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19th Annual Meeting of the German Society for Clay-Pipe Research in Ingolstadt, 2005



On account of unforeseen organisational difficulties, the 19th annual meeting of the German Society for Clay-Pipe Research was held from 28 April to 1 May 2005 in Ingolstadt instead of in Erding, as was originally planned. The Ingolstadt Museum and the Ingolstadt research department of the Römisch-Germanische Kommission kindly agreed to jointly host the meeting; Natascha Mehler took over the organisation of the meeting at short notice. The invitations attracted over 60 people from different parts of Germany, as well as from Britain, Holland, Austria, Sweden and Switzerland. This most gratifying response continued the trend of increasing numbers of participants over many years. It was a pleasure to see that many archaeological institutions and museums were represented among the participants, as well as the Society for Clay Pipe Research, the Pijpelogische Kring Nederland and the Académie Internationale de la Pipe. This underlines the international character of the Society and also of clay-pipe research as a whole.

After an informal get-together on Thursday evening of those participants who had arrived by then, the meeting was officially opened on Friday 28 April by Dr. Beatrix Schönewald, Director of the Ingolstadt Museum, in the museum's "Schlaraffensaal". Dr. Claus-Michael Hüssen of the Römisch-Germanische Kommission's research department in Ingolstadt also welcomed the participants. Dr. Martin Kügler, in his welcoming speech, thanked the hosts on behalf of those present for their friendly welcome. Dr. Andreas Büttner brought greetings from the Bavarian Office for the Protection of Cultural Heritage (Bayerisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege) and told that Dr. Sebastian C. Sommer, the Director of the above Office, had offered to include the known sites of historical pipemakers' workshops in the list of sites scheduled to be excavated.

In his introduction, Martin Kügler said that he was happy to report that clay-pipe research had been most active during the last year. He reported that the highlight of the year was the invitation received by the Society to attend the 5th German Archaeological Congress at Frankfurt/Oder in April 2005, where the Society was to be represented by an own Clay-Pipe Section. Thanks to most competent organisation by Natascha Mehler, it was possible to contact ten people to give lectures on clay pipes at the Congress; the lecturers came from six countries: Germany, Lithuania, Holland, Austria, Poland and Hungary. The new volume of KnasterKOPF, which was issued punctually for the meeting at Ingolstadt by the editors Martin Kügler and Ralf Kluttig-Altmann, was circulated. This issue documents how fruitful and how necessary international cooperation within Europe and overseas is for clay pipe research. Attention was drawn to the reduced prices of back-numbers of KnasterKOPF, which can be ordered through knasterkopf.de.


Before dealing with the lecture and excursion program, Martin Kügler repeated what he had explained in the invitation to the meeting, that he had decided on personal grounds to resign at the end of the present meeting from the chairmanship of the Society and the editorship of KnasterKOPF. He promised to give the new chairperson and editor all possible assistance during the changeover period; he would be available to answer individual questions, but would no longer play an active part in Society organisation or research.
In the discussion on the future of the Society and KnasterKOPF, which was in fact continued in many informal conversations during the whole meeting as well as in the plenum on Sunday morning, no comprehensive solution to the problem was forthcoming. There was a general feeling that the open character of the Society, with no official membership or subscription, should be retained.
Even though no new executive group was formed during the meeting, several people agreed to take on certain duties. Happily, the annual meetings will be continued, since Ruhla Pipe Museum has kindly invited us to hold the 20th Annual Meeting of the Society there in 2006. Marita Pesenecker said that she was prepared to enquire into the logistics of holding a meeting at Ruhla. Carsten Spindler suggested that an internet forum would be a cheap and rapid means of communication for members. It has now been installed under the usual website address (knasterkopf.de). Anyone interested can visit the website and obtain news about the Society, join in discussions and ask questions about recent finds.
Several people showed an interest in helping with editorial work on KnasterKOPF. However, Ralf Kluttig-Altmann, as the one remaining editor, explained that to guarantee the present high quality and size of KnasterKOPF in the future the backing of an institution was not only essential but urgent, although so far no concrete offers had been received.

