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18th Session of the "Arbeitskreis Tonpfeifen" in Lüneburg

by Natascha Mehler and Martin Kügler, translated by André Dehaybe


The central topic of the 18th meeting of the working group from 29 April to 2 May 2004 was Central and Eastern Europe, in order to steer for the first time by the conference and an accompanying exhibition the view of the professional world on this still unknown clay pipe landscape.

Dr. Edgar Ring, director of the Stadtarchäologie Lüneburg , and Dr. Ronny Kabus, director of the Ostpreußisches Landesmuseum, where the conference took place, had invited.


Dr. Martin Kügler, Dr. Edgar Ring, Ralf Kluttig-Altmann M.A., Mayor Fischer and Dr. Ronny Kabus
at the opening of the exhibition.

The 46 participants from France, Great Britain, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Hungary and Germany were building for four days a singular scientific association, whose international contacts in the meantime extended over Europe as well as some places in the USA, South America and Eastern Asia. Professional organizations were represented by the "Académie Internationale de la Pipe", the "Pijpelogische Kring Nederland" and the "Society for Clay Pipe Research".



Before the beginning of the scientific course of lectures Martin Kügler reminded of two deceased members. Ernst Legahn from Lüneburg belonged to the initial members of the working group and had begun as an engaged layman already into the 1980 years to collect and evaluate Lüneburg clay pipes. Otto Pollner, from Bünde, himself a wood pipe manufacturer and author of numerous specialized books, had successfully worked for the co-operation of the working group with the Académie Internationale de la Pipe. The participants of the conference honoured the two deceased with one minute silence.



A view of the exhibition.

The series of lectures was opened by E. Ring with an introduction to the city archaeology of Lüneburg. Accomplished projects are among other things the excavations of the pottery "Auf der Altstadt 29" and of the "St. Lamberti" underground church. Furthermore the extremely rich finds of glasses was published. The scientific processing of the finds takes place in the series of publications" (www.stadtarchaeologie-lueneburg.de).

With his lecture "Cultivation of tobacco and tobacco use in the southern Baltic Sea area and in Silesia" M. Kügler summarized the state of research about the topic of the conference. For both regions so far only items of information are present. They show that tobacco and smoking spread in the Baltic Sea area briefly after 1600, just as rapidly as in all other European countries. For the Baltic Sea neighbours the trade of the Hanseatic cities and the proximity to the international navigation ways are crucial factors. In Silesia there are clues of tobacco smoking around 1620. The Thirty Years War contributed considerably to the spreading, despite all the destructions. Only in the 19th Century the processing of imported tobaccos e.g. by the Doms company in Ratibor/Upper Silesia, won a supraregional meaning. For the research the production of the Prussian clay pipe manufactures are relevant in Rostin/Roscin and Sborovsky/Zborowski.

In Lüneburg one considered already into the 1970 years clay pipe finds during excavations, as stated by Ralf Kluttig Altmann M.A., from Leipzig, in his lecture. There are no references for some own clay pipe production in Lüneburg so far, but native potters tried to "improve" clay pipes, by revaluing the simple white pipes with glazes. Among finds from Lüneburg some clay pipes still exhibit a wire netted cover ("glow hood") or traces of it. Wooden tuns for the keeping and the transport of clay pipes also belong to Lüneburg's archaeological fund. Already starting from the late 17th century, German pipes show up clearly, like from Großalmerode, Walbeck, Hildesheim, Münden, Hameln and Helmstedt. The portion of relief pipes - "VIVAT LUENEBURG" - or "Jonaspfeifen" - is high. The clay pipe landscape of Lüneburg offers thus the picture of a north German commercial town, which did not produce pipes and which was therefore a worthwhile market for the surrounding pipe makers. Good preservation and salvage conditions permit a more detailed picture of Lüneburg for historical clay pipes handling , than (up to now)possible with most German cities.

Ilze Reinfelde from the Musea of the History of Riga and Navigation reported on clay pipe finds in Riga. The enormous find quantity of 15.000 clay pipe fragments, which were found by city excavations, makes clearly, how strongly smoking was common here, and in addition points out, before which methodical challenges the researcher stands, particularly since she is so far the only person in Latvia, which is concerned with this cultural property. Nearly all pipe fragments concern classical heel pipes; round bottomed pipes and stubstemmed pipes are only poorly represented. Over half of the heel pipe fragments can be dated in the 17th century. A own clay pipe production does not seem to have exist in Latvia. The study of the finds makes clear that approx. 80 per cent of all pipe fragments originate from the Netherlands and only approx. 3 per cent from England.

