News; Sep 16, 2002 CET

The snuff enjoyed by popes and laborers celebrates its 180th birthday

With inventiveness and stubbornness Jacob Fredrik Ljunglöv succeeded in establishing »Ettan« (»The One«) as the first »nationwide« snuff in Sweden. Railroad laborers who carried the snuff with them as they moved along were successful marketers. But even Pope Leo XIII liked the taste. »Ettan«, which celebrates its 180th birthday this year, is one of Sweden's oldest active brands and as Swedish as a Midsummer maypole.

As a young man, Jacob Fredrik Ljunglöv took over one of Sweden's oldest tobacco factories, with traditions dating back to the 1600s. In 1821 he began to produce snuff in his own name in Stockholm. But he was not pleased with the quality. The common method of preparing snuff in those days involved fermenting or »sweating« it at a high temperature for a number of months, sometimes for as long as half a year. Ljunglöv didn't like the taste. Moreover he had neither the money nor the space required for the storage of snuff.

In his Adolf Fredrik home parish, Ljunglöv has a good friend who was a world famous chemist and scientist: Jacob Berzelius. It was probably he who helped Ljunglöv develop a production method that was unique for its time. The new snuff only contained tobacco, salt, water and sodium carbonate (which is converted to bicarbonate in the snuff). It was manufactured in a week and sold as a fresh product.

THE RESULT WAS A SNUFF with a pure tobacco taste that still characterizes the prototype for Swedish snuff today. Ljunglöv's »Ettan« was born. The year was 1822. The snuff brand name was originally »Ljunglöv's No 1,« a common method of designating the highest- quality a factory produced. Jacob Fredrik Ljunglöv succeeded in making the general »No. 1« quality label his own brand name, commonly referred to as »The One.«

Jacob Fredrik Ljunglöv as enormously successful with his snuff and now - thanks to his stubbornness and inventiveness - was the only manufacturer of snuff with nationwide sales. Part of the success was due to the fact that the snuff was very popular with railroad workers who carried it with them as the railroad tracks were laid.

HOWEVER, IT WAS THE SON, Knut, who became the »Snuff King of Sweden.« He took over the business in 1850. Knut Ljunglöv as a rough man with a big nose and an unfailing taste for fresh snuff. The combination of these characteristics made him one of the country's most successful businessmen in the 1800s. Many persons asked him what the secret was behind his popular »Ettan« snuff.

He would then calmly point to his grandiose nose and answer: »Here!« Every morning there was a silver bowl with fresh snuff on his desk. With a silver spoon, he would force the snuff up his nose. He »tested« the aroma, sneezed in his multicolored handkerchief and nodded, pleased. The snuff was thereby approved for packaging and selling.

Knut Ljunglöv as obsessed by a passion for quality in everything around him, from shoe soles to ceiling lamps. For a long time he refused to export his snuff since he could not guarantee that it would be fresh when it arrived.

But Ljunglöv did make an exception for Pope Leo XIII who was delighted to receive shipments of Swedish snuff. THE SNUFF KING was forced to abdicate when the Swedish Tobacco Monopoly Company (AB Svenska Tobaksmonopolet) was formed in 1915, and Ljunglöv snuff factory was taken over by the State. The total profits of the tobacco industry would constitute a cornerstone in the Swedish people's national pension fund. Indignantly, the elderly Knut Ljunglöv when appears to have burned all the documentation pertaining to his life's work. His son Robert had to deal with the State's takeover of snuff production. But Ljunglöv's »Ettan« lives on. Today it is the second-largest brand of snuff, surpassed only by General.