Napier Glider Cigarette Case WWD 1935

Napier and Its Promotional Stories

In the 1930s, the selling philosophy of The Napier Co. was that jewelry needed to have a “promotion story.” According to the company, pieces needed to have meaning or a trick promotion idea to be successful. Symbolism played a big part in creating those stories designed to pique public interest.  Two cited examples were four-leaf clover motifs or a more esoteric model such as white rings to suggest life preservers. Again, as stated in the book, actual examples of Napier jewelry from this period are tough to locate. We have written history, but often that history was devoid of visual examples.

Napier Glider Cigarette Case WWD 1935
Napier Glider Cigarette Case WWD 1935

The same article that discussed jewelry with a “promotion story” also featured a new cigarette case called “The Glider.” The Glider held 14 cigarettes (seven on a side) and allowed a single cigarette to be pushed out from either end. These cases came in various enamel colors or engine-turned surfaces and could be monogrammed or adorned with applied decorative plaques.  The story for this case was the novelty in the delivery of the cigarettes. As was the case for decades, Napier aimed to create conversation pieces that sparked dialog. Much like wearing a piece of jewelry today, it yielded an opportunity to open conversation between complete strangers.  

Author: Melinda Lewis

Jewelry historian, Melinda Lewis is co-founder of Costume Jewelry Collectors Int’l (CJCI) and author of The Napier Co.: Defining 20th Century American Costume Jewelry.