The history of the ashtray: everything you need to know about this essential accessory

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Although the ashtray is a very popular item today, a few years ago it was considered a luxury product. Let’s take a little trip back in time to discover the history of the ashtray.

The ashtray: from a luxury object to an artistic piece of fashion

It was with the popularization of the pipe and the cigar in Europe that the ashtray was born. Indeed, from the 17th century, we find ashtrays in the most beautiful homes, because this one was a true luxury item. Handmade by artisans, they were unique and often decorated with precious stones or made from noble materials.

Later, around 1920 and 1930, the ashtray came in more innovative materials, such as glass, silver and even porcelain. Their manufacture was on demand, with the aim of corresponding to the wishes of staid people. Moreover, from a luxury object, it quickly becomes a decorative object.

The democratization of the ashtray

From the 20th century, cigarettes invaded the whole world, thus popularizing the use of the ashtray. Being smoked by a larger number of people and above all, being less bulky than a pipe or a cigar, the manufacture of ashtrays was refocused on these small tobacco stems. They therefore become smaller and their mass production starts at that time. The ashtray loses its splendor and even becomes an advertising object in its own right.

Over time, ashtrays follow the trend of fashion, with materials and colors in line with trends. This is how in the 70s, curves and psychedelic colors came to the fore. Since the 1990s, environmental awareness has led to a drop in demand, and therefore in the production of ashtrays. New models are being tested both indoors and outdoors.

Today, ashtrays are collector’s items, sought after by collectors. The older they are, the more valuable they are. On the other hand, some manufacturers continue to produce invaluable ashtrays for wealthy smokers.

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