Windham Life and Times August 26, 2022

The Lost Past-time of Pipe Smoking

According to Britannica, “The smoking of tobacco through a pipe is indigenous to the Americas and derives from the religious ceremonies of ancient priests in Mexico. Farther north, American Indians developed ceremonial pipes, the chief of these being the calumet, or pipe of peace. Such pipes had marble or red steatite (or pipestone) bowls and ash stems about 30 to 40 inches (75–100 cm) long and were decorated with hair and feathers. The practice of pipe smoking reached Europe through sailors who had encountered it in the New World.” Smoking pipes was very popular in America beginning in the colonial period well into the 1960’s. The smell of pipe tobacco is quite pleasant and smoking it was an acquired art.

     Both of my grandfathers smoked pipes at various times. I remember vividly, my grandfather Dinsmore, sitting in his old Windsor chair, in the double window of the kitchen, watching the world go by, as his wife prepared a meal; and on one special day, making the child that I was, a beautiful clay dog, deftly wrought with the help of a wooden match stick.

     Of course the pipe is making a bit of a comeback, however, it isn’t tobacco being smoked in them. It is doubtful that widespread social smoking will be seen as exciting and socially acceptable as it was in the smoker’s age when most everybody had a pack, or a pipe or a cigar. 

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