Pipe Timeline (of sorts...)

Discussion in 'The Smoking Lounge' started by Coastal Bend, Feb 20, 2013.

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  1. Coastal Bend

    Coastal Bend Get off my lawn...

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    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."
     
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  2. Arkie

    Arkie Active Member

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    I've never heard of iron pipes (other than the plumbing type) before. Also, I thought brylon pipes were still being produced.
     
  3. Coastal Bend

    Coastal Bend Get off my lawn...

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    Ah, you could be (probably are) right about the continued production of brylon. I took the dates from a history of The Pipe and the dates likely refer to that specific offering. I also recall, but don't think I included, there was some connection between Falcon pipe company and The Pipe in 1965, but I'm not real clear on that fact. (Oh, yeah, and I had never heard of "iron pipes" before doing a little research today. Doesn't sound very appealing, does it?)
     
  4. Eric Pierson

    Eric Pierson Resident Giant

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    I wonder if any of the iron pipes are still in existence. I would almost bet that they have all rusted away by now. I wonder where the Morta pipe fits into the history?
     
  5. Coastal Bend

    Coastal Bend Get off my lawn...

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    Given that the iron pipes I read about would be some 400 years old I wouldn't plan on an alcohol and salt treatment (or a Rust-Oleum dip) making them smokeable -- if they ever were. An iron pipe doesn't have any appeal for me.

    As for Morta, near as I can tell he is a pipe maker -- if you're talking about Davorin Morta. Guess they would go under "briar." I was trying to give a timeline on types of pipes.
     
  6. Eric Pierson

    Eric Pierson Resident Giant

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    Morta is bog oak. Essentially an oak that is petrified within the muck of a bog. Davorin is a maker of Morta pipes. They are costly, but awesome. I can only dream of owning one.
     
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  7. fogpipe

    fogpipe Member

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    Dont forget catlinite http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catlinite and probably other types of stone as well. Natives of the americas were probably smoking tobacco pipes a thousand years before the the europeans.
     
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  8. Eric Pierson

    Eric Pierson Resident Giant

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  9. User3940

    User3940 Active Member

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    That's funny. I have The Pipe and find it to be one of my best smokers.
     
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  10. Raffxr7

    Raffxr7 Active Member

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    Brylon is briar dust and glue, The Pipe is a plastic shell and a graphite bowl. I'm not sure why they are lumped together, as they are as different from each other as meerschaum and clay.
     
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  11. Coastal Bend

    Coastal Bend Get off my lawn...

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    True. Native Americans were smoking tobacco hundreds of years before Europeans ever came to the New World. The Greeks were said to "smoke" or at least burn various leaves and inhale the smoke and there are reports of tobacco and a pipe of some sort being found in an Egyptian tomb, although no one can explain how it got there. Pipes used by the Native Americans, or Morta, I guess did not hit my radar as pipes that were widely used and manufactured. Feel free to add to that timeline. I admitted at the onset it was rough and was mostly a research exercise to give me an overview of the principle pipe materials over the years and to try to put them in a time perspective and I thought I'd share it.
     
  12. Bent

    Bent Member

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    Just wanted to add a quick note. Brylon pipes are still in production. Yello Bole makes some, Medico too.
    Never tried one.
     
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  13. JimInks

    JimInks Active Member

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    I bought a Yellow-Bole Brylon in 1975 and it was the hottest smoker I ever owned. Just terrible. No tobacco ever smoked dry in it and I'm a dry smoker normally. I gave it away about ten years ago to a Yellow-Bole collector.
     
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  14. jediknight129

    jediknight129 Member

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    what about the stone pipes?
     
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  15. Coastal Bend

    Coastal Bend Get off my lawn...

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    OK. There's a revision to the last section. It was my error including The Pipe and Brylon with a slash and not talking about the Brylon in that description. They are two different synthetics. As for stone pipes anyone that wants is welcome to write a brief history. I didn't find any information in my brief research that indicated such a material has been widely used, manufactured and sold. Frankly, the inclusion of "Chalk" and "Iron" was just a side note and kind of curious interest. It appears the principle materials have been clay, meerschaum, briar and corn cob. I was interested in looking at the "begets," so to speak. They all co-exist in our era, but I was interested in getting straight for myself the order and the period of time the prime materials were in use and wide acceptance. The Falcon/Metal pipe is a modern offering that is part -- the bowl -- still usually briar. Synthetics are mostly a modern anomaly. The Pipe came and went and Brylon is a synthetic that lives on, but is not in wide use.
     
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  16. Coda

    Coda Well-Known Member

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    Ive done a bit of research on the history of pipes, and I have found one common thread...there is always something else. Take, for example, the cob. Original corn cob pipes were made with hardened cobs, with a reed stem. This evolved from a type of pipe, handmade by the smoker usually, made with a clay bowl and a reed stem...
     
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  17. Coastal Bend

    Coastal Bend Get off my lawn...

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    Thanks Coda, I was hoping you'd jump in. I wasn't trying to do any kind of a "history of pipes" so much as just a time line on the major (i.e. widely used and manufactured) materials and their (rough) time of introduction. I know you have a lot on your plate, but I'd be interested in seeing any history on pipes you have compiled sometime down the road. I'm sure it will be far more inclusive and in depth than this humble offering.
     
  18. Coda

    Coda Well-Known Member

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    I have a bit of research done, but I am still trying to put something consistent together. Like I said, just when I think I have it, something else comes into the picture...it never ends. You think you have briar pipes figured out, and then you find out hardwood pipes pre-date them. Hopefully by summer, I'll have it compiled into some sort of sensical order...
     
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  19. Coastal Bend

    Coastal Bend Get off my lawn...

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    Sounds like the makings of an ebook to me. Let me know if you need an editor at some point. I know a guy. And, I -- er, I mean -- he's a pipe smoker, too. :)
     
  20. Bent

    Bent Member

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    I'm no expert, but I believe these were used by Native Americans. Some tribes didn't smoke the pipes, the pipes were just a device to burn tobacco in ceremonies. Many of the pipes were not drilled.

    This is a cool thread.
     
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