Giant Clay Tobacco Pipes

One of the questions I am most frequently asked is about several types of "larger than normal" clay pipes that come to light. These are suprisingly common in plain white clay although some painted versions exist. Bowl sizes tend to be around 3 inches high and 2 inches diameter with stems of about 5 inches long.

They are called "Cadger" "Advertique" or "Novelty" pipes and were mainly made in England, France, Germany and Holland by a number of successful makers.
Often these large pipes would be used as a display piece in the shop window of merchants selling tobacco related products. They were also bought and used by various smoking social clubs who would pass the pipe around the group (use in initiation cermonies by some groups is also true). Others were bought by collectors or as novelty items to impress smoking companions, and others given as gifts at weddings.

On the European continent, particularly France, some very grand exhibition pipes were produced (over 5 inches high) often portraying people. Generally these are very rare and usually only found in museums or private collections. They are considered works of art and are not covered in the list below. Also to note; many of the common figural clay pipes (including: Jacob, Turks head, etc.) produced by French makers were a lot larger than an average sized pipe although the smoking chamber inside was within normal limits. These have also not been included here.


The "crystal palace" exhibition centre was opened at Hyde Park in London in 1851. This event followed the trend of other European exhibitions of the century and was created mainly to show the industrial, military and economic prosperity of the British Empire in the reign of Queen Victoria. The huge building was created using a combination of architectural ironwork and glass.
Many other countries from around the world were invited to take part and over 13,000 exhibits were displayed with more than 6,200,000 visitors attending. When the exhibition was over the entire palace was taken down and rebuilt in Sydenham, South London where the area itself was named Crystal Palace. This was opened by Queen Victoria in 1854 and remained a major world exhibition centre until it was destroyed by fire in 1936. The name crystal palace is well known in modern times as a main centre for sport, a connection which was greatly influenced by activities connected with the palace in the 19th century here.

Several versions of pipe exist and the two most common types appear to be by Crop of London and W.Blake of London. Some are unmarked. It is likely that Crop was the first to make the large pipe for the 1862 exhibition and other makers followed the idea afterwards.

The Charles Crop version 152613 (36 Great James St, London) was registered on 17th June 1862 and this pipe is very well moulded to a very high standard with pictures of a steam train and steam ship below the main building subject that wraps completely around the pipe bowl. The building shows a huge dome on the top. The reg mark appears in a diamond cartouche on the side of the stem.

The version by William Thomas Blake of London again features the main building but without the dome.
Other pipes with an identical shaped bowl (which likely indicate the same pipe producer or certainly mould maker) have the same depiction but with much deeper moulding.
Popular pipe designs often had more than one mould made so patterns vary slightly; also, worn moulds would be re-engraved creating a more protruding moulding on the finished pipe.


Rd No 269622
The first registration of this pipe was by Thomas Holland of Manchester on 13th January 1873. and this version carries the diamond mark. Research (by P. Hammond) indicates that the firm continued to make this pipe into the 20th century by which time the reg. mark was no longer readable. Later still, the pipe was made from a mould which produced a noticable raised portion along the stem where the name was blanked out. Some at this time were painted after firing with black paint, the lips and eyes in red and white for effect.
The common theme of the negro head was often used on pipes from the middle of the 19th century as there was a tobacco brand of that name.


A beautifully moulded character pipe of Santa Claus by Charles Crop of London. Charles Crop began pipe making in the 1840's and his Sons continued after 1870 until 1924. Plain versions exist but often the pipe is decorated with red and green glazes around the head which are decorated with holly and berries. The beard is very long and the stem often gracefully curved with C.Crop/London moulded on the sides.


A maker has not been attributed to this pipe.
This version has a very simple but cheerful portrait of Santa with large eyes and a short stumpy beard. Holly leaves and berries run around the head. While the bowl is rather chunky, it has a thin stem marked "A Merry Christmas" "And a Happy New Year". The inside of the bowl has a squared off form at the base (behind the beard) which ensured that the clay was not too thick when being moulded otherwise trapped air pockets would explode in the firing process.
A copy of this pipe has been produced in small numbers by Dawnmist Studio, Exeter, England 2002. Some are decorated with coloured glazes. All are marked on the base of the bowl.


Rd No241693
Registered on 6th October 1894 by Samuel McLardy of 67 Shudehill, Manchester. This firm is recorded as working 1869-1930.
A later plain version exists by the Holland firm of Manchester. In some cases moulds were bought or passed on to pipe makers who continued to use them years after the originals were made.


Fred Archer, the famous jockey, won races for 13 consecutive years between 1874 to 1886. The horse Donovon is shown on one version of this pipe. After the death of his wife in 1884 during childbirth, he remained inconsolable pushing his body into severe wasting to maintain his riding weight. In 1886 at the age of 29 he shot himself at his home Falmouth House.
On one example the writing is stamped into the clay in large letters on the sides of the bowl and while the jockey looks like Fred Archer the horse name varies.
A maker has not been attributed to this pipe.


By W.White & Sons 1805-1955
This was a large and successful firm who worked in Glasgow, Scotland. They made millions of pipes and exported all over the world.
Other large similar plain pipes have been noted, not always with attributed makers.


Made by John Pollock & Co of Manchester.
This firm was founded in 1879 and was still operating until 1994 when Gordon Pollock (the Grandson of John) retired and sold the business to Wilsons & Co of Sharrow, Sheffield.
The pipe is titled No 217 Show Pipe although the stem is marked 200.


Several versions of this pipe have been recorded the most notable being by the firm of Gambier of Paris. This pipe is shown in the reproduced 1868 Gambier catalogue as number 939 Permission de dix heures (Permission for 10 hours).
The pipe is highly decorated with floral scrolls and wheat both on the bowl and the curving stem. Two figures adorn the front which show a man and a woman together. Often the pipe will be decorated with coloured glazes (white green and blue mainly although others are used). The pipe appears to have been moulded in three parts in order to pass the join lines away from the finely moulded couple on the front.
These pipes have been noted as being given as gifts at weddings.
Another version is marked Germany on the stem. No English versions have been recorded. These pipes are likely to have been produced commonly until the 1930 period.

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