Some few pieces come from Rostin/Roscin in Prussia (today Poland), the remaining at present yet are not assigned. Katarzyna Meyza, Department of Archaeology of the Historical Museum Warsaw, reported over "clay pipe imported from West and Eastern Europe to Warsaw - a comparison of the finds from the archaeological excavations within the range of the royal castles in Warsaw". She presented a find complex of 230 pipe fragments from a cellar of the south wing of Warsaw court theatre, which had been filled around 1720. Beside the heel pipes were numerous so-called Luele pipes (stub-stemmed pipes), out white and red burning clay, which constitute scarcely a third. As their origin beside the Balkans also Poland is assumed.(1) The contribution raised the fundamental question of the relationship between the clay pipes of the Netherlands/Western European type with head and handle from a piece and the Ottoman/Eastern European stub-stemmed pipes in the 17th and 18th centuries. As is the case for similar find complexes with both pipe types in Hungary, Austria or South Germany their use could be explained by the social or also ethnical differentiation of the smokers, and the supply situation and trade relations.

Finds from Warsaw/Warszawa, Poland

The lecture "Clay pipe finds of Prussian manufactures in Poland" of Wojciech Siwiak, historical Institute Bydgoszcz/Poland, gave an overview based on the available literature. The beginning of the scientific occupation with clay pipe goes back in Poland into the 1950 years, the interest under the archaeologists however remained nevertheless small. This is surprising, because pipes are one of the best chronological dating determinants for cultural settlement layers of the modern times. Available Polish publications cover only small parts of the country and are based usually less on finds from official excavations than on the activities of private collectors. Supplementing historical research for the production way of the two manufactures and to their areas of distribution are to a large extent still pending.

The last lecture of the first day was done by Dr. Rüdiger Articus, Hamburg´s Museum of Archaeology - Helms-Museum. He spoke about paintings of Netherlands painters, who illustrate clay pipes and pipe smokers, and introduced to the symbols of the baroque art. The clay pipe applied in the Dutch genre painting of the 17th century frequently as symbol of the loosening of moral standards. With this lecture the conference members were prepared for the next day, to an attendance of the exhibition "Vergnügliches Leben - Verborgene Lust" whith paintings of Dutch society-scenes from Frans Hals up to Jan Steen, which stood on the program in the museum Hamburger Kunsthalle.

In the late afternoon for the first time accompanying a conference, a pipes and books market took place, with which numerous smoking implements from various materials and literature were offered to an interested public around the topic "tobacco and clay pipes".

On the occasion of the central topic of interest and accompanying the conference R. Kluttig Kluttig-Altmann and M. Kügler had compiled an exhibition with the title "Tobacco and clay pipes in the southern Baltic Sea area and Silesia", which were opened in the evening in the Ostpreußischen Landesmuseum. In close co-operation with the museum and the Stadtarchäologie Lüneburg and supported by the Federal Commissioners for culture and media, it had been possible to gather clay pipe finds of archaeological excavations from Estonia(Tartu/Dorpat), Latvia (Klaipéda/Memel), Poland (Elblag/Elbing, Gorzów Wlkp./Landsberg an der Warthe, Kwidzyn/ Marienwerder, Malbork/Marienburg, Olsztyn/Allenstein, Warszwa/Warschau, Wroclaw/Breslau) and Germany (Lüneburg). In addition came extensive private loans about historical tobacco consumption, which were mostly never shown so far. Special point of attraction of the opening proved to be the original pipe press from the Westerwald , on which each visitor could form out a clay pipe. The exhibition, open until 29 August 2004 in Lüneburg, is documented in a catalog.(2)


The pipe press in action.
fertige Pfeife
A key moment: the first self made clay pipe.

On the second day a trip led to the company DAN Tobacco and DAN Pipe in Lauenburg. Company owner Dr. Heiko Behrens led the participants by the tobacco storing facilities and described with extreme expertise the various tobacco plants and their processing. New surely was the realization of the fact that tobacco can mature with adequate storage such as wine without loosing any flavour - which was impressively confirmed by the smells even pleasant for determined nonsmokers. Second station of the excursion was the Hamburger Kunsthalle with special exhibition "Vergnügliches Leben - Verborgene Lust", which formed both under art-historical as well as closer technical aspects a singular accumulation of paintings with smokers and clay pipes representations, to which also a catalog (3) appeared. After the return to Lüneburg barouches took the participants by the historical city centre. T conclude, E. Ring led adeptly and with many detailed information by the historical areas of the city hall of Lüneburg. The evening ended with a common dinner.


Dr. Heiko Behrens explain
the making of tobacco to the participants.
The DAN tobacco company in Lauenburg.

