"I have an antique Bugler Thrift Kit cigarette roller. Could you give me some more information about it?" No one working at the Newton Falls Public Library that day was familiar with the thrift kit, but we were all eager to learn something new.
The Bugler Thrift Kit is mentioned in Sold on Radio: Advertisers in the Golden Age of Broadcasting by Jim Cox. Cox writes that the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company purchased the Bugler brand in the 1930's, and went on to develop the thrift kit as the first roll-your-own package made in America. According to a National Library of Medicine display called "Pick Your Poison: Intoxicating Pleasures and Medical Prescriptions," the Bugler Thrift Kit was marketed during the Great Depression as a more affordable alternative to pre-made cigarettes.
By typing "Bugler Thrift Kit" into an online search engine, we found an advertisement from the archived October 8, 1952, edition of the Spokane Daily Chronicle, pricing the kit at seventy-five cents.
To find how much the Bugler Thrift Kit is worth today, we used one of our new databases here at the Newton Falls Public Library: Price It! Antiques and Collectibles. Accessible from the library website, Price It! allows library cardholders to see how much items are currently selling for online and at select auction houses.