Ceramic tobacco pipes
The clay pipe is a typical mass product known to millions of smokers. However, pipes of pottery types other than pipe clay are quite rare. They were the by-product in ceramic factories, only in some cases they were produced by specialized pipe makers. Because different clays and different types of glaze were used, the diversity within this group is enormous.
Real eye-catchers are coiled tobacco pipes in so-called Pratt ware from Stafford, England. The extremely long stems twist like snakes. They are painted with bright tufts of colored glaze. At the time, they were popular gift items that usually ended up in a showcase. However, they were indeed smoked! Short pipes with wonderful character figures have no glaze but a finish in multi-colored paint; they were made in Scotland.
Some German factories focused on ceramic pipes covered with a monochrome paint. These pipes were known by the mysterious name siderolith. These were luxury items, often beautifully mounted with gold-plated rims and caps. They had a magical attraction on the smoker of the time.
In Gouda, the mystery pipe developed, a pipe with a porous skeletal shard and transparent glaze. They became famous because there is a white picture under the glaze that became visible when you smoked the pipe and by consequence the pipe itself turned dark. The most famous factory of these mystery pipes is Zenith in Gouda, founded in 1749, a traditional pipe factory that only started producing ceramics after 1900.