A black-and-white photograph that featured a young woman with a rotary phone in one hand and a device holding 20 smoldering cigarettes in the other has been shared online to suggest that the smoking contraption was real.
Snopes found that the image is authentic and hosted by the photography aggregating site Getty Images as part of a 12-image collection titled, "13 Inventions Not Likely To Be At CES Gallery," and included in the pop history record, Hulton Archive. The photo was taken on Jan. 1, 1955, according to Getty.
Though the photo itself is genuine, Snopes was not able to determine at the time of this publication whether the device was real. It was unknown whether it indeed allowed a user to smoke an entire pack of cigarettes at once — nor whether it was produced as an authentic item for commercial sale or a single prop made for creative or editorial purposes.
Snopes contacted Karen Leach, a manager of data at Getty Images archive, for more information. Leach said after checking "the original and day books" associated with the image, "there is no indication" of whether the device was a commercial item or "dreamt up for the photo shoot."
"It will remain another mystery at the Archive!" Leach wrote.
Titled “Chain Smoker” in Getty's database, the photograph was captured by a photographer simply identified as “Jacobsen." Its Getty Images record states that it features model “Frances Richards” as she “smokes a pack of cigarettes all on one cigarette holder.”
A disclaimer in the image's description read:
Please note: images depicting historical events may contain themes, or have descriptions, that do not reflect current understanding. They are provided in a historical context.
keraneuology. “Smoke an Entire Pack of Cigarettes! Simultaneously!” R/Thisisarealthing, 18 Sept. 2015, www.reddit.com/r/thisisarealthing/comments/3lgbxq/smoke_an_entire_pack_of_cigarettes_simultaneously/
“Model Frances Richards Smokes a Pack of Cigarettes All on One...” Getty Images, https://www.gettyimages.co.nz/detail/news-photo/model-frances-richards-smokes-a-pack-of-cigarettes-all-on-news-photo/2716512. Accessed 22 Oct. 2023.