What is Tobacco Bag Stringing?
A tobacco bag such as the ones used by the bag stringers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were usually made of muslin measuring approximately 4 inches long by 3 inches wide. These milled bags were sewn down the length of the two sides and a small open casing was left at the top. Through this casing, a tobacco bag stringer, using a needle, would thread a string capable of being drawn. This was done by threading the string through one side, around the edge and across the other side. The ends would then be tied together in a knot. Starting from the other end the stringers would do the same with another string and knot it again. When pulled at the same time the bag would close and by pulling on both sides of the bag at the same time, the bag would open.
The image to the left shows a sample of a muslin tobacco bag with the yellow string already inserted. The image to the right shows a bag that is not only strung, but also contains the labels, cigarette papers, and tobacco for "Country Gentlemen" from Liggett & Myers Tobacco Co., manufactured in Durham, North Carolina.