The manufacture of clay pipes for smoking began in Britain about 1558, a few years after the introduction of tobacco from America.
The earliest forms of pipe were made from kaolin clay (white ball clay) and it is likely their form was adapted from those used by the American Indians.
Then in 1827, agate was discovered in Uruguay (in a region that is now part of Brazil), and thereafter (beginning around 1834) this agate was exported to Idar-Oberstein.
The agate marble market thrived after 1860 and continued until the onset of World War I.
The English pipe-making industry grew quickly to satisfy the growing demand of people, including women and children, to take up the art of “tobacco drinking” as it was then called.
The bowl’s form gradually evolved by increasing in size over the centuries as the price of tobacco declined as well as changing shape.Sometimes the most interesting things we find in the field are not objects, but architectural or landscape features.During my first year at Monticello I worked on the North Dependency Project which, among other things, uncovered the original, buried surface of the mountaintop.This photo includes only a small part of our excavations yet even here the original gradual slope of the mountain is visible.In some areas, Jefferson’s slaves used five feet or more of clay fill to make the mountain level.For example, the earliest English pipes had a stem bore diameter around 9/64” (3.6mm approx) decreasing steadily to around 4/64” (1.6 approx) towards the end of the 18th century.