The scientific program of the meeting began on Friday afternoon with an excursion to Geisenhausen near Landshut, to the firm of Alois Pöschl Tabak GmbH & Co. KG. The owner of the firm, Dr. Ernst Pöschl, invited the members to lunch and afterwards, with the help of three employees, showed us around his factory. Dr. Pöschl gave us a most entertaining, informative and original account of the history of the family business, which had, since it was founded in 1902, developed into the largest snuff factory in Europe. For several years it has also had a significant share of the pipe tobacco and cigarette tobacco markets. During the 2-hour tour through the different rooms and departments, members learnt about the various raw materials, varieties and blends and about how the classic Bavarian "Schmalzler" tobacco and other brands were prepared.

In the evening the members of the Society attended a reception in the Museum's "Schlaraffensaal" given by the town of Ingolstadt. Mrs. Brigitta Fuchs, Mayoress of Ingolstadt, welcomed the members and expressed great pleasure in seeing that so many people had accepted the invitation to come to Ingolstadt. Dr. Beatrix Schönewald then showed the guests around the Museum, and gave an account of the exhibits relevant to the industrial history of the town. Another highlight was a visit to inspect the historic snuff stamp which once belonged to the firm of Lotzbeck. Ingolstadt Museum was encouraged by the visit of our Society to renovate the snuff stamp and get it into working order again with the help of Pöschl & Co. It would then be possible to demonstrate to museum visitors something about the snuff making trade, which was also active in this town in the 18th and 19th centuries. During and after the evening meal we had an opportunity to discuss the day's events and to present members' clay-pipe and other finds.

The full program of presentations on Saturday began with a talk by Dr. Gerd Riedel, Ingolstadt, on the most recent urban archaeological finds in Ingolstadt. Carolingian and Merowingian remains found just north and south of the town provided further evidence for some known historical events such as the founding of the town in 806 AD. Discoveries dating from the 13th and 14th centuries made in the vicinity of the old castle showed that this imposing building was closely connected with the town. Investigations in the old part of the town made it possible to reconstruct several town houses that were associated with different trades, e.g. an apothecary and various craftsmen's workshops.

Martin Kügler, Görlitz, gave an account of the present state of clay-pipe research in Bavaria. So far most finds of clay pipes have come from the places where they were smoked, but increasingly the "Bavarian clay pipe landscape" is being defined on the basis of reports of production centres. This of course requires considerably more research.
This topic was also dealt with by Natascha Mehler M.A., who presented her recent research results. Historical documentary sources have helped to increase our knowledge of clay-pipe makers, traders and the locations of clay-pipe factories in Bavaria in the 17th century. Since at this time all tobacco growing and trading in Bavaria was leased to a so-called "appaltor", this man apparently controlled the import of foreign (Dutch) pipes and commissioned clay pipes to be produced in Bavaria. This the inscription ISC on numerous different types of clay pipe can now be interpreted as the initials of the then tobacco appaltor Johann (A) Senser Compagnie. Documentary evidence permits several production centres to be localised and provides evidence of trading in clay pipes. The results so far achieved show that clay-pipe production in Bavaria was quite independent as far as form and decoration are concerned. The absence of (heel) marks makes identification of the maker difficult. Normally marks are only found on imported pipes.

In the next paper Dr. Cordula Brand, Essen, described a clay pipe find from St. Jacob's Square, Munich, which was dated by means of the accompanying coins. Excavations on the western side of the square in 2002/3, in the so-called "Seidenhaus" (silk house) recovered a large number of stub-stemmed pipes in several different places. The wide distribution of this type of pipe makes it difficult to determine the maker and the place of manufacture. Comparison with similar finds from Munich, Freiburg, Warsaw and the castle of Zips (CZ), this suite of finds was dated between the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century. The variety of forms of the stub-stemmed bowls shows that there was extensive trade over considerable distances, particularly with SE European pipemakers.

