The Regnas Etsy Shop


The history of man's needs and the experiments he has made towards stimulating his senses artificially doubtless stretches back more than ten millennia - back into the realms of unrecorded civilizations. However more recently, and by this I mean to refer to the 17th to the 21st Century,we can examine in detail the history of snuff.

Christopher Columbus first noticed American Indians snuffing an unknown powder on his 1494-6 voyage of disovery. The substance was tobacco, the preparation very close to what we now call snuff. Columbus brought quanitities of the powder back to Europe, where it quickly became fashionable among the French and Spanish. Later, when Charles II returned to England from exile in France, he took with him his snuff habit, which soon caught on over the Channel as well.

Henceforth, snuff became firmly enrooted as the tobacco product of choice among the aristocracy and followers of fashion. It was seen as a far more refined habit than smoking, and was especially favoured in court. Royalty, both Kings and Queens, attended to their snuff habits with a passion, and carried specialised snuff accoutrements and even built dedicated rooms for storing their snuff.

Gradually the common man came to know the pleasures of snuff too, and snuff mills were established across England in cities such as London, Sheffield and Manchester to supply the growing demand. Retailers caught the bug as well, and set up shops solely dealing in snuff and snuff paraphernalia.

Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries snuff production boomed, far outstripping smoking tobacco (or its US sibling, chewing tobacco). It seemed that everyone was taking snuff. And it was even recommended by doctors as a general cure-all, particularly effective in the treatment of coughs, colds and headaches.

During the 20th century snuff declined considerably in popularity, partly on account of the growing tobacco industry's huge marketing machine pushing the "convenience and elegance" of filter cigarettes.

These days, though, snuff is seeing something of a rebirth amongst connoisseurs and those looking for a nicotine fix where smoking is banned or viewed with contempt. In some circles sharing snuff after dinner is now more acceptable than lighting up.

What is Snuff?
Antique Snuff Boxes

The Regnas Snuff Box is modeled on early 19th Century snuff boxes, which at the time were among the most prestigious and treasured of gifts.