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Report of the 21st Meeting of the German Society for Clay-Pipe Research on 26-28 April 2007 in Gouda, the Netherlands


The 21st Meeting of the German Society for Clay-Pipe Research was held on the 26-28 April 2007 in the rooms of the MuseumgoudA at the joint invitation of Ruud Stam of the Pijpelogische Kring Nederland and the MuseumgoudA. Altogether 40 people from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Germany attended the Meeting in Gouda, the former centre of clay-pipe production in Europe. A small exhibition was arranged specially for the Meeting. The exhibits illustrating clay-pipe making in Gouda and the Gouda Guild of Clay-Pipe Makers were taken from the collection of the "de Moriaan" Museum, which is currently closed since it is being renovated prior to becoming the National Pharmaceutical Museum.
The programme of lectures was mainly concerned with clay-pipe finds in the Netherlands and the importance of the Netherlands for the clay-pipe-making trade in Europe, as well as clay-pipe production centres and clay-pipe finds in Germany, Switzerland and in Prague. Tobacco growing and the history of tobacco were also dealt with. The proceedings were opened by Ewoud Mijnlieff of the MuseumgoudA, who gave an account of the history of the museums and collections in Gouda and their future. In 1874, a town museum was founded on the market square. Apart from objects of cultural and historic interest, the local clay-pipe-making trade was documented by means of a few of its products and some historic objects belonging to the pipe-makers guild. In 1938, the "de Moorian" Museum was founded and presented exhibitions on ceramics, faience, tiles, and objects related to the clay-pipe trade. The director was G.C. Helbers, who, together with D.A. Goedewaagen, became well known as a result of their standard work on the Gouda clay-pipe makers. The MuseumgoudA was opened in 1947 as the main museum in Gouda and in the 1980s and 1990s organised several exhibitions on clay pipes. The "de Moorian" Museum has recently been incorporated in the MuseumgoudA, which, in 2008, will present a new exhibition on clay-pipe making in Gouda.

View of the town

The first paper was given by Jan van Oostveen, Tiel, Netherlands on pipes of German origin found in the Netherlands. At first sight it appears surprising that German clay pipes should have been imported by the main clay-pipe-producing country in Europe. Imports began around the middle of the 18th century and continued into the 19th century. So far, clay pipes from four German production centres have been found: Wanfried, Hildesheim, Grünstadt, and the Westerwald area. These finds in the Netherlands suggest that German pipes were transported via the Rhine and then the Ijssel into the North Sea coastal region. The administration of Overijssel attempted to prevent the import of cheap German pipes, and thus to protect the Dutch clay-pipe makers, by means of an import duty.
By far the most important region in Germany in which clay pipes were produced for the Dutch market was the so-called Kannenbäckerland in the Westerwald. Clay pipes from these factories, which were modelled on Gouda clay pipes, turn up again and again in the eastern part of the Netherlands between Groningen and Maastricht. In the 19th century, German porcelain pipes were also smoked in the eastern part of the Netherlands. The lecture stimulated lively discussion on why German pipes had found their way to the Netherlands, and in particular, whether these finds point to an organised export of clay pipes or whether alternatively there is a cultural explanation.
Ralf Kluttig-Altmann, Leipzig gave a brief summary of the history of clay-pipe production and trade in Germany. Clay-pipe making began in Germany before or around 1650 in several regions. This early period is a research field which has, in the last few years, yielded unexpected results and will certainly open up new facets of the clay-pipe picture. These early production methods were modelled on those used in Holland, although some were the makers' own methods, independent of outside influence. After 1650 the first production centres were established, which supplied relatively large areas with pipes. But most of these centres had disappeared (Mannheim and Bavaria) by 1700. In the 18th century the most important production centre in Germany was established in the Westerwald; otherwise there were about 200 individual places where clay pipes were made, although production was not continuous or on a large scale. About 300 places are now known in Germany where clay pipes were produced; new discoveries are still being made, increasingly of potters who also made clay pipes. Import of clay pipes from the Netherlands, particularly from Gouda, has always played a role in Germany, although the volume of imports was not as high, particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries, as it was once thought to have been.


