Wills's - Arms of Companies
- Series name : Arms of Companies
- Issued by: Wills's Cigarettes, UK
- Date of issue : 1913
- Number of cards : 50
- Image variants : -
W.D. & H.O. Wills was a British Tobacco importer and cigarette manufacturer formed in Bristol, England. It was one of the founding companies of Imperial Tobacco.
The company was founded as Wills, Watkins & Co. by Henry Overton Wills I and his partner Watkins, who opened a shop in Castle Street, Bristol in 1786. After the retirement of his partner in 1789 it became “Wills & Co.”. In 1826 his two sons, William Day Wills and Henry Overton Wills II took over the company and in 1830 the company took the above name.
In 1901 Sir William Henry Wills et al formed the Imperial Tobacco company from a merger of W.D. & H.O. Wills with seven other British tobacco companies. Imperial remains one of the World's largest tobacco companies.
In 1988 Imperial Tobacco withdrew the Wills brand in the United Kingdom, but it is still sold in India where it has many brands.
The company has issued a huge number of tobacco card series, probably more than 500 in the UK alone, and several hundred series in the overseas markets. The oldest series date from around 1890 and new series were issued until the late 1930s. More than 25 series with a heraldic theme have been issued by the company. These include arms of UK boroughs, schools, bishoprics and universities, as well as arms of the British Empire, Heraldic Signs and their origins and several overseas issues. See here for all series shown on this website.
This series deals with the arms of the London Livery Companies (incorporated trading companies), whose arms were registered at the College of Arms. Most companies date from medieval times, but their arms are from more recent origin. Many of the trades described do no longer exist. Unless stated, all companies were based in London. Card number 50, Hudson Bay Company, also appears in the Coat of arms of the British Empire Series.
For all known cards see here.
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© since 1995, Heraldry of the World, Ralf Hartemink