This independent and critical study in economic and social history is based on free access to the records of W.D. & H.O. Wills.

Dr Alford traces the history of the firm from its origin to its transformation into a constituent part of a larger company. Having played such a leading role in the development of the UK tobacco industry, Willis’ book is more than the history of a single firm, it also provides an important study of a leading consumer goods industry. Drawing on aspects of economic theory, the author examines the firm's development in the light of general aspects of business history.

This major study was first published in 1973.

Part 1: 1786-1901 1. Origins and Background 2. Growth and Stagnation 3. A New Generation and a New Firm 4. Ricketts, Wills and Co 5. New Markets 6. Expansion 7. Invention, Innovation and the Bonsack Cigarrette Making Machine 8. Penny Cigarettes and Market Leadership 9. 'Cutting' and Competition 10. Wills Dominant 11. War and Peace 12. Employer's, Employees and Welfare, 1860-1901 13. Business Enterprise and Business Success Part 2: 1901-1965 14. Federal Status 15. New Competitors and the Coupon War 16. Price Leadership and Technical Innovation 17. Wills in Ireland 18. Wartime Control and the Return to a Free Market 19. Reorganization and the Marketing Revolution