Llyod "Spud" Hughes in 1926
When Llyod “Spud” Hughes was growing up in Mingo Junction, Ohio, he suffered from asthma and a doctor recommended that he inhale vapors from menthol crystals to relieve the symptoms. By coincidence, young Spud chose to hide his secret stash of cigarettes in the tin of crystals. The next morning, he was surprised to find that some of the menthol had been absorbed into the tobacco and the smoke was now “cool” He first patented his new menthol cigarettes in 1925, and went to Bloch Bros. in nearby Wheeling, West Virginia to make them under contract for his newly formed “Spud Cigarette Corp.” Initially, he peddled the unique brand of smokes out of the trunk of his car while traveling the back roads of the Ohio Valley.
In 1926, he decided to contract instead with Axton Fisher Tobacco Co. in Louisville, KY. Axton-Fisher Company President, Woodford Axton quickly saw the potential for menthol cigarettes and offered Hughes $90,000 for his patented smokes. The rest is history as Spud Hughes went on a two year spending spree with his new-found wealth, crashing more than a few autos and airplanes along the way while Spud Cigarettes went on to become the fifth largest selling brand in the country by the late 1920s.
Original Spud Cigarette pack from 1925 before the sale to Axton Fisher Spud Cigarettes became a top seller for Axton-Fisher