J.C. Newman’s 109-year-old El Reloj cigar factory in Tampa Florida is the last-operating cigar factory in what was once known as the Cigar City. In El Reloj, we roll premium cigars both by entirely hand and by antique, hand-operated cigar machines.
Company founder Julius Caeser Newman purchased our hand-operated cigar machines in the 1930s. They were built by AMF, the same company that builds bowling ball return machines, and each has approximately 10,000 parts. Since AMF stopped making these antique machines many decades ago, our team of mechanics carefully restores and maintain them, including fabricating custom replacement parts when needed.
Our antique cigar machines do not make small cigarettes or cigarillos. There is no button to press that will churn out cigars in an automated way. Unlike modern, fully automated, high-speed machines that can produce millions of cigarettes or little cigars per hour, our antique cigar machines are operated by a highly trained cigar roller.
The skilled roller uses her hands to individually lay each wrapper leaf for every cigar that she rolls. She also uses foot pedals, much like those seen on vintage sewing machines, to control the antique machine. At most, our cigar rollers can roll 15 cigars per minute using our antique, hand-operated cigar machines.
The cigars we roll using our hand-operated cigar machines are works of art. We use high quality, premium cigar tobaccos from all over the world on these special cigars. We sell them in bundles instead of fancy boxes in order to keep them affordable. You may be familiar with some of the cigars we roll here. Mexican Segundos, Trader Jack’s, Tampa Trolleys, and even the cigar Stanford Newman named himself, Factory Throwouts to name a few.
We are proud of all the cigars we roll in our El Reloj factory. We employ more than 100 incredible, including cigar blenders, rollers, and packagers. Our antique, hand-operated cigar machines are an important part of America’s premium cigar tradition, we are able to keep tha tradition alive in Cigar City. Pick up a Tampa-made cigar today and don’t forget to tag us on social media with the hashtag #jcnewman when you smoke it!
Tens of thousands of people, cigar enthusiasts and the like have passed through our doors…and some…may have never left.
There is only one Joe St. Charles. He’s maintenanced the cigar machines, and fabricated parts for those that are no longer being manufactured.
Aimee Cooks is the Human Resources and Tampa Cigar Factory Manager, but her role in cigar making is bigger than her title.