Benson & Hedges was founded on Old Bond Street, London, in 1873 by partners Richard Benson and William Hedges. In 1878 the company received the so-called Royal Warrant, which, however, was abolished in 1999. Benson & Hedges company was one of the first who started to sell tobacco in tin cans, not by the weight in order to preserve the freshness of the product. In 1885, after Richard Benson’s death, Alfred Paget, Hedges’ son, joined the company.
Beginning in 1899, Benson & Hedges began its westward expansion with the opening of a branch and company store (which lasted until 1950) in New York. At that time Benson & Hedges cigarettes were positioned as premium cigarettes and were made from complex bags of tobacco from all over the world. The Parliament variety was particularly distinctive for the time, thanks to the built-in mouthpiece.
Although Benson & Hedges products have been on the Canadian market since 1906, the official branch did not open until 1967. It was this brand that brought the 100mm cigarette to the Canadian market. In the late 1970s, Lights 100’s (Regular and Menthol) appeared, and in 1986, the King Size.
In 1928, the American branch of Benson & Hedges was sold to an American group of businessmen, which included Hitt, Farwell & Company and Murray Hill Trust Company. And in 1954 the Benson & Hedges brand was resold to Philip Morris.
But by that time, the British Benson & Hedges, opened its branches almost all over the world.
In 1955 Benson & Hedges was sold to the British company Gallaher. The most significant innovation in Benson & Hedges cigarettes was the patented Pure Gold filter. It appeared in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and was renamed simply “Gold” in the 2000s.
In 1956, British American Tobacco acquired all Benson & Hedges branches, except for English, Irish, Canadian, U.S., Taiwanese and Phillipine.
Benson & Hedges cigarettes are still made today. And are still positioned as premium cigarettes of the highest class. The composition of the cigarettes is Virginia or the so-called american blend, depending on the market.