Lectores de Tabaquería

From the early 20th century until the pre-war period, the cigar factories of Tampa, Cuba, featured a well-dressed gentleman wearing a Panama hat. He would sit in a predetermined position and in his loud, soulful voice would read to the workers passages from novels, newspaper articles and magazines while they continued to roll the cigars. These readers became known as Lectores de Tabaquería. In this way famous works of literature by leading writers such as Cervantes, Zola, Hugo, Jules Verne, Hemingway were audibly accompanied by the workers in the then manual cigar industry. It was the era just before the advent of the radio, which replaced, not entirely, the Lectores. Today, Lectores exist in some houses, such as Partagas, continuing a tradition linked to Cuban culture. One of the classic cigar stories worth remembering and passing on to younger people.