Along the lines of inventions like Post-Its and the Portable Closet, Stinky's Cigar Ashtray inspires the question, "Damn, why didn't I think of that?"
It's a simple idea. The Stinky ashtray is a really deep stainless steel bowl typical of what you may find in most households to hold candy or pretzels. Welded to the bowl's rim are three oval-shaped metal objects called cigar stirrups that look like coins that were steamrolled and bent upright. The deep dish design is intended to provide more room to dispose of multiple cigars and other related debris -- cedar sleeves, cellophane, etc. -- without overflow and without having to empty the bowl to clear the way for another round of smokes. The stirrups keep the ensuing cigars secure, level and above the refuse in the bowl.
The backstory to this product is a great example of the entrepreneurship often seen in the cigar industry. Stinky is the nickname of the owner and creator of the ashtray -- although it could also describe the odor wafting from a basin full of dead cigars. The inspiration stems from Stinky's observation that most ashtrays don't allow enough space for multiple sticks, plus all the stuff that smokers tend to throw in along with ashes. The piece was originally made from a secondhand silver bowl and three souvenir coins that Stinky found around his house and latched together to accommodate the accumulating pile of ash from his visiting buddies. Stinky, an engineer by training, ran with the idea, did further research, made some modifications, came up with a prototype and a manufacturer in India, and went to the 2004 Retail Tobacco Dealers of America trade show with the ashtrays in hand.
Since then, Stinky has made further modifications, such as a thicker steel construction and a weighted base for stability. Reintroduced at this year's RTDA, the Stinky's Cigar Ashtray has a suggested retail price of $29.95 and is available at your local tobacconist or by going to www.stinkycigar.com.
Photo by Mary Galligan