industry 1934
The Molins Machine Company, Limited, of London and Bristol, pioneers in the production of cigarette-making machines, are now daily supplying machines to every large firm of tobacco manufacturers throughout the world. Their machines are turning out cigarettes at the rate of half a million and upwards per day each, in more than 60 different countries. All are designed and manufactured in England, and carry with them to the four quarters of the world that old unshakable faith in British craftsmanship which has at all times placed British products in the forefront of the world's markets.
In 1874 J. S. Molins, a tobacco expert of Cuba, started in cigar and, later, cigarette manufacture in his chain stores in the United States, where cigars were made by the most expert Cuban makers, under public view, and his products established an unrivalled name for excellence.
In 1890 he introduced cigarette-making machines into Spain, making 90,000 cigarettes per day of the Spanish type. In the factory in Logrono a number of these machines may still be seen to-day in regular operation.
In 1896 he introduced continuous type cigarette-making machines into Great Britain, manufacturing cigarettes of the modern type at a speed of 150,000 per day.
In 1900 W. E. Molins, the present head of the firm, improved the product and increased the speed of the latter machines to 200,000 per day. There followed several years of cigarette manufacture in which cigarettes were manufactured by Molins for other clients not possessing machines. Their customers included many firms whose names to-day are household words.
It is in the exacting school of manufacturing cigarettes for other firms that W. E. Molins and his brother H. B. Molins secured their experience. The former, since 1905, has been responsible for some hundreds of inventions which are in universal use in the tobacco industry. A carefully collected and highly trained staff of keen, loyal colleagues — in all numbering close on 2,000 specialized engineers and draughtsmen — now forms a united progressive force which, we are indeed proud to think, enjoys the friendship and confidence of tobacco manufacturers of all lands.
The Molins precision cigarette-making machine, which is shown at the head of this record, is the most highly developed example in the world, and in its present form has many unique features which place it before all others. Special mechanism in the tobacco feed produces the previously unobtainable regularity in the filling and the weight of the cigarettes.
The machine is so designed as to be able to give its maximum fine results even with unskilled labour.
A special mechanism renders attention to the tobacco feed unnecessary and even the quality of the product is automatically checked without human intervention. This is carried out by apparatus which automatically weighs the product of the machine periodically, and adjusts the machine accordingly. Truly an automatic machine, with quality of the product at high speed as its chief virtue.
The tobacco cutting machine illustrated on the next page is of entirely new design, and marks a direct step forward from the older types of machine, which have been made for over sixty years without any material change in design.
With these old-fashioned types of machines the knife had to be removed every few minutes in order to be sharpened on a special high-powered grinder: other objections to this type of machine were that they were noisy, full of vibration and soon worn out.
The Molins machine is entirely rotary and vibrationless. It is fitted with six spring steel knives mounted on a turret head. These knives are automatically fed forward as they wear, and each knife passes over a high-speed grindstone before each cut. Periodically a diamond traverses the face of the grindstone, which is also slowly fed forward as it wears. All grindings from the knives and the stone are removed from the head by a suitably placed suction system.
The tobacco feed has no rollers, but merely two flexible metallic bands. These bands gradually taper towards the mouthpiece, which ensures a progressive and uniform increase in pressure on the tobacco, and a perfect feed.
Owing to the knives being continually sharpened, and the improved cutting thereby obtained, the quality of the product is a great advance over existing standards. This, coupled with the saving in knife and running costs, enables the machine to pay for itself within the course of one year.
Packing machines for almost every existing type of package are produced by this company, only a few of which are shown.
The M.2 model packs the slide and shell packet, and is used extensively in England. The W.U.S. model packs the soft type of paper and foil package, which is extensively used in the United States of America.