Illustration of a red flag with a white elephant on it on a white background with black text
SWEET CAPORAL CIGARETTE
Buttons made by The Whitehead & Hoag Co. Newark, N. J. U.S.A. Pat April 14, 1896, July 21, 1896
Siam was officially renamed to Thailand in 1939. The first national flag of Thailand was a plain red flag. The plain red flag was changed because vessels often confused the Thailand flag for other countries with red flags such as China. In 1855 a white elephant was added to the flag shown on this button. The white elephant is part of the mythological origin of Thailand’s founding dynasty and is the symbol of the royal family.
Designed and manufactured by Whitehead & Hoag Co. advertisers like Sweet Caporal cigarettes were able to insert their own backings to this button. Sweet Caporal was a brand of cigarettes created by the Kinney Brothers Tobacco Company in 1878 and sold to the American Tobacco Company in 1911. Sweet Caporal was a very popular brand, especially in Canada during the early part of the 20th Century. In 1908, 50% of cigarette sales in Canada were comprised of the Sweet Caporal brand.