a piece of raw pipe clay as it looks like when the material arrives at the factory, firm Van der Want, Gouda, the Netherlands, 1750-1850

The making of pipes

In the Netherlands the production of clay tobacco pipes continued till 1980, lately only for tourist purposes. The raw material for these pipes, white backing pipe clay, is not found in Holland but imported from Belgium and the Westerwald region in Germany. Before the actual making starts, the clay needs to be prepared, being cleaned of organic material and beaten till it becomes smooth.

The actual pipe making starts with the making of rolls in which the rough shape of the pipe is already visible. This is done by the so-called 'rolder', a boy or apprentice pipe-maker. The rolls have to dry for a few days, before the next step: moulding of the pipe. This is done by the master pipemaker who is called 'kaster'.

First this kaster pierces the clay with a wire, so forming the smoke tube. Then the wired roll is placed in a metal two-parted mould. While the mould is pressed together in a vice the bowl opening is pierced with a stopper. When removed from the mould, a smooth pipe is had. With a special type of knife the pipemaker removes the mould seams and cuts the stem to length. Again the pipes are dried for a few days.

Being leather dry the pipes are brought to the women’s workshop, where women and girls take care of the finishing. First they cut of the mould seams and make the bowl opening nice smooth and round. Also they stamp the makers' mark. Their lap serves to hold the three specific tools.

The best quality pipes are being polished to have a nice shine. This is done with a pin of agate that is moved along the surface of the almost dry clay. The women who take care of that job are called ‘glaasters’.

Now the pipe is ready to be backed in an ordinary potter’s kiln. To prevent discolouring of the fine white clay, the pipes are placed in saggars, covered with a lid. If this was not done the smoke and fire would discolour the pipes.

Back from the firing the pipes are ready to be sold. First they are checked on quality. The highest quality pipes are soaked in a wax-soap solution and rubbed with a cloth to have a perfect shine. Pipes are packed in wooden boxes and baskets. On the paper wrapper the pipemaker proudly presents his makers' mark, often framed with an attractive decoration.

