In the spirit of International Pipe Smoking Day I thought I'd do a little research on pipes. This is brief (and some might say rough) but it is a start. Maybe a history guy, like Coda, can come in a tweak it. (Also, in another thread there have been some references to what is a "real pipe," and that also drove me to look into the -- um -- genealogy of pipes.) Chalk pipes were among the first mass produced tobacco pipes. They were smoked mainly by mariners. (Wonder if you could pick out the smoking sailors by the white lips? ) Iron pipes followed in 1600, launched first in Norway. (Probably not much of a clencher.) Clay pipes were first smoked in England in the late 16th century after the introduction of tobacco from Virginia. By 1680 to 1700, when the industry reached a peak almost every town and city in England had pipe makers. (And now some of us have to drive a distance to just find a B&M). Clay pipes declined due to conflicts in Europe and America, but came back in vogue with the Industrial Revolution, 1820-1840, and population growth. Meerschaum was the first material to gain universal appeal as a pipe material. It became the standard worldwide in 1720. It quickly became prized as the "perfect material" for providing a "cool, dry flavorful smoke." The porous nature of meerschaum draws moisture and tobacco tar into the stone. Meerschaum became a premium substitute for clay pipes. Briar came on the scene in 1840. One story has that a fellow commissioned a pipe maker to make him a pipe after his Meerschaum broke and the maker used briar, which turned out to be a good choice. Soon many worldwide pipe manufactures switched from Meerschaum to Briar, which remains the principle pipe material to this day. Briar is a choice for pipe makers (and smokers) for a number of reasons. First is its natural resistance to fire and second is its inherent ability to absorb moisture. Briar is cut from the root burl. In nature the burl absorbs water to supply the tree in dry times and will likewise absorb moisture that is the byproduct of combustion. Corn Cob pipes first production was in 1869. By 1925 there were as many as a dozen cob pipe companies in Franklin County, Missouri. Missouri Meerschaum now stands as the surviving company and cobs from that maker are still smoked worldwide. Falcon/Metal pipes were invented in 1936 by Kelly Bugg as he thought about the way clouds condense rain and sought a cooler smoke. (Fortunately he did not use his own name for the pipe he created.) First sales were in 1940, but sales were restricted to preserve wartime materials. By 1954 six million were sold in the U.S. alone. Now produced as Falcon Pipes UK. The Pipe/Brylon was manufactured from 1963 to about 1975. Made from "space age pyrolytic graphic" they were said to "smoke hot and wet and made tobacco taste bitter." As one history diplomatically puts it The Pipe "...eventually proved to be unacceptable to the smoking public."