A look into Houston's retail past

Ashtrays and Matchbooks

Matchbooks were a huge promotional tool throughout the 20th century, and it made sense because most of the population smoked, and smoking was allowed in most buildings. As smoking declined so did the practice of giving out free matchbooks. I grew up right around the end of smoking in restaurants, it was discouraged but wouldn’t be outlawed until I was in high school. I remember non-smoking sections of most restaurants by this point using generic ashtrays as branded ones had a tendency to end up stolen. While I have found these all second hand you can assume how most ashtrays left restaurants.