from Imperial Tobacco's Website
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Stephen Mitchell's first premises
Phineas Parkes of Worcester
"In 1741 the firm of Stephen Mitchell & Son, founded in Linlithgow, Scotland, eighteen years earlier (and which went on to become one of the original components of the Imperial Tobacco Company), extended its grocering and general dealing business through the construction of a snuff mill and a machine for the cutting of tobacco." "The early tobacco manufacturers' preoccupation with snuff was due to the decline in popularity of smoking. After the peak period of the first decade of the 18th century, the smoking of pipe tobacco came to be viewed by society leaders as commonplace and provincial, and snuff was favoured as the fashionable way to take tobacco. The marked rise in snuff consumption led to a change in snuff manufacture. The simple production of snuff had hitherto been achieved through the rasping of roll tobacco on a grater, but the increasing popularity saw the adoption of the continental method of scenting it.  Instead of the tobacco being plainly rasped, it was now pounded in a mortar with a pestle especially designed to facilitate its blending with perfume."