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Kimball's Tobacco Factory

Court Street
Rochester, NY, US

Category: Union Workplace

Used in the following map:

Rochester Labor History eMap

In 1881 William S. Kimball, who had manufactured chewing tobacco, built a factory to produce cigarettes. By early 1883 Kimball’s 800 employees constituted the city’s largest factory workforce. During 1882-1883, the Knights of Labor organized several hundred cigarette factory girls into Local Assembly 1776. In 1883 more than 1100 cigarette makers struck for three months in an unsuccessful effort to increase their wages. By the late 1880s, these women, working at piece rates ranging from two to eleven dollars a week, were rolling and packing a million cigarettes a day. In 1892, 45 cigarette packers struck unsuccessfully for two weeks over a 20 percent wage reduction. In 1890, Kimball's merged with the American Tobacco Company and, in 1905, the Rochester operation was shut down.