On Sunday the lecture program was continued. The deficiency of the Polish clay pipe research determined by W. Siwiak could be partly made up by Teresa Witkowska, from the Muzeum Lubuskie in Gorzów Wielkopolskie/PL, in her contribution over the "Distribution of Rostiner clay pipes based on archaeological finds in Poland". The clay pipe factory in Rostin/Roscin in the Neumark was established around 1753. The annual production amounted to approx. 10.000 to 12.000 grosses clay pipes, which were sold in Prussia and exported to Poland. Since 1775 Isaak Salingre, a handler from Stettin, was owner of the clay pipes factory. By the sea route he dispatched the pipes to the Baltic Sea ports. In Berlin and in the Neumark several sales offices were established for clay pipes, so e.g. in Soldin/Myslibórz, Berlinchen/Barlinek, Adamsdorf bei Neustrelitz and Königsberg in Brandenburg. Finds of pipes from Rostin prove the use in Soldin/Myslibórz and Küstrin an der Oder/Kostrzyn.
The pipes trade by ship can be proven by finds in the ports Kolberg/Kolobrzeg, Memel/Klaipéda, Danzig/Gdansk as well as Hamburg and Lübeck. During archaeological research in large cities such as Bromberg/Bydgoszcz, Thorn/Torun, Posen/Poznan and Warschau/Warszawa came it to numerous pipes finds, which are characterised by a clear portion of pipes from Rostin. In more southern regions of Poland and in Silesia with its "capital" Breslau/Wroclaw pipes from Rostin are only rarely to be found.

In the following presentation, Gábor Tomka of the Hungarian National Museum of Budapest reported over the clay pipe research in Hungary and made thereby for the first time possible an intensive introduction to the finds of this country for a German auditory. After large parts of Hungary having been up to the end of the 17th century under Ottoman rule, two influences are prevailing for the spreading of tobacco and clay pipes in Hungary: firstly numerous western (of Netherlands kind) clay pipes, secondly however also at least likewise many stub-stemmed pipes of Ottoman type, which had been partly produced on the spot, witness of the tobacco consumption. Numerous examples of these stub-stemmed pipes of Ottoman type, which arise in Hungary since approx. 1600, were already in 1963 typologised by Béla Kovács and placed into a chronological development series. Kovács also stated that in the course of the time the angle from head to the opening for the stem decreases, while the head size however increases. The pipes arise in different models and are partly green, yellow and blue glazed. In the Ottoman occupied areas only one heel pipe was found so far. In the years 2000/2001 an exhibition was set up for the first time over the history of the Hungarian pipes. The main part of the exhibition displayed meerschaum-pipes and wooden pipes from the 19th century, however also clay pipes from archaeological places of discovery were to be seen. The exhibition catalog gathers (4) also the knowledge about clay pipes of the 17th and 18th centuries due to excavation finds. The lion's share of the work is still to come. A multiplicity of unpublished Turkish and Hungarian clay pipes hides itself in museum depots. Fortunately however an increasing number of Hungarian archaeologists is busy with the finds from the early modern times. That gives hope that in few years the knowledge will multiply over the early clay pipes in Hungary.

This optimistic view closed the course of lectures for the specific topic of the conference and further contributions followed over new finds of clay pipes in Germany. Ekkehard Reiff, from Clausthal-Zellerfeld, presented a find complex from the village of Lower Saxony Burgdorf, which lies between Braunschweig and Hildesheim. There on a field in the "Altes Dorf" approx. 1200 fragments of clay pipes were gathered, for the largest part from the 17th and 18th centuries. The composition of this find material, under it numerous fluted pipes, differs thereby clearly of the surrounding discovery sites and exhibits according to first estimate large similarity with the material from Lüneburg.

Heike Helbig, of the Heimat- und Tabakmuseum Ruhla, gave a short overview of some handicrafts of Ruhla, which are relevant for the pipe research. The production of meerschaum-pipes was most important. Besides in the year 1739 Simon Schenk initiated the pipe cover handicraft. Furthermore there were some painters, who decorated porcelain pipes from Thuringia and Franconia in Ruhla. Further important handicrafts were the woodturning and manufacturing mouthpieces. The production of clay pipes in Ruhla in the 19th century was so far hardly considered, besides its extent remained small. As a chief of the Museum H. Helbig suggested a conference of the Arbeitskreis Tonpfeifen in Ruhla and expressed an invitation of the mayor of the city, which was thanking taken up by the participants.

Natascha Mehler
, from the Römisch-Germanische Kommission des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Forschungsstelle Ingolstadt, described new trends in the study of Bavarian clay pipe finds from the 17th century and summarized the past results into forms, manufacturers and dealers. A regional clay pipe tradition can be determined, whose forms orient themselves at the Dutch models, in execution and decoration however must be designated as quite independent. Under the decorated copies dominate the so-called Jonaspipes and pipes with flower decoration. Heel marks so to say never arise on Bavarian pipes, but are only on imported goods. Such pipes, for instance from the Netherlands, are found predominantly only in large Bavarian commercial towns such as Augsburg or Nürnberg. Pipe-makers of the 17th century are so far in Bavaria hardly well-known, but references to manufacturers of the 18th century abound, particularly in Eastern Bavaria, and in the well-known potters region of the Kroening, in Lower Bavaria. Among the features of the clay pipe finds of Bavaria, one should mention copies in form of a boot (5), from which so far five different models are present.

