A black Negro
The discovery of para rubber or hard rubber in the nineteenth century marked a revolution for the pipe industry. The vulcanized rubber was easy to cast, easy to work and became beautifully glossy after polishing. Rubber stems were a particularly suitable solution for the serial production of briar pipes. Gradually, however, the manufacturers increased the use of this material by making the pipe entirely of hard rubber. Of course, an inner shell of meerschaum or briar had to be used with those pipes to prevent the rubber from scorching and spreading smelly black smoke. The tobacco pipe shown is a good example of a para rubber pipe. The bowl shows the puffy head of a Negro, possibly an existing person who was popular in the interbellum period. To add some relief to the design, some accents have been highlighted with paint. Remarkable is the curious kink in the stem, which gives the pipe a specific silhouette. The quality of pipes made of para rubber varies greatly. When the raw material is not properly vulcanized the object discolours quickly resulting in an unpleasant aftertaste. This specimen, on the other hand, is made of a beautiful strong deep black rubber, which is not discoloured at all and looks like the pipe was cast yesterday.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 17.638Permalink