the so-called rol, a massive piece of clay in the shape of a pipe, Royal Goedewaagen, Gouda, 1960-1965
the vice with a brass mould on the top, Westerwald, Germany, 1900-1920 a brass press mould with a stopper and a wire, firm P. Goedewaagen & Sons, Gouda, 1870-1890
traditional two partet Dutch pipe mould with oval bowl and long stem, Gouda, Holland, 1850-1880 so-called stopper to press the bowl interior of a clay pipe, Gouda, Holland, 1880-1900
press mould for a typical Gouda bowl with on both sides an oval in which a man and woman pipe maker, firm P. Goedewaagen & Zoon, Gouda, the Netherlands, 1880-1890 press mould with engraved decoration dedicated to king William III of the Netherlands, Gouda, the Netherlands, 1874
the complete mould with commemorative inscription on the stem, Gouda, the Netherlands, 1874
brass pipe mould for a short clay pipe, the bowl shaped as a pear, a leaf along the stem, river Meuse area, Belgium, 1870-1880 press mould in two parts for a mignonette with a birds' claw, Victor Belle, Serves, France, 1880-1900
bras pipe mould for a cheroot holder, the bowl showing a dog's head, Victor Belle, Serves, France, 1870-1900
iron pipe mould in two parts, the bowl a man's face, Duméril, Saint-Omer, France, 1875-1885
brass pipe mould, on the stem near the bowl a reclyning deer, Duméril, Saint-Omer, France, 1865-1875
deteaikl from the mould above showing the man with spectacles and pispot as cap, Duméril, Saint-Omer, France, 1875-1885
detail of the reclyning deer, Duméril, Saint-Omer, France, 1865-1875
press mould in four parts for making the famous Jacob pipe, Félix Wingender, Chokier, Belgium, 1870-1900
press mould in three parts for a pipe with Manneken Pis, Henri Cuvellier, River Meuse region, Belgium, 1870-1880
the bowl in this pipe mould shows a zouave in full, Gisclon, Lille, France, 1860-1880 press mould in three parts for a portrayal pipe of a genaral, Job Clerc, Saint-Quentin-la-Poterie, France, 1900-1920
press mould consisting of four parts for making the famous Jacob pipe, Félix Wingender, Chokier, Belgium, 1870-1900
the same Jacob press mould in closed position, Félix Wingender, Chokier, België, 1870-1900
press mould in iron showing the bust of king George IV, Manchester, England, 1905-1915 pipe mould in two parts for a figural cigar holder, Duméril Leurs & Cie, Saint-Omer, France, 1860-1880
a series of mould makers tools for keeping the metal moulds in good condition, firm A. Debevere, Kortrijk, Belgium, 1860-1920
plaster pipe mould for a hollow bowl Zenith pipe, firm P.J. van der Want Azn., Gouda, Holland, 1970-1980 brass pipe mould for a six-sided stub bowl with decoration dedicated to the pub, Westerwald, Germany, 1900-1920
reamers to shape the rough pipe mould so that it becomes perfectly smooth, firm P. van der Want Gzn., Gouda, the Netherlands, 1800-1880
the matrix for producing plaster pipemoulds, firm P.J. van der Want Azn., Gouda, Holland, 1970-1980
the schenkertje with a hook for the stem and a knife in the handle to cut the stems to length, firm P.J. van der Want Azn., Gouda, 1880-1920 a simple schenkertje, only having the hook for finishing the mould seams, Royal Goedewaagen, Gouda, Holland, 1910-1930 knife to remove the crown of the moulded pipe, the pointed handle serves to smooth the bowlopening, Westerwald, Germany, 1900-1940
the smoeiijzers for smoothing the clay pipes, firm P. Goedewaagen & Sons, Gouda, 1880-1920
the disks to make the bowl opening round on a string with an example of the pipe, firm P. Goedewaagen & Sons, Gouda, the Netherlands1880-1900
four agate tools for polishing the dry clay pipes, Gouda, the Netherlands, 1800-1900
the stamps to place the heel mark on the pipe, firm P. Goedewaagen & Sons, Gouda, 1880-1900
a heel stamp with the typical flattened handle, firm P. Goedewaagen & Sons, Gouda, 1880-1900
the engraving of the heel stamp in detail here with mark trumpetter, firm P. Goedewaagen & Sons, Gouda, 1880-1900
a pair of agate tools for quicker polishing of the pipes, firm A. Debevere, Kortrijk, Belgium, 1880-1920
mark stamp for export orders with the name of the Irish pipemerchant Edward Keevel, firm P. van der Want Gzn., Gouda, the Nederlands, 1860-1880
heel stamp with JG initials to hang round the neck with a piece of string, firm J. Gambier, Givet, France, 1880-1900
stem stamp for marking the stem intaglio, firm A. Debevere, Kortrijk, Belgium, 1880-1920
coin in use among workman for the registration of the wages payed by grosse, Gouda, the Netherlands, 1870-1900
wooden block to bent the finished clay pipe, firm P. Goedewaagen & Sons, Gouda, Holland, 1900-1920 a wooden tray for stoving the long stemmed clay pipes, firm A. Debevere, Kortrijk, Belgium, 1900-1930
betaalpenning, coin for the registration of the wages, firm P. Goedewaagen & Sons, Gouda, Holland, 1900-1920
the support for long pipes placed in the sagger when the pipes are backed, firm Van der Want, Gouda, the Netherlands, 1800-1850
pipemakers' coin for the controll of the payment of produced pipes, firm P. Goedewaagen & Sons, Gouda, Holland, 1900-1920
stamp for the packeage of pipes with the inscription Kabalen which is a large bowled pipe, Gouda, 1800-1850 printing block for product description on the wrapper, mentioning the bowl size of the pipe with grootkoppen, firm P. van der Want Gzn, Gouda, 1880-1900
side view of the above stamp carved out of the part of an old pipe mould, Gouda, 1800-1850
printing block in lead with the makers' mark and the name Pieter van Rijk, Gouda, the Netherlands, 1815-1820
modern printing block for an advertisement of clay tobacco pipes, Royal Goedewaagen, Gouda, the Netherlnads, 1920-1925
stamp with the mark WS used for the advertisement of clay pipes, Gouda, 1780-1840
All objects on this page are part of the Amsterdam Pipe Museum
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