Carsten Spindler, Braunschweig, who presented finds of the "Ölper" field, in Lower Saxony, committed to immondices, held the last lecture. There were, according to written sources, the wastes of the city Braunschweig disposed around 1750. Under the clay pipes of Lower Saxony of this find complex are copies of the manufacturers Casselmann and Knecht from Großalmerode, in addition also a still unknown "HINR. KNOPF / BRAUNSCHWEIG". Approx. 50 percent of the clay pipe fragments carry the stem label "IN GOUDA", the portion of genuine Netherlands products is however unclear.

For the conclusion of the conference organizational features of the working group stood on the program. R. Kluttig Kluttig-Altmann presented the right in time appeared new volume of "KnasterKOPF - Fachzeitschrift für Tonpfeifen und historischen Tabakgenuss". The 17th volume with 144 pages contains several contributions of the conference 2003 in Heidelberg as well as numerous essays over new finds of clay pipes and offers for the first time colour pages. M. Kügler and R. Kluttig Kluttig-Altmann presented the first supplementary volume of the magazine KnasterKOPF, dedicated to clay mining in the Westerwald and to clay as a raw material. (6)

The next conference of the Arbeitskreis Tonpfeifen will presumably take place from 28 April to 1 May 2005 in the Upper Bavarian Erding. For the 2006 planned 20th conference, in view of the anniversary, one still look out after a special meeting place. An excursion abroad is also considered.
The thanks of the participants formulated by Martin Kügler were first addressed to all lecturers, who fulfilled the conference topic with vivid new research results and reports in outstanding way. The connected exhibition did not only show up which potential is still present in the clay pipe research in the individual countries, but also how much international exchange is an indispensable condition for larger research. The more pleasing therefore is the participation of the foreign colleagues in particular from Latvia, Poland and Hungary.


"KnasterKOPF" as a thanks for Heiko Behrens.
The members of the "Arbeitskreis Tonpfeifen"

M. Kügler addressed particularly cordial thanks to all involved ones in Lüneburg. Among the coworkers of the Ostpreußischen Landesmuseum Julita Venderbosch, responsible for Culture, and Ulrich Stade, administrative leader, have been representative of a great background good spirit. Co-operation with Dr. Ronny Kabus and Dr. Edgar Ring always turned out as pleasant from the first planning meeting in Lüneburg over the idea of an accompanying exhibition and its realization up to the successful execution of the conference. Their openness, their intensive cooperation on all levels and their personal commitment contributed considerably to make of the meeting a all around success.

Natascha Mehler M.A
Römisch-Germanische Kommission des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts
Forschungsstelle Ingolstadt
Jesuitenstraße 3
85049 Ingolstadt

Dr. Martin Kügler
c/o Arbeitskreis zur Erforschung der Tonpfeifen
c/o KnasterKOPF - Fachzeitschrift für Tonpfeifen und historischen Tabakgenuss
Bergstraße 3
02826 Görlitz

Translation: André Dehaybe


(1) Katarzyna Meyza: Die Herstellung von Tonpfeifen in einer Warschauer Töpferwerkstatt vom Ende des 17. Jahrhunderts und der ersten Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts. In: Knasterkopf Bd. 17/2004, S. 55-60.

(2) Ralf Kluttig-Altmann/Martin Kügler: Tabak und Tonpfeifen im südlichen Ostseeraum und in Schlesien. Husum 2004.

(3) Vergnügliches Leben - Verborgene Lust. Holländische Gesellschaftsszenen von Frans Hals bis Jan Steen. Ausstellungskatalog hg. von Pieter Biesboer und Martina Sitt. Zwolle/Haarlem/Hamburg 2004.

(4) The History of the Hungarian Pipemaker´s Craft - Hungarian History through the Pipemaker´s Art. Ed. by Anna Ridovics and Edit Haider. Catalogue of the Exhibition of the Balatoni Museum Keszthely, the Déri Museum Debrecen and the Hungarian National Museum Budapest. Budapest 2000.

(5) Natascha Mehler: Tönernes Schuhwerk - Stiefelpfeifen und andere Besonderheiten des 17. Jahrhunderts aus Bayern und Österreich. In: Knasterkopf Bd. 17/2004, S. 88-93.

(6) Martin Kügler und Ralf Kluttig-Altmann: Rohstoff-Ton eG Tonbergbau 1898-2003. (Knasterkopf, Beiband 1). Görlitz/Leipzig 2003.




last update: 08/05/01
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