The tobacco jar is an accessory that emerges in the eighteenth century, when smokers consume larger quantities of tobacco. According to the status of the owner, the jar can be very simple to extremely luxurious. The upper class used silver tobacco jars, shaped and decorated in the latest fashion: starting with the Louis-XIV, -XV and XVI style, the Empire, Biedermeier, Victorian style and so forth up to some rare post-modern jars from the 20th century.
The silver jars were copied in pewter, the silver of the poor, as it was called. Typical English are the tobacco jars in lead, following the same decorations of the more expensive examples. They all have in common the inner lid that keeps the tobacco in right moist.
During the 19th century the tobacco jar became more common in all social circles, with a growing variety in shapes and materials. Mercury glass replaced the heavy lead pots, a myriad of ceramic pots and jars were invented, many shaped in animals and persons. Nowadays these jars are highly collectible, but even at the time they were extremely popular and were certainly conversation pieces when put on table.
After 1900 there was clearly less interest in the tobacco jar; cigars and cigarettes were taking over the common use of pipes. New tobacco jars tend to be moderate in size and produced industrially. Nevertheless, the current fashion was always reflected, from art-deco to streamline and Modern Movement; for the old fashioned smoker a choice of waggish designs is always available.
Amsterdam Pipe Shop is specialized in collectors items on pipes