64ths of a Topic
Updated: Dec 7, 2020
There has been a question that has been puzzling me for the past week or so and it has to do with a cigar’s ring gauge. If you smoke premium cigars you know that the ring gauge of a cigar is based on 64th’s of an inch. So if a cigar has a ring gauge of 46, it means it’s 46/64th’s of an inch and everyone has simply recognized and understood that’s just the way it is. The question remains why do we use the 64ths of an inch scale? You may think well maybe it’s based on the width in millimeters, but you would be wrong because an inch is 25.4 mm. So if it’s not based on measurement conversions then where did the 64ths scale come from? I’m glad you asked.
I was able to find a couple of potential answers, but according to Famous-Smoke.com, the 1/64ths of an inch scale is based on the thickness of a tobacco leaf. So it takes an “average” of 64 tobacco leaves stacked together to get to one inch. That is certainly a possible explanation, but from what I know of tobacco leaves, if you stack 64 of them together it’s going to be larger than one inch. There is, however, another more in depth answer I received from Lissette Perez-Carrillo on the matter. She explains it from an historical standpoint, “...When Europe and The Colonies (prior to becoming The United States of America) started to make cigars they needed a way to measure the cigar by length and circumference so that they could "market them better” so to speak...At the time in the 18th century the largest possible division of the circumference of a circle was 1/64th of an inch. This then became the measurement chosen to create the ring gauge and convert the tribal sizes to something that was measurable...”.
Honestly, I am surprised that I was not able to find the answer to this any sooner. Almost every article I found online from my google search explained how to measure the ring gauge based on the 64th’s in scale, but none of them explained where that scale comes from, until Lissette explained it. If you have any other ideas on where the ring gauge scale comes from, please email us here at Cigar Tipsters and let us know! Thank you for reading.