Ruud Stamm, Leiden, Netherlands, gave an account of the important role played by middlemen in the distribution of clay pipes. He dealt with the organisation of the clay-pipe trade, the merchants' and customers' preference for clay pipes bearing certain makers' marks, and the individual pipemakers' own retail sales. In the first half of the 17th century the pipemakers themselves sold their own pipes. Normally, clay pipes were sold in the pipemaker's house, where there was both a workshop and shop, usually supplying the local market. Later, clay pipes were exported via Dutch salesmen. The author showed that most of the clay pipes found in Weimar and Erfurt were made in Gouda between about 1720 and 1820 and are of excellent quality. Moreover, the marks recorded on these finds must, over this period, have belonged to several pipemakers, successive owners of the same mark. This demonstrates that the export of pipes to a certain district in Germany was not restricted to the working life of a single Gouda pipemaker, but that both salesmen and customers preferred pipes bearing their favourite mark or marks.
Natascha Mehler, Ingolstadt, discussed the Dutch and other influences affecting clay-pipe production methods in Bavaria. Finds of clay pipes from Holland are rare in Bavaria, at least those from the 17th and early 18th centuries. There is a slight increase in the frequency of clay-pipe imports from Holland, however, during the course of the 18th century. The identified pipes originate from Gouda and Amsterdam. The few finds of Dutch pipes were mostly excavated in free cities of the Reich, such as Augsburg, which were not subject to the Bavarian state tobacco monopoly.
The Dutch clay-pipe-making methods and products were taken as patterns in Bavaria, as can be seen by the two-piece moulds and the system of production. The shapes of the Bavarian pipes were also modelled on Dutch pipes. Thus the so-called Sir Walter Raleigh pipes provided a pattern for their Bavarian counterparts. In spite of this, some shapes were used that were independent of Dutch pipes, and in particular the floral patterns were local designs. In addition to the classical clay pipe, a stub-stemmed type of pipe had already appeared during the 17th century. This was a completely different type of pipe and represented a development wholly independent of Holland.
Marita Pesenecker, Grimma, and Berndt Standke, Freiberg, presented new information about clay-pipe production in the town of Altenburg, Thuringia. In 1995 archaeological excavations were carried out at 25/26 Pauritzer Strasse in Altenburg. They yielded a vast quantity of clay-pipe fragments. Analysis of these and the raw clay also found at the site showed an almost exact correlation between the two. The earliest documentary evidence of a clay-pipe maker in Altenburg in 1714 points to a certain Jacob Laspe, who, like his brother in Waldenburg, originated from Hannoversch Münden. Jacob's youngest son Johann Salomon produced clay pipes at 26 Pauritzer Gasse after 1773, which yielded the material mentioned above. Production continued until 1819, when Christian Friedrich Laspe, Johann Salomon's son, went bankrupt. The Laspe clay-pipe factory was, however, continued by Christian Friedrich, who moved away from Altenburg and started production in Fürstenhayn near Dresden. This factory closed down in the second half of the 19th century.
The material from the Altenburg site has been dated around 1800. Production made use of 46 different forms, a surprisingly large number. Altogether 20 different heel marks, again an unexpectedly large number, have been documented. The 10,000 stem fragments found yielded 319 pieces bearing hand-rolled bands with inscriptions. Altogether, 74% of the inscriptions relate to the Dresden pipemaker Prevor/Prevot, 18% are copies of Gouda pipes, and the remaining 8% show various names, including "J. C. LASPE" (Johann Christian Laspe) and "ALTENBURG".
