Send an E-Postcard of:
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
Contact us for information about using this image.
This is a modern reproduction of an item that used to be present in nearly every home in America in the 17th and 18th century, if archaeological evidence can be trusted. Native Americans smoked tobacco in their rituals before contact with Europeans. Once they came into contact with them, Europeans took up smoking and it became an obsession. Industry soon followed by making pipes from clay, an inexpensive and widely available material, following Native American custom. A thriving industry sprang up in England producing hundreds of thousands of pipes a year, with manufacturers based mainly in London and Bristol and with their products exported around the world. Clay pipes are fragile but they were inexpensive and easily replaced. By the mid-18th century, every European country produced pipes, following patterns that were often distinctive. This pipe follows a British design, discernable by the flat top of the bowl, the curve of the stem and of the bowl, and the stabilizing knob at the base of the bowl. The manufacture of clay pipes peaked in the late 18th century, but the fashion for snuff cut deeply into production, followed by the introduction, in the mid-19th century, of the much more durable wooden burl and meerschaum pipes.
top of page