French stub stemmed clay pipes
In addition to the well-known short clay pipe with a stem made entirely of clay, separate pipe bowls were made from the beginning of the nineteenth century. We refer to such pipes as stub stemmed pipes. They are mounted with a separate stem made of wood, bamboo or another material. Stub stemmed pipes are less fragile, so the pipe bowl can be decorated more elaborately. Especially the figuration of human heads.
The fashion started around 1820 in France and the stub stemmed pipe quickly became an item of inspiration for practically every smoker. The French pipe makers depicted countless famous and infamous persons: the murderess Charlotte Corday, the sweethearts of the French kings, but also princes and statesmen. In addition, poets and writers were not forgotten, as were historical heroes or who should pass for it. Exotic portrayals of people or costumes from distant lands were also a popular subject. Even the devil and death are present!
The figural pipe was a serial product, shaped in a multi-part pipe mold, an ingenious piece of craftsmanship in itself. The most famous factories were the firms Gambier and Blanc-Garin from the northern French town of Givet and the firms Duméril and Fiolet from the town of Saint-Omer. In total, about eight large factories have been active in this trade. Catalogs of the assortment were released at the time, which now prove how wonderfully varied the production has been.
The stub stemmed pipe experienced its greatest bloom around 1850, but production continued well into the twentieth century. Gradually, however, the depictions became more popular and the perfect modeling disappeared to make way for conceptual designs. At the same time, the quality of the pipe goes down while the interest of the smoker fades away.