Spotlight On…Pipe Stems | NMSC Archeology & Museum Blog
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An Evaluation of Tobacco Pipe Stem Dating Formulas | Lauren McMillan - n3ws.info
They increased in size over the course of the century, as tobacco became more readily available. They also began to increase in length so that, by the time of the Great Fire ofstems could reach up to mm from the back of the heel to the mouthpiece. Common types in use c remained popular through much of the 18th century, with little variation except in the shape of the heel or spur at the base of the bowl.
Around the middle of the 18th century particularly long pipes known as aldermen or straws became popular, especially amongst the gentry, sometimes reaching as much as mm in length. By the time of the Napoleonic Wars at the turn of the century, the standard London pipe bowl was an upright form with fairly brittle walls and a small square heel.
Much more practical than the extra-long pipes that required leisure time to smoke, these later pipes were often broken to a length that suited the smoker, and could allow them to work with their hands while enjoying their tobacco.
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Since clay pipes were essentially disposable items, universally and easily obtainable and thrown away after only a few smokes, their potential for dating archaeological deposits is considerable. They do, however, have an importance that goes far beyond chronology, throwing light on the role and history of leisure and recreation in daily life, furthering our understanding of the place of smoking in society and of the organisation of the industry across the country. It was common practice in the 17th century, but not later, to add a band of milling or rouletting around the outside of the rim of the bowl.
This could be made with the milled edge of the button or tool that was used to finish the inside of the bowl. Burnishing is another indication and took place at all periods, although it is more common on London pipes in the 17th century than later. Using a small tool, the surface of the finished pipe was polished in a series of parallel vertical strokes running round the bowl and usually along the length of the stem as well.
The closer together and more carefully made the strokes are, the better the quality. More elaborate decoration was usually formed in the mould and became increasingly popular over the course of the 18th century. Some of the more intricate designs involve use of the royal arms, the emblem of the Prince of Wales, emblems of the Masons, the Thames Watermen and other bodies, the signs of public houses such as the Rose and Crown, the Eagle, the Fox and Grapesor important events and notable figures of the time, such as the Act of Union, the Battle of Culloden, Admiral Vernon and so on.
From early on in the life of the industry tobacco pipe makers marked their pipes with their initials or with a symbol such as a fleur-de-lis or a wheel. The majority of pipes were not marked, but those that are give valuable clues to their date and area of manufacture when they can be related to documented pipe makers.
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This is by no means always possible, especially with common combinations of initials and with symbols. Nonetheless, many London pipes can be identified as the work of known pipe makers. This remained the principal means of marking pipes right through to the 20th century, although stamped marks on the bowl became popular in the Victorian era, together with full names and addresses stamped or moulded along the stem.
Throughout the 17th to 19th centuries smoking was chiefly but not exclusively a male pursuit, and there is evidence that women and even children also partook of the habit.
From the s onwards coffee houses too were filled with tobacco smoke as gentlemen met to relax and discuss business. By the end of the 17th century, a practice that had begun as something of an exotic novelty had gained an overwhelming hold on society — no longer the preserve of the wealthy few, but available to all, bringing pleasure, escape and contentment to every man.
The search form on Locating London's Past allows you to select a particular kind of pipe decoration, or to map all finds of clay pipes. Results are automatically grouped by Place, as the finds relate to very specific sites. Accessioned glass in London — Beth Richardson Museum of London Archaeology Two main types of glass were produced in the 17th and 18th centuries. Colourless glass was used for drinking vessels, table glass, mirror glass and high quality windows, together with a number of specialist products such as spectacles, urinals and scientific apparatus.
Green glass, which contained impurities and was less expensive to produce, was mainly used to make wine bottles, pharmaceutical phials and cheaper window glass. This database includes all accessioned, clear and coloured glass, however fragmentary, from Museum of London Archaeology MoLA excavations, as well as a small number of accessioned green glass bottles and phials. The database provides a fascinating insight into the distribution of the kinds of imported and English glass used domestically and commercially, and demonstrates increased usage as glass became cheaper and more common towards the end of the 18th century.
Throughout the 17th century the best quality vessel and mirror glass was imported, mainly from Venice, the Low Countries and France. During and immediately after the English Civil War and Commonwealth there was a reduced demand for glass, although luxury goods were still imported; a large group of Venetian and Low Countries glass excavated at 1 Poultry in the City of London is thought be part of documented stock imported by the merchant John Greene in the s and s. This new, thicker and heavier glass was used for novel simpler forms, such as large plain wine or beer glasses, with large funnel- or bucket-shaped bowls and short baluster-shaped stems, spouted posset pots for drinking the spiced hot sweetened milk curdled with wine or ale known as possetand plain or ribbed syllabub glasses.
The fragmentary posset pots found in the 1 Poultry excavations are thought to be early Ravenscroft products.