The Orient Tobacco Manufactory Company – updated information

This article is the result of several people’s research into The Orient Tobacco Manufactory Company which operated in Hong Kong during the early part of the 20th century and at least up until WW2.

It is the joint effort of several contributors some of whom provided comments to our original article Orient Tobacco Manufactury – many questions, any answers? – initial research, linked below. Others contacted me directly. It thus supercedes the original piece. However many questions remain about both the company and its owner Carl Ingenohl.

Unless otherwise credited most of the information and several images below comes from Edward Schneider, Carl Ingenohl’s great-grandson for which many thanks.

Additional information, corrections and clarifications are always welcome.

Contributions from:-

HF – Hugh Farmer
DG – Doug
ES – Edward Schneider
MT – Mike T
IW – Ian Wolfe

HF: Impressively named Carl Franz Adolph Otto Ingenohl was the owner of C. Ingenohl which operated cigar manufacturing companies in both the Philippines and Hong Kong under the trade name La Perla del Oriente.

In Hong Kong Ingenohl ran the Orient Tobacco Manufactory Company. This was located on a site not far from today’s Yau Ma Tei MTR station. The company may well have had an administrative and sales office in Central.

Most but not all of the management were German, some may have taken Belgian nationality as did Carl Ingenohl himself.

It is unlikely however that supplies were sourced from Germany. Firstly because that would have been uneconomical, which was contrary to Carl Ingenohl’s business principles , but if they had been sourced from Europe, they would have come from Belgium where the operational headquarters were.

The factory was built in 1908-9 on a site in Kowloon in the New Territories bordered by Nathan Road, Dundas Street, Soy Street and Kwong Wa Street.  It had a total surface of 307,095 sq.ft. (approximately 3 hectares).

It was registered as Lot numbers 1421 and 2629.

It was acquired as a grant on 1 January 1908 for $86,124.40. The buildings cost $278,485.45. Some minor additional land appears to have been added in 1922.

The Orient Tobacco Manufactury may be the factory building shown in this 1910  “Cigar Factory Yaumatei”. It does not immediately appear to match the confirmed factory images shown 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 same area at the same time.
ES does not think these buildings are the Ingenohl factory.

Orient Tobacco 1910 Manufactury photo Yaumatei

MT: There is mention in the Chamber of Commerce Members list from 1936 (page xxxiii), showing Orient Tobacco Manufactory / C Ingenohl Ltd as a member since 1912.

DG: The Hong Kong factory was put under supervision by the authorities but returned to him [presumably Carl Ingenohl] after the [First World] War.

Orient Tobacco Manufactury HK factory team image 1925 from Edward Schneider

Orient Tobacco Manufactury HK factory employees (and possibly C Ingenohl?), 1925 Courtesy: Edward Schneider

Orient Tobacco Manufactury HK factory 2 from Edward Schneider

The factory, angled front view, undated. Courtesy: Edward Schneider

Orient Tobacco Manufactury HK factory HK factory rear view from Edward Schneider

The factory, rear view, undated Courtesy: Edward Schneider

IW has kindly given permission for the following information and images to be posted in this article


Ingenohl - HK cigar factory Mike T

The factory at the junction of Nathan Road and Dundas Street c1930s Courtesy: Ian Wolfe

Orient Tobacco Manufactury Ian Wolfe

An artist’s impression of the factory, seen at the same angle as the photo above and probably drawn a few years after Courtesy: Ian Wolfe

Ian asks if anyone knows of a photo showing the building having its corner highlighted by the yellow rectangle ?

MT: The factory was probably in operation 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 the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong.

The factory site was sold for property development in the first half of the 1950s.

We have no images of the inside of the factory.

Orient Tobacco Manufactury HK factory from Edward Schneider

Orient Tobacco Manufactury  boxes Edward Schneider

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. The Orient Tobacco Manufactory Company – location
  2. Carl Ingenohl – owner of the Orient Tobacco Manufactory Company
  3. El Oriente – link to the Orient Tobacco Manufactory Company and Carl Ingenohl
  4. C Ingenohl – company and man – HK cigars
  5. Orient Tobacco Manufactory – many questions, any answers? – initial research
  6. C Ingenohl (Hongkong Tobacco Manufactory ?) – cigar factory in Manila


  • Tnfssn

    At the moment I’m doing research on a storehouse in Antwerp, build by C. Ingenohl by architect Joseph Hertogs. The same architect who build Ingenohl’s residence in the Van Schoonbekestraat in Antwerp. Thanks to your research there is an historical background from the man who build the warehouse. I will mention this article with a note of course. Thanks!

  • Angus Hardern

    Someone has probably pointed this out before but Yim Chong Street (Tobacco Factory Street) presumably is where this factory was located.

  • Matthew

    I’m not sure will this photo be useful for any research, but this is truely a mark of history that should be shared. I found a few of these package remains. They are really beautifully printed, the picture was not just print on the paper, it is a decent embossing.

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