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Tue Jan 19, 2010 5:37 am by Admin (Pipe Mike)

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Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:24 am by Admin (Pipe Mike)

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Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:17 am by Admin (Pipe Mike)

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How Pipe Tampers came to be

Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:24 am by Admin (Pipe Mike)

Pipe Tampers

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When Sir Walter Raleigh introduced the smoking of tobacco (in a pipe) to the Elizabethan court in 1585, he had no idea what kind of cultural revolution he had started. Up until 1881 the pipe was king, when the cigarette machine was first invented. The combination of a newly discovered stimulant, the tobacco -- and a free enterprise European market, made sure …

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About Pipe Mike

Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:17 am by Admin (Pipe Mike)

Hi all! I'm Michael (Pipe Mike). I've been smoking and collecting pipes for many years now, and have a decent collection of 24 pipes. I enjoy prospecting, rock hounding, cooking, gardening, riding my motorcycle and many other outdoor activities.

I live in Victorville, California which is located between Ontario and Barstow. Many people pass by here on the way to and from Las Vegas, which …

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How Pipe Tampers came to be

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How Pipe Tampers came to be

Post  Admin (Pipe Mike) on Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:24 am

Pipe Tampers

Author: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]


When Sir Walter Raleigh introduced the smoking of tobacco (in a pipe) to the Elizabethan court in 1585, he had no idea what kind of cultural revolution he had started. Up until 1881 the pipe was king, when the cigarette machine was first invented. The combination of a newly discovered stimulant, the tobacco -- and a free enterprise European market, made sure there was a pipe in the mouths of every English sailors, trader, philosopher, tavern-keeper, army general, and every citizen within reach. Paintings, caricatures, the earliest of novels and the earliest of photographs, show us that the pipe was an intrinsic part of their daily lives, a hand-held pleasure, an adult (and sometimes juvenile) toy. True, the famous generals Grant and Sherman smoked cigars. But look closely at photos of their soldiers: what you’ll spot, again and again, are their pipes.


Those tobacco leaves burning so sweetly in a person’s pipe demanded care (see our article about caring for your pipe). To achieve a smooth and even draw of smoke, you need to push, or “tamp”, the “backy” down. Sir Isaac Newton once used a lady’s finger (still attached to its owner, it seems) to “tamp” his pipe, with fiery results. There just had to be a better way.


Japan had its purse-string netsukes ( miniature sculpted figurines that would hang from their purse strings), Native America its medicine pouches; Europe came up with figural pipe tampers. Like the netsukes and medicine pouches, “stoppers” in British English - were small, portable, useful, and wonderfully decorative. Within these little finger long sculptures, every aspect of contemporary life was depicted, glorified and satirized: terriers and grinning imps, two-faced popes and Cheshire cats, Bonaparte and the weeping Eve. a waistcoat-pocket menagerie. The art of silversmiths, pewterers, iron mongers and glassblowers spanning three very creative centuries.


In the tobacco-stopper (UK), the Brit displayed either taste or fancy. It was the only article on which the English smoker prided himself. It was made of various materials - wood, bone, ivory, mother-of-pearl, brass, and silver; and the forms which it assured were exceedingly diversified.


Additional materials included pewter, bronze, iron, lead(!), horn, basalt, china, clay, lava and even animal teeth. Tampers of various forms were fashioned and used by nearly every ethnic group in every continent. Diversity, it seems, is nothing new. The tamper in a pipe smoker’s hand was a conversational piece. It had its own value close to the lives of everyday people. By the late 1800’s, mass production replaced the “craft” in most areas of life. Pipe smoking, the activity of a slower time, gave way to the faster, disposable cigarette. And tampers? They went the way of crafts people: from the workshop to the factory. Nearly all of today’s mass-produced tampers, made of acrylic, wood, steel, or brass, are functional. Some are still crafted by hand by the pipe carvers. They are mostly wood and mostly briar. Most of the modern tampers are utilitarian, not fantasy. There are a hand full of smiths out there that will have a few made out of silver, pewter or brass, reproducing the antique tampers found at the Smithsonian, Louvre or Royal Museum.


But today, in the 21st century, pipe smoking has returned at a very fast pace. Therefore all their accessories are in demand as are the pipes and their tobaccos.


About the Author:

Jim Bennington has served the pipe smoker for 30 years In Boca Raton FL. Visit his website at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Article Source: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] - [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]


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I'm Pipe Mike
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