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Clay pipes as a research topic

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Research results

Altogether, the Society has held 16 meetings at which the results of local and regional studies have been reported. The meetings have also heard about research in neighbouring countries: Italy, Holland, Austria, Poland, Switzerland and Russia.

Particular attention should be drawn to reports on evaluation of material from the excavation of Casselmann's clay pipe factory in Hannoversch Münden (Gerhard Almeling), and the large amounts of material from the Veste Oberhaus in Passau (Martin Kügler), Einbeck (Andreas Heege), N. Germany (Rüdiger Articus, Maren Weidner), Leipzig (Ralf Kluttig-Altmann), and from Switzerland (Michael Schmaedecke). Historical studies are mostly concerned with the development of clay-pipe making in individual areas and places, e.g. in Westerwald, Ruhla and Holzminden, as well as with trade routes. Tobacco growing and its subsequent processing, the different forms of taking tobacco by the consumer, and the development of tobacco pipes made of other materials such as wood, porcelain or meerschaum (Walther Morgenroth) are topics that were also dealt with in the meetings.

Archaeological studies combined with evaluation of historical documents have demonstrated the importance of Dutch clay-pipe production, especially that of Gouda, for the European market in the 17th and 18th centuries. A particularly interesting aspect is that Dutch pipes were widely copied, i.e. the designs pirated. These imitations often not only show a bowl shape and decoration typical of the Dutch clay pipes but also have a Dutch pipe-maker's mark and even an inscription on the stem giving a Dutch pipe-maker's name and home town. At the same time as these imitations were produced, German production centres also produced their own clay-pipe designs stamped with their own trade-marks, commonly permitting the pipes to be traced back to the individual factories. Thus, identification of these in excavated material found in several different places allows conclusions to be drawn as to where the pipes were marketed, transport routes, and other details about the clay-pipe trade. Products from the Rhine-Neckar region (Mannheim, Frankenthal), from Westerwald, southern Lower Saxony and northern Hesse (Grossalmerode, Uslar, Walbeck etc.) and from Saxony (Grimma) are relatively frequently found in excavations. However, there are still numerous pipes excavated in Bavaria which are certainly of German origin, but which cannot yet be connected with a definite production centre.



A pipe maker's workbench - zoom




The oldest known clay pipe made in Germany, inscription reads (ERA)SMUS FRIDDERIC and ZV MEINTZ 163(4)
Pipe stem, inscription reads STEINEBACH / IN GOUDA, produced by a pipe maker in Westerwald, second half of 18th century



last update: 08/05/01
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