A streetcar as a tobacco pipe
July 29, 1900 was a special day for the city of Paris. Then the first metro line was opened, designated by the Parisians as Métropolitain. This curious tobacco pipe in the shape of a train carriage was made on the occasion of the festive opening of this metro as part of the Universal Exhibition. Completely in line with the favorite nineteenth-century figural pipes, the pipe bowl has been modeled on a train set, including rotating wheels that are secured with brass tacks. Yet the designer did not copy the reality of that moment, but took the liberty of portraying the wagon as a nineteenth-century streetcar, horse-drawn tram or short horescar, including an open front and rear balcony. Even at the start of the underground, that construction would not have been possible. The inscription with golden letters on the top reminds the memorable opening with "METROPOLITAIN PARIS 1900". The mounting with a short bamboo stem ending in a buffalo horn bite as a reinforcement gives the pipe a sleek contemporary appearance. Although of a souvenir character, the pipe will have come from an established pipe factory. This is evidenced by the professional design and the smart finish. The town Saint-Claude is the most likely place of production, but a different origin is well possible.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 22.152a
Archive object of month