This shop window display pipe is a rarity, especially in this fine black finish. Originally, this large pipe bowl with a height of almost seventeen centimeters was marketed/offered as a giant-sized tobacco pipe. This happened before the year 1850, when the pipe was intended for the most dedicated Nicotinists. The motif of the Turk or Pasha has remained popular in the tobacco industry throughout the nineteenth century. The expression "He smokes like a Turk" still exists as an indication for a heavy smoker. Interestingly enough, this pipe bowl experienced a revival in the fourth quarter of the nineteenth century. Then it was moulded again as an advertising item or window display piece, even from the same press mould that had been preserved for half a century at the factory. As a result, the difference between the earliest copies and the later print run is not noticable, except for those who pay attention to minute details. In that later period it had become fashionable to bake pipes black, a technique also applied in this case. Smothered in the kiln, the white-baking clay turned deep black, sometimes even with a beautiful metallic luster. As if that wasn't enough, the product was finished in gold paint. In fact bronze paint has been used to give the pipe a more chic look and to enhance the expression. While the early specimens always bear a stamped maker's mark, this later product is strange enough not marked. Apparently that was no longer necessary. Around 1900, the Gambier company was the only pipe factory that was stillable to supply such a quality product. The other factories had run into financial difficulties and one after another had to close its doors. A detail not visible for the passangers of the shop window, nor on the photo is the beautiful Sater head surrounded by a grapevine at the bottom of the pipe bowl. That portrait completes the design.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 22.014Permalink