Cigarette rolling machine
Sexual / gender division of labor
The piece we see in the photo is a Vilaseca cigarette roller, created by La Maquinista Valenciana foundry and housed in the Museu d’Història de València. It is a motor-powered cigarette rolling machine from the beginning of the century, capable of rolling between 30 and 40 cigarettes per minute. It is noteworthy that tobacco in all of its formats (cigar, cigarette or granulated tobacco), a symbol of masculinity and socio-economic distinction, was produced primarily by women. Women were already present in the tobacco factories of the 18th century, but it was in the following century when the number of female workers increased, as they began to produce cigars, and particularly cigarettes. This work required a great deal of care and precision, while the brute force of male workers was used for producing snuff.