Saturday, 19 March 2016

Saturday.


Answer to Wednesday's mystery object. Crowbard is right in his answer that the object is a tobacco pipe tamper. The above photograph shows the position of use in a small, 17th century clay pipe. It is a good (but not tight) fit in the pipe.


This photo is the same but includes a 19th century 'churchwarden' clay pipe. The tamper could have been used in  this pipe, but it would be a loose fit.

I should perhaps have mentioned that the tamper is made of very pale (Georgian) brass. It dates, in my opinion, from  the eighteenth century, although in his book -'Paktong, the Chinese alloy in Europe' the author, my friend Keith Pinn, stresses the difficulty of dating these tiny artifacts made in paktong or pale brass, but states that they were mainly made from  the eighteenth century up to the mid nineteenth century.

7 comments:

Z said...

I missed this, would have known because I have an entire book on the subject -'300 Years of Tobacco Stoppers' - written by a friend of Russell's brother, so we felt obliged to buy it. Fascinating in its way, he has put together a wonderful collection. The book lives on the windowsill in the downstairs loo, if you ever feel like a browse.

Crowbard said...

Your original photos show the item as bright chromium finish (typical of the 1930s) against a flat-pink background. If the flame-red background of your current photo is the same piece of material then you appear to have adjusted the colour of the original picture obscuring the pale yellow brass that reveals its period. While I am sure this was down to the different lighting conditions prevailing at the time of the photos, I hope you will accept that it misrepresented the visual clues necessary for identification. (In other words your gullible little brother has been gulled yet again. Oh dear me.)

Mike and Ann said...

Thank you Z. I'll take you up on that offer next time we're your way. I didn't know of the book. Sounds interesting.

Crowbard said...

Looks like a rare book, it's mentioned on Amazon books but no-one seems to have one for sale.

Mike and Ann said...

Met the aforementioned Keith Pinn at an antique fair at Southwold. He told me that the pipe tamper is made of paktong, and then bought it from me.

Z said...

The author published it privately - and very expensively. I think we paid him the best part of £150 for it and he said it was still half its cost. I wouldn't be surprised if he still had some copies, in fact.

Mike and Ann said...

Hello Z. Ref the book, Crowbard (using his loaf) got in touch with the author, and purchased a copy, which he forwarded to me, so that I now have a copy (and a very complete book on the subject it is, too). Thanks for informing us of its existence. As you say, it's an expensive volume, but good, scholarly, text books are, I'm afraid, these days.