Big Floppy Tobacco Pouches

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makhorkasmoker

Starting to Get Obsessed
Aug 17, 2021
125
349
Central Florida
I watch a lot of old movies on TCM, mainly because I love classic films, but as a side benefit, I get to see many depictions of pipe smokers in a heyday of pipe smoking.

One of the many interesting things I've noticed is the sort of tobacco pouch used by some of the pipe smokers in these movies. I'm thinking especially of the blind pianist played by Herbert Marshall in "The Enchanted Cottage" (1945). This tobacco pouch is big--a little bigger it seems than a standard business size envelope--even before it is unrolled. It's also very floppy. It has a string or cord attached to the flap that hangs pretty loose. The cord is not tied so much as carelessly wrapped around the pouch when it is closed.

The cord, the bigness and the floppiness all seem perfect for the purpose: The smoker can quickly unwrap or tug loose the cord, flip open the flap, insert the entire pipe (even a big pipe) into the pouch, scoop and pack without spilling anything. He can then (with a flip of the wrist), close the flap, fold the floppy pouch over, wrap the string (another flip of the wrist) shove it into his pocket--all without appearing to think about it.

I can't tell what the pouch is made of. The movies are black and white. I think Marshall's may be leather. In another movie I watched not long ago--a bad one with Lee J. Cobb playing a Freudian psychoanalyst--the pouch looked like waxed cloth..

When I do searches on line, i don't see any pouches quite like these. Modern tobacco pouches seem smaller, much more structured, more complicated, sometimes with zippers.

Do any of you all use pouches like these?
Or do you remember people using them?
 
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warren

Lifer
Sep 13, 2013
9,772
8,516
What you saw was probably a repurposed item. Back in the day, many smokers purchased tobacco from bulk supplies from a tobacconist. The blend was stored and transported in the larger, leather container. It contained all the tobacco the smoker owned and was transported to and from work, etc. Sherlock repurposed a slipper. Check out an office supply, upscale, for leather portfolios. I may not be correctly exactly what you were seeing though.

A historical time frame would be helpful. Were the movies contemporary?
 

makhorkasmoker

Starting to Get Obsessed
Aug 17, 2021
125
349
Central Florida
What you saw was probably a repurposed item. Back in the day, many smokers purchased tobacco from bulk supplies from a tobacconist. The blend was stored and transported in the larger, leather container. It contained all the tobacco the smoker owned and was transported to and from work, etc. Sherlock repurposed a slipper. Check out an office supply, upscale, for leather portfolios. I may not be correctly exactly what you were seeing though.

A historical time frame would be helpful. Were the movies contemporary?
Both films I’m thinking of are from the late 1940s
 

lraisch

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jul 4, 2011
297
483
Granite Falls, Washington state
I've seen yellow, translucent vinyl pouches which maybe the type that looked like waxed cloth. It was also possible to get sealskin pouches which may have been the larger type you saw, though obviously not available now. I have a denim pouch (hey, it was the Seventies) as well as several leather pouches. The largest one I have is an old Comoy's which measures about 10 inches unrolled.
 

anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
11,024
20,931
43
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
What you saw was probably a repurposed item. Back in the day, many smokers purchased tobacco from bulk supplies from a tobacconist. The blend was stored and transported in the larger, leather container. It contained all the tobacco the smoker owned and was transported to and from work, etc. Sherlock repurposed a slipper. Check out an office supply, upscale, for leather portfolios. I may not be correctly exactly what you were seeing though.

A historical time frame would be helpful. Were the movies contemporary?
nah cause the thing is the item he's talking about is pretty ubiquitous in movies from certain time periods. It seems like it was something sold to be used as a tobacco pouch. I've even seen a few modern takes that are leather and much firmer with the same design. I've never once seen the same item used to store anything else.
 

makhorkasmoker

Starting to Get Obsessed
Aug 17, 2021
125
349
Central Florida
here is a modern take on the theme. Though looking it up seems like they could be made from soft leather, silk, or linen. And like modern pouches not really a long term storage thing but ideal for a couple days worth of tobacco.
Yes, I was looking at one something like that. But those old floppy ones, they could load a pipe with such style and flair. Of course, the fact that the smoker was Herbert Marshall helped a bit too.

I'm thinking what you said about them above is right on. The one Lee J. Cobb uses does look almost like a temporary if not disposable pouch. (I was actually wondering if he bought the tobacco bulk or something and the tobacconist put it in the pouch as a sort of package--the way we get a zip lock nowadays). Marshall's looked more elegant--maybe the sealskin.
 
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anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
11,024
20,931
43
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
Yes, I was looking at one something like that. But those old floppy ones, they could load a pipe with such style and flair. Of course, the fact that the smoker was Herbert Marshall helped a bit too.

I'm thinking what you said about them above is right on. The one Lee J. Cobb uses does look almost like a temporary if not disposable pouch. (I was actually wondering if he bought the tobacco bulk or something and the tobacconist put it in the pouch as a sort of package--the way we get a zip lock nowadays). Marshall's looked more elegant--maybe the sealskin.
from my understanding if you didn't bring a pouch they'd fold it up in wax paper. Not any specific wax paper just grocers style wax paper. You had to bring your own pouch.
Though reminds me of a scene in the Dick Van Dyke show where they order delivery coffee and when it's delivered the delivery guy tells them when he'll be back to pick up the glasses.
 

lraisch

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jul 4, 2011
297
483
Granite Falls, Washington state
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olkofri

Lifer
Sep 9, 2017
7,491
12,703
The Arm of Orion
At some point I considered making leather pouches for tobacco. However, the abysmal market for such an item led me to use the leather for more profitable ventures.

Whilst I was considering it, I gathered that I'd want soft-tempered, vegetable tanned leather for a pouch. I don't think the chrome salts from chrome tan would end up in the tobacco, but the potential for that is there. Ergo, the conclusion was to line the pouch with some food-grade plastic—aaaand... that's where the production costs became prohibitive and I abandoned the idea.
 

Etipton

Starting to Get Obsessed
Feb 24, 2021
166
254
Tennessee
I found a really cool tobacco can you that will fit in your pocket. The pipery.com it’s the size of a skoal can and will hold 2-4 bowels worth of loose tobacco or 5-6 coins like escudo. Makes it supper easy and keeps the tobacco moist