Smoking Pipes Have Come a Long Way

by David Nadel on June 17, 2015

Historical Pipes

Pipe smoking started taking place with the Native Americans and was used throughout their Shamanistic Rituals. The design of the pipe consists of a chamber for the tobacco to go in, with a thin hollow stem that comes out of the chamber and ending with a mouthpiece. Pipes are ordinarily made from briar wood, meerschaum, corncob, or clay. Additionally, there are minerals that’re used such as catlinite and soapstone. There are several different styles of pipes that have been developed over the years, such as the briar pipe, meerschaum pipe, clay pipe, corncob pipe, churchwarden pipe, venturi pipe, and falcon pipe. In addition, they also made hookahs, ghelyan, or narghile, as they’re water pipes.

Cannabis was popular in the Middle East prior to the onset of tobacco, and has been well-known as early as 2000 BC. Cannabis consumption was a customary gathering that involved the hookah water pipe. Around 5000 BC the Native Americans used the hookah pipe for tobacco and numerous hallucinogenic drugs as a part of their shamanistic rituals. A ceremonial pipe of the Mississippian Culture is well-known today known as a peace pipe, which was utilized by tribes as a gesture of kindness and peacekeeping and later done by the European settlers.

Meerschaum pipe is made from meerschaum, which is without difficulty formed and carved into a finely detailed unique and enhancing decorative shape, which has been used and done since the 19th century. When using a meerschaum pipe, the meerschaum element absorbs the smoke causing its white color to turn a colorful golden brown. Today, collectors value the meerschaum pipe for their distinctive coloring.

Around the late 1800″s, the corncob pipe was introduced and manufactured. They are not really that expensive to make, but effective pipes. They are still popular today, due to them being cheaper and not needing to be broken in like other pipes.

In the mid to late 1900’s the serious of venture pipes were factory-made by Tar Gard Corporation out of San Francisco. To allow the venturi pipe to have high elevated temperatures in the bowl and tar, the following materials were used, pyrolytic graphite, phenolic resin, nylon, Bakelite and other synthetics. The bulk of pipes made and sold today is the Briar Pipe, some being handmade while others are made by machine. Briar is a good wood to make pipes, due to it being fire resistant, able to absorb moisture.

Smoking pipes have come a long way since the Native American days. Today in 2015, we’re still manufacturing smoking pipes, which’re made from a lot of the same woods and minerals.  A lot of the smoking pipes are also made of glass with a unique design on them. As you can see pipe making has not died down over the years if anything it has updated its styles.

About David Nadel

David Nadel has written 159 posts in this blog.

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