Souvenir from the First World War
During the First World War there was sufficient time in the trenches to smoke a pipe. The personal tobacco pipe offered comfort to the soldier while smoking and was often a souvenir from home. From the English side, countless wooden soldier's pipes are now known. A rare example of a German soldiers’ pipe is discussed here. It is a practical pipe with an oval shaped porcelain bowl mounted in a moisture trap to collect the tobacco juice. Many rural people still smoked such pipes just beforethe First World War, although the object was certainly old-fashioned at the time. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, these porcelain pipes were painted extremely artfully, but a century later, that high-level craftsmanship is no longer as this pipe clearly shows. The pipe bowl shows a primitively painted inscription of a dilettant, made in a hurry just in time to to go to the font in the soldier's whip. With an overly thick brush, the bowl was labeled with an inscription dedicated to the Armee Korps XV that was stationed in 1914 in the Belgian town of Wervik. That regiment consisted of soldiers predominantly from Alsace and Lorraine. In October 1914 they occupied the tobacco town in preparation for poison gas attacks. The designation IR 126 on the pipe bowl stands for Infantry Regiment number 126 led by Grand Duke Friedrich von Baden. Wervik and the surrounding area sufferd a lot from the Germans, just as most of Flandres. This ugly pipe is a remarkable reminder of their presence. The question arises who was honored with such a misshapen product.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 22.349
Archive object of month