Topic: Pipe 8: NOV06 -NFS
I read an article on Pipelore.net by By Corneel Vermeulen about a pipe called the "Belge." I was amzded and inspired that after so much "research" on pipe shapes, I had never heard of the Belge! Seems it is a carry over shape from the days when clay pipes roamed the earth. The shapes were readily transferable to briar except without the spur. When I get the right piece of wood, I will make one with a spur.
I hate setting a pipe down on its side and having ash spill out. I do this a lot as I dont really leave them in my mouth if Im not puffing. Its a 'me" thing. Anyway, I loved his article and especially the examples of modern Belges he presents. The thought of creating one for myself was overwhelming. So I made the following plan by which I can "kind of" work off of. You see, I basically need to move the shape of the pipe up on the block about 1/8" so that I can leave enough wood to round the stem. Also mine will be more of a "Borraine" than a Belge. I have to also mention that the works of: Larry Roush, Michael Parks, Rad Davis as cited in the article are truely inspiring!
Heather Coleman reports that "Gambier was the largest and most famous of pipe makers and flourished in the 1850-1920 period. They were winning gold medals for pipes in the mid 19th century and producing over 26 million pipes a year, many using steam powered presses." Her collection, reserch, and committment to the clay pipe is extensive, perhaps she would know how it made its transition to briar.
Remember I have a laxley Zulu which is of intrest because it was made on the Isle of Mann. Laxley being a onetime manufacturer of the meerschaum, but when materials became scarce they switch to briar. Perhaps Gambier "marketing department" decided when fashions changed to briar that they would "'ave a go a it." I'll ask her if she knows the answer to Corneel's question
Here (left) are some early 19th century Clay pipes from Heathers collection. Impressive and for me, inspiring. Months ago I had thought of mimicking the shapes of clays. Reading Corneels article whelp to reinforce that desire. Seeing Heather's collection has opened my eyes as well, and reminded me of when I was a teen snorkeling by the coast by my house in Beverly, Mass. I found a stem from a clay pipe. I assumed it was from the 1700's when half-way between my house and the beach stood the Woodbury Tavern. I was hooked and did a bit research myself and remember learning that tavern pipes were community property, and after they were smoke, the stem would be broken off for the next person. I have since/recently learned that the tavern pipes were pretty much the "estate pipe" of today. Taverns were effectively the secondary market for clay pipes.