Andreas Heege of the Archäologischen Dienst des Kantons Bern, Switzerland, gave an account of the history of tobacco in the Canton of Bern on the basis of archaeological finds and historical sources. In the 1560s tobacco leaves and seeds were introduced into Germany and Switzerland. Conrad Gessner, the man of universal learning from Zurich, received a picture of a tobacco plant from Benedict Aretius of Bern, which the latter had grown in his garden. This is the oldest known record of tobacco in Switzerland. A book by Jacob Ziegler printed in 1616 contains the first published mention of tobacco in Switzerland as well as reports on the medical effects of tobacco and of smoking. A mural from Bern dated 1630 shows a small bear wearing a beret decorated with feathers who is smoking.
The oldest finds of tobacco pipes in Bern demonstrate that about 1650 not only was tobacco imported from the Netherlands, but also tobacco and clay pipes from the Rhineland-Palatinate, i.e. the region around Mannheim, Heidelberg and Frankenthal. Diverse laws against the use of tobacco were passed in Bern between 1659 and 1677. As early as 1702 and again in 1705, the "Kleine Rat" (small council) of Bern, following the spirit of the age, discussed whether and where tobacco should be allowed to be grown, and in the following years tobacco growing became very popular. The repeal of the anti-tobacco laws and the consequent fall in the price of tobacco as a result of it being grown locally are reflected in archaeological finds. Altogether 3000 clay-pipe fragments from the 18th and early 19th centuries have so far been found in Bern. All of these are imports. Apparently at that time there was no local production of heeled pipes of white clay in Bern or in Switzerland. The sale of pipes from southern Germany appears to have been minimal. It was not until the late 18th century, and then primarily in the first half of the 19th century, that clay pipes from Westerwald were sold in Bern.
Eva Roth Heege of the Kantonsarchäologie in Zug, Switzerland, gave a presentation on 17th to 19th century clay pipes from the Canton of Zug. Finds of clay pipes in Zug demonstrate that they were used for tobacco smoking from the middle of the 17th century well into the 20th century. The earliest written record of smoking tobacco pipes dates from 1618. Since, as far as we know, there was no local production of clay pipes in Zug, we must assume that all clay pipes were imported via the large town markets ("Messen"). In the second half of the 17th century, clay pipes from the Palatine Electorate, from southern Germany and the Alsace area made up a significant proportion of the market. One can show that the clay-pipe finds in the Canton of Zug originated primarily from the Netherlands and, particularly in the 18th century, from Westerwald.
As far as 19th century pipes are concerned, there is a significant amount of the robust, red-fired stub-stemmed pipes, which were imported from Austria. So far seven stub-stemmed pipes of the Osman-Turkish type have been found; they all belong to the second half of the 19th century. The stub-stemmed pipes so far found in the Canton of Zug represent the largest collection of this type known from Switzerland. One particular type of stub-stemmed pipe, with a funnel-shaped bowl, should be commented on; it probably dates from the late 17th century. In contrast to the traditional method of clay-pipe production, this funnel-shaped pipe was not made in a mould. The distribution of this type of pipe suggests that it was made in the German-speaking part of Switzerland or in southern Germany.


