The Illuminating Lens

J.C. Newman Cigar Company – Ybor City – Tampa, Florida – 2022

I met several photographer friends one weekday morning for a tour of a historic company and building in a historic part of Tampa, Ybor City.  We met for a full tour of the J.C. Newman Cigar Company factory.

Newman Cigar’s iconic clock tower is visible from I-4 as you go through Tampa. Nikon Z7


Some Details from Wikipedia

J.C. Newman Cigar Company was established in 1895 and is the oldest family-owned premium cigar maker in the United States. It was founded in Cleveland, Ohio by Julius Caeser Newman, a Hungarian immigrant. The business relocated to a historic 1910 cigar factory (Regensburg cigar factory) in the Cigar City of Ybor City, in Tampa, Florida in 1954. The family business is now in its fourth generation of Newman ownership.

Our Visit

They have at least one historian on staff who will give you a short tour or the full tour of the factory.  They have a small museum, that shows the history of the company and a small gift shop.

For this tour, I used my iPhone 14 Pro Max, my Nikon Z7 with the FTZ converter and F 105mm lens, and my infrared converted Nikon Z6 and Z 35mm lens.

We started our tour in a tobacco-aging area.

Bags of cigar tobacco leaves in the aging room


We learned that the tobacco plants used for cigars are different from and grown in different places than the tobacco plants used for other products.

From there, we went to a temperature-controlled room where the finished cigars are stored.

Storage of Hand-Rolled Cigars – iPhone 14 Pro Max


Boxes of Cigars – Nikon Z7


Our next stop was in the basement.  This is where the aged leaf bunches are brought to be rehydrated so they can be used to roll the cigars. We were treated to quite a show as Hector, taking two bunches at a time waved them through a high-pressure stream of water, fortuitously highlighted by a single light!

Rehydrating the tobacco leaves.  Nikon Z6


Rehydrating the bunches. Nikon Z6


We visited another very dark room that housed a lot of historic memorabilia associated with the company.

Very colorful cigar store Indian statue – Nikon Z7 – Topaz Impressions


Our next stop was the packaging area.  The workers carefully gather and wrap the cigars in cellophane.

Cigar Wrapping station – Nikon Z7


From there we watched as the ribs were removed from the leaves and they were flattened.

Flattening the leaves. iPhone 14 Pro Max


Our next stop was the machinery floor where the majority of their cigars are made.

Cigar-making machinery – iPhone 14 Pro Max


From there we visited some more storage areas which lead us to the upper floor where the specialists were making the hand-rolled cigars!

Hand-rolling  – Nikon Z7


The finished product, now ready for the special storeroom.

Finished Hand-rolled Cigars – Nikon Z7


Some of the very fancy cigars in their gift shop!

Fancy Hand-rolled Cigars – iPhone 14 Pro Max


So, we had a great morning touring one of the iconic sites in Tampa!  I have lived here most of my life and this was my first visit!  So, the moral of that story is to check out what is in your city!  Traveling locally can be interesting and photo-worthy, too!

Click on any image to see a larger version OR visit my gallery to see and purchase prints and other items with these and many additional images: Gallery Link: J.C. Newman Cigar Co Factory

My next blog will be a bit farther away!  We made a fall trip to northern Georgia and North Carolina!

That is all for now!



Lynn Wiezycki

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