The production of the briar pipe became popular after the development of engine driven machines in the period between 1850 and 1870. Especially in the French Saint-Claude, where the briar root is found, the industry of the briar pipe flourished due to the techniques the factories developed. England, Italy and Denmark started much later in this section, each showing their own line of design.
In the nineteenth century already a basic gamma of pipe shapes is designed, that are now called the classical shapes. The most popular are the billiard and the bulldog, others are less common such as Dublin, prince and poker. Even nowadays these shapes are still popular.
In the twentieth century the most respected products were made by Alfred Dunhill Ltd., on market from 1906 onwards. At the start Dunhill ordered pipes at the London Charatan factory, nothing but quality pipes regardless of the costs. When the demand increased, Dunhill founded a factory of his own, supplying classical shapes in top quality. A century later, the product is still the most appreciated pipe in the world.
In the twentieth century the briar pipe still is subject to development. That counts for the small workshops where individual pipe makers create unique free hands, mainly found in Denmark. Next to this there are gigantic factories such as Butz-Choquin in Saint-Claude. Every decennium in briar industry is marked with new inventions being representative for the fashion of that time as well as with retro designs in classical line. So even nowadays the briar pipe reflects time in shape, appearance and finish.
Modern designs are the Porsche pipes, launched in the 1980's, but also designs like the Cybele from the last years of the twentieth century. A remarkable product from this century is the Bugatti design, introduced in 2005 which combines metal and ceramic. In Saint-Claude Antoine Grenard is one of the promishing designers for modern tobacco pipes.
All objects on this page are part of the Amsterdam Pipe Museum
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