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This blog is a behind the scenes look at the Roman Baths in Bath. We hope you enjoy reading our stories about life surrounding the Roman Baths.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Speed Dating with Clay Pipes

Clay Pipe: So what do you spend most of your time doing?

Me: Um. I like hanging out at museums. You?

CP: I like smoking.

Me: Really? Do you smoke a lot?

CP: Yeah. All the time. Well, actually just once. Once is all you need really. Most clay pipes just do it once.

Me: Oh I see...

Just once? Could be.

Clay pipes were cheap and mass produced. People bought them, used them a threw them away.

The shape of the bowls and stems changed a bit over the years making it possible to date them. If you’re lucky you’ll find a maker’s mark on the stem or foot which will make your life infinitely easier. If you have a maker’s mark you just need to look up when that producer was in business.

However, if you’ve just got unmarked stems and bowls you’re better off using this chart. It won’t give you precise dates (it takes an expert for that) but it will help you narrow it down.


Try your hand at dating the pipes in the picture and post your answers in the comments.


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