Orient Tobacco Manufactory – many questions, any answers? – initial research
This article is the joint effort of the following:
HF: The Orient Tobacco Manufactory was operated by C Ingenhol in Hong Kong during at least the early part of the 20th century. We have had a number of responses about the man and the company. Both seem to be somewhat clouded in mystery. Here are a few questions which you might be able to help with:
1 Where exactly was the Hong Kong factory (if indeed in one location)? See below – rather confusing!
2 When did it operate from and ’til? Doug in a comment says, “The Hong Kong factory was put under supervision by the Hong Kong authorities but returned to him after this war.” ie WW1.
3 Are there any images of what went on inside the factory? It seems to have been very large and yet I can find none.
4 Mr Ingenhol. Did he actually live in HK and personally run this concern? One newspaper report from Feb 1916 says he “lives in Rotterdam and is a naturalised Belgian” though his brother was an admiral in the German Navy.
5 What did he look like? I cannot find a photo of him?
The 1910 photograph below of “Cigar Factory Yaumatei” shows a very large operation extending off picture to the left.
It does not immediately appear to match the Flickr images sent in by Mike T found below. However, the latter also show a chimney behind the main building which could be the building just visible in the background of the 1910 image. If so this was a very large operation covering an extensive area of Yau Ma Tei. It certainly seems unlikely that there were two such operations in the area at the same time.
So maybe Thomas Ngan’s suggestion is correct: “That would probably mean the factory might have taken up the whole lot from the SW corner of Waterloo & Nathan up to the NE corner of modern day Soy Street/Kwong Wah Street/Yim Po Fong Street. I guess that’s ought to be something in GRO or Lands Department by checking out the deeds of the buildings in the area for clues.”
Clarification of the exact location of this factory is needed.
Anthony Lau asks if we have any information about Orient Tobacco Manufactory of Hongkong in a comment following the 9th Feb 2014 article Early HK Chinese manufacturers 1870s + around WW1. The short answer Anthony is no, in fact we have almost nothing on any company making cigarettes, cigars, tobacco etc here.
However, I have had a very quick check and come up with the following:
So yes, the company was in Hong Kong.
Signs of a Colonial Era, p100, mentions the Oriental Tobacco Company “owned by Ingenohl Ltd” . Unless someone can correct me I presume this is a mistake and the Orient name is right. The book says that two Hong Kong streets are named after the (Oriental) Tobacco Company. Tung Fong (ie Oriental) Street and Yin Chong (ie Tobacco) Street. Mike T’s comments and images below confirm that the company was known as Orient.
Tung Fong is very close to Yau Ma Tei MTR station. Yin Chong is behind the Kwong Wah Hospital off Waterloo Road. That is about 400 metres apart. Can anyone clarify whether this company was indeed located at either or both of these streets? And when?
And confirm that the street names have been correctly translated?
Mike T adds: Flickr found photos of the Orient Tobacco Manufactory and its land pre-WWII.
You can see in the first photo that it is indeed Orient, not Oriental, at least at that time. The same name is also used in the Chamber of Commerce Members list from 1936 (page xxxiii), showing Orient Tobacco Manufactory / C. Ingehnohl Ltd. as a member since 1912.
HF: This image has been posted by kerosenian2010 on flikr with the following notes:
Aerial photo probably pre-WW2.
Yellow lines – Nathan Road,
Orange lines – Waterloo Road,
Green line – Soy Street,
Pink line – Dundas Street,
Red line – Jordan Road,
Aquamarine line – Wylie Road
When and how did the piece of land, once belonged to the tobacco manufactory, split and a part become Kwong Wah Hospital ?
Mike T: They seem to have lasted at least until WWII as there are multiple Swiss and Japanese library records dating to the end of the war and mentioning the company, specifically in relation to having been looted during Japanese occupation of the colony.
This article was first posted on 18th December 2014.
- The National Library, Singapore http://newspapers.nl.sg/Digitised/Article/straitstimes19240526-188.8.131.52.aspx
- Yanne A and Heller G, Signs of a Colonial Era, Hong Kong University Press, 2009
Related Indhhk articles:
- The Orient Tobacco Manufactory Company – updated information
- Carl Ingenohl – owner of the Orient Tobacco Manufactory Company
- The Orient Tobacco Manufactory Company – location
- C Ingenohl – company and man
- El Oriente – link to the Orient Tobacco Manufactory and Carl Ingenohl
- C Ingenohl (Hongkong Tobacco Manufactory ?) – cigar factory in Manila