The History of Pipe Smoking and Some Extra Stuff
My first real pipe was a corncob pipe. It had a filter that had to be replaced every once in awhile, but I didn't like smoking out of it so I didn't need to replace it. I remember the tobacco that I smoked in it, one of my favorites, Borkum Riff. It was the cherry kind. It reminded me of cherry pie on a hot summer day. I gave up on pipe smoking for awhile because the corncob pipe burnt my tongue and left me feeling nauseous. Then I went on vacation and found this wonderful tobacco shop The Gatlinburlier. The guy sitting behind the counter who happened to be the manager talked with a deep charming voice. He just happened to know five languages, Arabic, Spanish, Greek, and I don't remember the others. We talked for a long while until I decided to buy a pipe. It was a Roma manufactured by Savinelli Pipe company. He showed me how to light the tobacco, pack it, relight it, and stir the tobacco once I was finished and shake the pipe so that it left a cloudy coating of tobacco along the bowl. We talked everything from religion to stress issues. I would later find out that he was a priest in the Orthodox Church. He is one of the most intelligent human beings I have ever met.
So that's the history behind my pipe smoking, now let's get to the history of the original pipe smoking. Most of it all started with the Native Americans. They would smoke during their different religious ceremonies and pass the peace pipe around. It was a long wooden work of art that no doubt made you want to fall over after you took a draw off of it. Not long after the Native Americans discovered tobacco, the Europeans took a liking to it and began smoking pipes. Smoking out of a pipe happens to be the oldest form of smoking, though smoking has been around since the cave man. Now of course they didn't have the shape of the smoking pipes that we have today, that didn't happen until about the 1500's, though some corncob pipes were used. Different kinds of wood were used to smoke out of though Briar wood is what most pipes today are made out of. Why? Because Briar is a great thick wood for smoking out of. It prevents the bowl from cracking if it is treated just right where is other kinds of wood would not be as durable and would not last as long. As long as you don't buy a Dr. Grabow from your local drug store you should be fine. Instead go to a good tobacco shop and purchase a pipe, LaFontaines in Huntington WV is a good one. Meerschaum became and still is a very popular method of pipe making. You can carve all different kinds of things out of Meerschaum, the only downside to it is that you have to hold the pipe from the stem while you are smoking so as not to tarnish the bowl with the oils from your fingers. Pipe stems used to be made of wood but now they are usually made out of a very thick and hard plastic. When the 20th century rolled around, people began to use the pipe for things that they shouldn't be used for, like psychoactive drugs. Crack Cocaine is sometimes smoked out of pipes though only a complete idiot would do such a thing. So pipe smoking has been around forever folks. The first pipes were as simple as a piece of wood with a hole in both ends.
I know you're wondering about the health effects of pipe smoking so let's address that. Most pipe smokers do not inhale the smoke (I don't) though there are some that do. You can find all natural pipe tobacco that contains no added chemicals unlike a single cigarette that contains up to 4,000 chemicals, not so with pipe tobacco. Some years back the surgeon general released a public notice that went exactly like this: “Death rates for current pipe smokers are little if at all higher than for nonsmokers even with men smoking 10 pipefuls per day and with men who had smoked pipes for more than thirty years.” Surgeon Generals Report Public Health Service, publication No. 1103, Page 112. Why on earth would the death rates be lower? Because, as said earlier, most pipe smokers do not inhale and pipe tobacco doesn't contain all the chemicals that cigarettes contain. It's way better for you. If you smoke cigarettes I would suggest you switch to a pipe you will thank me later. It's not near as bad for you as those disgusting cigarettes. I think one of the strongest arguments in favor of pipe smoking is that Albert Einstein himself smoked a pipe.
Now let's talk a little bit about how to smoke a pipe. First you're going to want some good quality tobacco. I recommend starting with some Borkum Riff. You can get it in several different flavors from Cherry Cavendish (my favorite kind of pipe tobacco) to whiskey. You're going to want to take some tobacco (little pieces) and put them at the bottom of the bowl. Keep putting little pieces of tobacco in the bowl until you get about a third of the way to the top, then start taking big pinches of tobacco and pinching them into the pipe. You don't want to put big pinches full starting out packing the pipe because you won't get enough air to keep the pipe going. Once you are done feeling the pipe strike a match (avoid butane lighters at all costs because they can ruin a pipe). Let the match burn a little while to get that sulfur off of there. When it's done take the match and move the match around the tobacco until all of it is lit. Draw smoke into your mouth (don't inhale it into your lungs) and taste the tobacco and then release the smoke into earths wonderful polluted atmosphere. The pipe will eventually go out so you'll want to tamp the tobacco down with a tamper tool which you can pick up at any tobacco shop. The tools are made in the Czech Republic. Tamp the tobacco down with the tool and relight the tobacco. Savor the tobacco and keep relighting it as often as necessary. When you're done you will want to take the rod part of the tool and stir the tobacco around. After that take your index finger and middle finger and shake the pipe up and down. You will notice a gray coating around the bowl of the pipe. This provides for a cooler smoke. After you're done with that shake the ashes out of your pipe and let it rest awhile.
My favorite picture of Albert Einstein.