Pipe smoking clubs and guilds
Smoking in a club context is a suitable opportunity for countless pipe lovers to share passion for smoking pleasure with others. In our country there have been a dozen pipe smoking clubs or guilds as they are called in the southern part of the country. They flourish in the 1950s and later, not only in Holland, you can find them all over the world. Most focus on competition smoking: with three grams of tobacco you keep as long as possible fire in the pipe. Others are more like a circle of like-minded people with the pipe as an pretext for good conversations.
When it comes to competitions, the club aspect is most strongly propagated with pins, a guild badge on a ribbon or in the past even a special smokers cap. A competition naturally includes a cup for the champion and a certificate stating the result achieved. Neither is an example of good taste, but definitely something to display at home for some smokers.
Already around 1900, countless smoking societies had their own club pipe. In Germany these were hand-painted porcelain pipes showing the name of the club and sometimes the owner. A rare Dutch example mentions the motto Roken zij ons doel (Smoking is our goal). In the twentieth century we see this again in some circles, now with a briar club pipe such as the one with the graceful engraved initials APG for the Amsterdam Pipe Smokers Association.
An international smoking circle with a different purpose is the Confrérie des Maîtres Pipiers in Saint Claude. The professional association of pipe makers in this French town invites every year a few people who have made a valuable contribution to the pipe. It is a great honor to be incorporated as a confrère, as was the case, among others, with Prince Bernhard. The enthronization is surrounded by much ceremonial.
In many countries, including the Netherlands, the title pipe smoker of the year is awarded. That too is a predicate related to earnings for pipe smoking. In fact, you are an ambassador of the pipe for a year to show that noble art in a positive light.