Sunday, January 16, 2011

Prince Albert

Prince Albert is an American brand of tobacco, introduced by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in 1907. It has been owned since 1987 by John Middleton Inc.

Prince Albert is one of the more popular independent brands of pipe tobacco in the United States; in the 1930s, it was the "second largest money-maker" for Reynolds. More recently, it has also become available in the form of pipe-tobacco cigars. (A 1960s experiment with filtered cigarettes was deemed a failure.) The blend is burley-based and remains one of America's top-selling pipe tobaccos.

Though there have been several Prince Alberts in the monarchies of Europe, Prince Albert tobacco is not named for the best-known Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, who was husband and Prince Consort to Queen Victoria. Albert and Victoria's eldest son was also known as Prince Albert before he took the throne as Edward VII. The brand of tobacco was introduced after the Prince Consort's death, and the image on the can shows a man with full beard, which the Prince Consort did not wear. Also, the wording on the package was changed somewhat once Prince Albert had become King Edward VII.

The brand is the basis of a practical joke, usually made in the form of a prank call. The prankster typically calls a store and asks if they have "Prince Albert in a can." When the unsuspecting clerk responds "yes" (because the tobacco is typically packaged in a can, though other forms of packaging also existed), the caller follows up with, "Well, you'd better let him out!"

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