Later on in the morning we visited the Deutsche Medizinhistorische Museum (German Museum of Medical History) in Ingolstadt. Dr. Kowalski showed us objects, such as a tobacco syringes from the 17th and 18th centuries, which documented one of the applications of tobacco in medical practice.

A message of greeting from Mrs. Heike Helbig of the Pipe Museum in Ruhla, addressed to the guests at the meeting, was read by Holger Haettich. In her message, Mrs. Helbig described how the dispute over the will of Franz Thiel, the last pipemaker in Ruhla, who died in 1980, was at last settled. Unfortunately his abandoned workshop was broken into by thieves several times, and much of the pipe-making equipment stolen. However, it was possible to acquire a large proportion of the remaining equipment and it will shortly be on view to the public. In the same letter Mrs. Helbig repeated her invitation to the Society to hold their 20th annual meeting in Ruhla in 2006.

Walter Morgenroth, Tutzing, spoke about "Tobacco trade, pipe marks and smuggler bands in the Electoral Principality of Bavaria between 1660 and 1740" from documentary evidence. Around 1650 the free town of Nuremberg was the centre of the German tobacco trade. Several tobacco appaltors, who had leased a monopoly from the state, are documented in the Electoral Principality of Bavaria. One of he most important personalities in the tobacco trade was Johann A. Senser, who was active from 1668 onwards in the Upper Palatinate. It is important to know the exact history of tobacco-tenure in order to be able to date the clay pipes, which were inscribed with the name the relevant leaseholder. Thus, apart from the ISC pipes, which were mentioned above, there are also pipes inscribed with CBT. These were produced at the end of the 17th century, when administration of the tobacco trade was in the hands of the state. The initials are those of the responsible department, the "Churfürstliche Bayrische Tabakwesen" (Electorial Bavarian Tobacco-Adminstration). From 1732 onwards free trading in tobacco was allowed in the Bavarian region.

Manuel Thomas from Rheinzabern chose a completely different topic for his paper. He made a systematic/analytical comparison between clay pipes and Roman terra-sigillata. After an introduction to this important family of ceramics, he sketched several similarities such as the method of production using moulds, maker's marks and the similar fine quality of the clay used. The speaker found it remarkable that clay-pipe research aimed at setting up a uniform documentation scheme, but that such a scheme had not been established in terra-sigillata research.

Felix van Tienhoven, Geldrop (NL), concentrated on pipes made of metal. This type of pipe was very much in favour in the 16th to 19th centuries. Since it is not possible to carry out a chemical analysis on most of these metal objects, this particular sort of evidence for dating these pipes is not available. The speaker thought that many of these pipes were copies of clay pipes and that this might lead to determination of their provenance and age. Examples of metal pipes from Holland, Britain, France, Austria, Hungary and even the Far East.

The paper given by Johanna Sendl, Schönau, consisted of an account of the Lersch family of pipemakers in Höhenberg in the county of Rottal on the Inn. The history of this family can be followed through three generations, from the end of the 18th century up to about the middle of the 19th century. The actual production of the family was modest - only sufficient to supply the local market. Apart from manuscript documents, a few tools, pipe moulds and examples of the pipes produced by the family have been recovered. The speaker brought these with her and they were examined and discussed by the Society members with great interest.

Dr. Theodor Straub, Gaimersheim, gave a paper on a village craft, the making of wooden pipes commercially; he took the old Württemberg village of Gruibingen as an example. Extensive studies of documents in the parish archives uncovered details of numerous craftsmen and their crafts throughout several generations; these have now been described. Wooden pipe making was a popular second source of income, supplementing that from a full-time job.

Simon Kraims, Basel (CH), read a paper that showed how clay-pipe research can provide a marked contribution to interdisciplinary research. He described the effects of clay-pipe smoking on the teeth of skeletons of the last few centuries in Basel. On the basis of anthropological material from two burial places dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, the speaker gave an account of the effects of smoking on teeth: abrasion, tar covering, staining, and plaque. This pathological evidence provided data on the social environment, the consumption of tobacco and age of the clay pipes found associated with the skeletons.