Carsten Spindler, Braunschweig (Brunswick), reported on his experiments with tobacco growing in his own garden. Since he aimed at producing a mild cigarette tobacco, he concentrated primarily on Virginia varieties. However, a small number of plants of two Burley varieties, a stronger tobacco, were also grown in order to obtain the optimum blend. The whole process from sowing in the middle of March, care of the plants, harvesting, drying, curing, removal of the mid-rib by hand, and cutting the leaves was highly labour-intensive, but nevertheless produced a pleasant-tasting smoking tobacco, free of additives. In Germany the law allows tobacco to be grown and tobacco products to be made only on a scale to suit one's own personal requirements. This is normally reckoned as 100 tobacco plants, which is sufficient for several kilograms of tobacco.
Jens Lipsdorf, Cottbus, presented the results of archaeological excavations carried out in 2006 on the site of the former "Adler-Apotheke" (Eagle apothecary) in Forst near Cottbus in the Lausitz, and the associated finds of clay-pipe fragments. The Adler-Apotheke (1662) is the oldest apothecary so far documented in Forst. The small, insignificant pipe-stem fragments must be considered amongst the most important finds obtained during the excavations. They provide evidence for the extensive trade connections and markets, and confirm that the apothecaries possessed valuable privileges, allowing them to deal in tobacco and tobacco pipes and such items. These finds in Forst demonstrate that the Lausitz too was a market for Gouda pipes during the 18th century.
Martin Vyšohlid, Prague, gave an account of numerous finds of clay pipes from the Czech Republic. Thus, for the first time, it was possible to obtain an overview of the variety of shapes, origins, and ages of clay pipes from this region. The first record of tobacco in the Czech Republic was in 1592, and in 1622 we find the first mention of tobacco pipes. Extensive excavations were carried out in the grounds of a former barracks on the "Platz der Republik" on the boundary between the old and new parts of Prague. These excavations yielded the remains of buildings, as well as a variety of material dating from the 12th to 19th century. Amongst the finds were over 900 clay-pipe fragments. The marks and inscriptions on the pipe bowls show that the pipes are products of the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Bohemia, Hungary and Austria. Thirty of the fragments belong to an unusual two-piece type of pipe with barrel-shaped bowl and rouletted rim, some of which are glazed. A similar type has turned up in central and eastern Germany, but where they were made is not yet known. A notable but uncommon type has a small bowl decorated with a cupid; one of these pipes bears the mark "CK". The variety of other types, such as Turks-head pipes, glazed chibouks with no mark, shoe-shaped pipes, Vienna coffee-house pipes and finally porcelain pipes, reflect the whole spectrum of tobacco-smoking devices used in Prague over a span of 300 years. It should be noted that some types of pipe certainly have a definite connection with the different troops that occupied the barracks.
Benedict Stadler, Mannheim, presented the results of the recent excavations in the potters' quarter in Mannheim. Demolition of a house in quadrant H3.15 revealed several rubbish pits, latrines and an old workshop that may have been destroyed by fire in 1690. On the floor was a layer of compressed debris containing clay pipe fragments. A large lump of clay in the workshop area showed that a potter or pipemaker worked there. Amongst the 2000 finds made during the excavations were 20 different types of pipe, which promise to yield useful information for researching the history of pipemaking in Mannheim in the 17th century. Three pipemakers are documented as having worked at this site. The inscription "Mannheim 1684" appears on several pipes, and the name of a Mannheim pipemaker "Hans Henrich" also turns up, the first and only record of this man so far. It is possible that he was employed by the pipemaker Hans Güttmann, who is documented as having worked on this site. There is no evidence that any pipemakers occupied the site after 1689. The new archaeological material will considerably improve our knowledge of clay-pipe production in Mannheim, which, according to archaeological sources, began in 1650.
The excursion on 28th April was to the only remaining snuff mills in the Netherlands at Kralingen near Rotterdam. The Holland windmills "De Ster" and "De Lelie" at Kralingen were used in the production of snuff from 1803 to 1962, and occasionally to grind spices. The mills have now been conserved by private initiative, and since 1996 have functioned as a museum so that this historic trade can be appreciated by a wider public. A member of the mill society gave our party an account of the history of the mills and the methods used in snuff production. We then had a guided tour through the "De Lelie" mill.
Natascha Mehler and Ralf Kluttig-Altmann reported on the work and future plans of the German Society for Clay-Pipe Research. The latter said that he was prepared to continue as Chairman of the Society. Increased use is being made of the internet for conference booking, records of finds, and discussion. It was announced that all pipe finds from Thuringia are now available as material for a master's or doctor's dissertation. There should be more possibilities in the future to tackle regional topics of this kind.
The periodical KnasterKOPF, for which we have now found a new printer in Saxony, will have "Clay pipes as grave finds" as a theme for Volume 19, which will have about 150 pages. It should be issued early in 2008. It is planned to issue a new number of KnasterKOPF every two years. We are also planning to produce a new Index covering Volumes 11 to 20, for which we shall need a team of indexers. The theme for Volume 20 will be "Metal pipes". The forthcoming Meeting of the German Society for Clay-Pipe Research will be on 25-27 April 2008 in Forst near Cottbus, Germany.
A cordial vote of thanks was extended to Ruud Stam and to the staff of the MuseumgoudA for their hospitality and for the excellent organisation of the Meeting.

Hamburg, Oct. 2007

Dr. Rüdiger Articus
Marmsdorfer Weg 70, D - 21077 Hamburg
ruediger.articus [at] helmsmuseum.de



last update: 13/11/28
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