Health pipes in a pocket box
At the end of the nineteenth century, smokers more and more often discussed the health issue of smoking. It was gradually realized that smoking from dirty pipes increased the risk of lip cancer and that too strong a taste of tar did not benefit the aroma of the smoke. For that reason, pipe makers experimented with porous clays that absorbed tar and nicotine better. In addition, the interchanging of pipe bowls was promoted, with the best example being the café pipe that was sold in a box of six bowls with one stem. When the clay was saturated with tar, it was recommended to place a new bowl on the stem. The box depicted here must be seen in the light of that movement. Inside we find two pipe bowls and a loose screw stem with a luxurious amber bite. By alternating the pipe bowl when smoking, it has time to dry and thus gives a better taste. It is unexpected that the luxurious amber and the elegant case do not match the cheap clay pipe bowls. Case and mouthpiece are too durable for the speed with which the pipe bowls become saturated of tar and nicotine and should be discarded, if the clay doesn’t break in the first place.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 21.334
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