Pipes of various materials
Clay, meerschaum and briar are the most common materials for the production of tobacco pipes. In history, however, a lot of experiments have been done with other materials, both metals and organic. Metal pipes have been produced from early times onwards: brass, bronze, iron and even silver. As you can imagine metal is not very comfortable to the smoker, because it heats up too quickly, while the taste is never good.
A wide variety of pipes made of organic materials exist: antlers, bone, ivory, fish teeth, buffalo horn, coral and shell. Even the pincers of a crab has been transformed into a pipe. Other pipes were made of mother of pearl, agate, coquianut, crystal or glass.
The qualities and limitations of the various materials gave new designs, often resulting in oddities rather than a functional smoking pipe. Many creations are not really a guaranty for cool, dry smoke, including a functional design for comfortable handling. So a lot of these pipes we hardly can imagine to match with a smoker.
In the end of the nineteenth century the briar industry conquered the world and experiments with unusual materials stopped gradually.
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