How Old is Pipe Rotation ?

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carver

Preferred Member
Mar 29, 2015
623
0
Belgium
Hi gents,
I was thinking about my pipes and how I was not really rotating although everyone talks about it in so many threads.

I really really like some of them so much that I want to keep smoking them. I don't smoke that much anyway.

But here came a question to my mind.
How did people do in the past, long time ago ?
Have pipe smokers been pipe collectors as well ?
Would people in the old days have a certain amount of pipes to rotate ?

 

aggravatedfarmer

Preferred Member
Sep 9, 2015
866
0
I really try to keep them well rotated. I have pipes for different blend types and that's what I smoke. I smoked a Balkan last night, so tonight I may go with a full Virginia. I don't consider I have a true rotation as much as a rest day for a pipe.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
13,482
57
Monterey Peninsula
If you're getting a good smoke from whatever you're doing now, you're OK on the rotation.
I understand some ancients would buy one pipe and smoke and beat it to death. YMMV!

 

carver

Preferred Member
Mar 29, 2015
623
0
Belgium
@aggravatedfarmer:

I see what you mean. That's what I am trying to do too.

I was also wondering, in the history of pipe smoking, how long have smokers had enough pipes to rotate?

Is it possible that, in the past, people would have one pipe to smoke from?

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
17,905
84
My Uncles would smoke a pipe till it was dead, and toss it in the fireplace. My great grandfather would carve one, smoke till it was dead, and then toss it in the fireplace. My family has a long history of burning pipes. The idea of collecting them would have been as amusing as collecting bent nails or cigar butts. It just wasn't done. Now, as you move up in pay grade, bankers, lawyers, and such may have been collecting, but even this would have been few and far between. But, I think that the rich would have found it easier to collect and rotate. But, the guys out doing the work, would just keep reloading their pipes all day, maybe running a twig down the draft to keep the airway open, and chewing the backy when the pipe went foul. But, this was an age when dental care probably made it tough to discern whether the pipe was foul or if a tooth just needs to be ripped out.

 

ray47

Preferred Member
Jul 10, 2015
1,186
27
When I started back in 1983 I had one pipe, a Dr. Grabow Viking (looks like a Falcon pipe). I smoked it I know 10 times a day everyday and it finally gave out about 10 yrs later. I then bought an estate Longchamp pipe (leather covered bowl) and smoked it just like the Viking. Never had a bad smoke out of either pipe. Briar can take a beating if you clean it good after each smoke and let it cool down. I know pipe smokers today who have only one pipe and smoke it all day everyday and seem to have no problems. Back in the day, and I'm talking 1950's (yes I was around back then), pipe rotations were rarely seen. The family friends and relatives I knew who smoked a pipe, only had one pipe and I never heard of collectors let alone rotations. Some did have what I refer to as a Sunday pipe which was only smoked on that day, but that was rare. Tobacco selection, for the smokers I knew, was usually limited to one or two blends back then and it was commonly an OTC blend. My great grandfather only smoked a Dr. Grabow pipe with only Prince Albert. My uncle smoked his one Kaywoodie pipe with Half & Half. Another uncle, who was a farmer, smoked his one Corn Cob pipe with Prince Albert. I saw a lot of corn cob pipe smokers back in the 50's. These are my experiences, so others may have had different experiences. I never considered pipe smoking as a hobby and have never been a collector. I'm more a accumulator.

 

carver

Preferred Member
Mar 29, 2015
623
0
Belgium
@Cosmic: Thanks for sharing. That's really interesting. I didn't know about that.

So what about shapes and particularities if all pipes were like "burners"... litterally ...

I guess pipe makers would make pipes like "tools" nothing fancy, just good smokers. Like a good ball pen, but eventually, goes in the bin.
Could you keep using the same few pipes sparingly and keep them forever?

If properly cleaned and maintained ?

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
17,905
84
So what about shapes and particularities if all pipes were like "burners"... litterally ...
Grabow was the king in the mountains, literally. They were made in North Carolina, and men there smoked them. They were fairly proud of these American made beauties. It was the tooty fruity pipe shops with their "out of reach" Dunhills, I-Talian pipes, and fancy smelling backy that smeared the American Grabow. ...to the working man that was.
Yeh, I still know many one-pipe-guys. Our local Fire Chief is a One pipe, one tobacco guy.
Could you keep using the same few pipes sparingly and keep them forever?

If properly cleaned and maintained ?
Theoretically, yes, but guys didn't have access to pipecleaners, when the kids needed shoes for school, and the wife kept wanting fancy things like food and clothes. This is pipe smoking country. Men smoked pipes, because tobacco was absolutely everywhere, practically growing in the fields. All you needed was a pipe, and a fire. Cigars and cigarettes cost money, which wasn't available.

 

seacaptain

Preferred Member
Apr 24, 2015
1,832
0
I think in the old days people probably owned just a very few pipes, maybe even just one. They probably just smoked them and didn't worry about resting them. When they were used up, they'd buy another.