This lecture was the last of the scientific business of the day. During supper members had a chance to continue their discussions.

On Sunday the future of the Society was again on the agenda. This was followed by a paper read by Brigitte Fettinger, Vienna (A), who dealt with a suite of finds from the ruins of Scharnstein Castle, Upper Austria. These random clay pipe finds, which were dated in the second half of the 17th century, were used well into the 18th century. The suite was dominated by a special type of clay pipe, the so-called boot pipe. It was possible to show that this material was closely related to other finds from Austria and Bavaria. The large number of these particular pipes found at this locality is so far unique and suggests that they were made in production centres in Bavaria and/or Austria.

In the next lecture drs. Ruud Stam, Leiden (NL) spoke about the economic state of the clay-pipe industry in the Netherlands in the 20th century. There was a general drop in clay-pipe production in the 20th century. From 1920 onwards slip-cast clay pipes were produced in the factories and sales of clay pipes pressed in a mould became less and less. In the beginning of the 1930s production of clay pipes made in a gin press was more or less zero and the slip-cast pipes became increasingly popular. From the 1920s onwards the clay-pipe industry felt strong competition from wooden pipes. The cheap wooden pipes almost completely ousted clay pipes from the souvenir market.

John Rogers, Malvern (GB), gave a fascinating account of his collection of tobacco boxes and pipe stoppers. On the basis of the different pieces in his collection he described the evolution of these two important smoking accessories, which are not only made of a variety of materials but also depict many surprisingly different forms and types of decoration. It was interesting to see the historical influences on these objects. As with clay pipes and other every-day objects, pipe stoppers were made which recorded historical events of the day, for example figures of Napoleon as pipe-stopper handle around 1800.

The last lecture was given by Carsten Spindler. He began by talking about objects from the past and led us into an examination of the future possibilities of an online forum. He described the technicalities, the make-up and construction of this kind of facility, as well as its potential and the possible problems, taking clay-pipe research as an example.

Martin Kügler, who was clearly moved by the occasion, closed the 19th Annual Meeting of the Society by thanking all those who had presented papers on their research results. They were responsible for a program which was full of variety and stimulated an active exchange of information. Thanks were also due to Dr. Beatrix Schönewald, Director of the Ingolstadt Museum and Dr. Claus-Michael Hüssen, who had, unburocratically and at short notice, made it possible to hold the meeting in Ingolstadt. He thanked Mayoress Fuchs and Dr. Pöschl, whose kind invitation and fascinating guided tour of the firm of Alois Pöschl Tabak was certainly the highlight of the meeting. Particular thanks were due to Natascha Mehler, who made all the preparations for the Society's meeting in Ingolstadt at the same time as she was organising the Clay-Pipe Section at the German Archaeological Congress in April. It was due to her that everything ran so smoothly, for she saw to the invitations, the program, the meeting rooms, the excursion and all the meals for the 60 or more participants, a surprisingly and gratifyingly large number.

After the meeting Dr. des. Ralf Kluttig-Altmann agreed to take over the organisation of the Society, on a provisional basis, in order to provide a central contact point until further notice. However, it was made clear that these measures do not in any way guarantee the future of the Society or of KnasterKOPF. For this reason all readers of this report are urgently requested to consider whether they would be prepared to spend some of their time actively helping the Society. Naturally, Mr. Kluttig-Altmann would be pleased to hear from anyone who can offer his or her services, and would gladly answer any queries. The work of the Society is diverse and could be distributed among a number of people in a way that no individual person has an excessive load. Lastly, attention is specifically drawn to the Society's website Forum at
which from now on will form the backbone of inter-member communication.

Brigitte Fettinger, Wien
Martin Kügler, Görlitz




last update: 05/09/15
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