 

ray47

Preferred Member
Jul 10, 2015
1,186
27
I remember my uncle, who was a farmer, using chicken feathers as a pipe cleaner. He even used a piece of straw from his fields. Now that's what I call dirt poor and he was, but he was happy.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
17,905
84
I've seen men use a piece of wire, and push out a solid tube of black smelly goo :::shudders::: Ick!

 

framitz

Senior Member
Oct 25, 2013
314
0
My uncle returned from WWII with shrapnel in his chest a hole in his arm and several dun hills and falcons my aunt kept him supplied and I eventually inherited many charlatans. When at work he didn't smoke but never same pipe twice in same day he lived to eighty. Shel

 

philobeddoe

Preferred Member
Oct 31, 2011
4,508
13
East Indiana
I think the idea of treating pipes as long term investments is relatively recent, since the late 70's or so. Before that, the vast majority of pipe smokers only had one or two pipes and they smoked them until the pipes gave out, then the pipes got replaced. Even wealthier men who had Dunhills and Kaywoodies at home or on the desk at the office most likely considered them tools, they just had nicer tools! I would bet that even today, more pipe smokers treat their pipes as tools than investments, for most people, a pipe is a way to enjoy tobacco...simple as that, looks and taking care of the pipe are only necessary in so far as keeping the pipe smokeable. Those of us who collect pipes, cellar our favorite blends and spend countless hours talking about pipes and tobaccos on forums are a minority within a minority!

 

gloucesterman

Preferred Member
Jan 4, 2015
1,861
0
Massachusetts
Most of the "old timers" I know back in the '50s and 60s were one pipe guys. For them a pipe was a smoke delivery system they bought at the drug store, used up and replaced. The first idea of collecting pipes I saw was Wally Frank's "Pipe of the Month Club" ( or at least I remember it being called that.) A different pipe was available to be delivered to your door each month. If you didn't want the pipe you sent back a postcard the prior month but you had to buy so many pipes a year. Prior to that, the average guy smoked pipes he found locally (Garbows, Yellow bowls, cobs, etc.). The well to do treated it a little differently but they had the resources to buy high quality pipes and were more careful with them because they cost a lot. The average guy just saw a pipe as a consumable. By the late sixties the U.S. had become pretty affluent and more pipe smokers had 3 or 7 day rotations depending of your view of resting. A pipe a day was becoming more popular and a lot of the pipe smokers in my father's generation embraced that view. The old timers always thought it was a waste of money.

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,346
22
Certainly not as old as picking a clay out of the rack at the local public house or club, breaking off a bit of the stem, loading up and enjoying a pint and a smoke.
I suspect that simultaneously with the appearance of the wood pipe came the collector, attracted to the shape and feel of the wood, one was not enough. And, certainly one could not leave a pipe sitting on a shelf unused. Soon it was discovered that resting a pipe, perhaps, a bit of cleaning, kept the briar "fresh." So, 18th century? My knowledge of the history of the briar is limited.
A well to-do smoker certainly could not be seen night after night at the club with the same pipe.
Just playing with the question here. Trying to fit the question with the known history.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,598
86
You'll find a wealth of information relating to your questions here:
http://tobaccopipeartistory.blogspot.com/p/famous-collectors.html
Pipe maven and historian Ben Rapaport's blog.
There was an 18-19th century French cardinal whose collection totaled 5,000 pipes. Senior moment, can't remember his name.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
25,907
78
Historically, most pipe smoking in the 1700s through 1960s done by middle and working class people was a distinct indulgence, so one pipe was the rule. The big land owners and factory owners who smoked pipes probably had a nice rack of them, and inns would sometimes have a rack of clay pipes for their regular customers and others for new guests, but the standard deal was one pipe per person. Mostly men, in public anyway... probably plenty of women enjoyed a pipe in privacy or with other women. So rotation was strictly a "big house" activity. My paternal grandfather (born about 1870) had a little circular rack with an amber tobacco jar in the middle that I inherited through my dad, and he maintained several pipes, but not all ten spaces on the rack. My dad was a child of the depression and a WWII minesweeper skipper, who smoked Granger only, and only had one pipe at any one time (other than a "spare" that was mostly burnt out). So the rotation as a conventional practice by middle class pipe smokers is probably fairly recent, if by that we mean the last fifty years.

 

aggravatedfarmer

Preferred Member
Sep 9, 2015
866
0
It is my understanding the cob pipe was an invention by immigrants. I was told Irish rail workers, but found an article. https://dutchpipesmoker.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/another-dutch-invention-the-corncob-pipe/

I bring this up, because cobs of old wouldn't last long and corn is more accessible than briar. leading me to believe the poor working man would smoke a cob more often than a briar.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
17,905
84
It would be interesting to know when the first pipe cleaners were produced for pipes. I imagine they were created for other reasons and then latter appropriated for pipe use. Maybe they we originally used to clean out the inside of the hypodermic needles used for diabetics. Those things were huge back in the day, and very unsanitary looking.

 

aggravatedfarmer

Preferred Member
Sep 9, 2015
866
0
MSO brings up a fantastic point. The long stemmed clay pipes in inns. When a person finished a bowl in an inn they would break off a section of the stem and place it back in the pipe box that would hang on the wall. For anyone that likes primitive american antiques and pipes, A pipe box is a must for collection!