A Beginner's Guide to Pipes

A Beginner's Guide to Pipes

Pipe smoking goes beyond aesthetics, it’s truly a lifestyle. For those looking to delve into the world of pipes, we wanted to create a quick guide to help beginners center themselves in the space. Who better than to guide you in the world of pipes than a small business that creates pipes which breathe life back into the ritual of smoking? Discover everything you need to know about pipes, from their history to the most common types and how to best care for them.

The History of Pipes

 9000 BCE - The oldest known bone pipe in North America is discovered by archaeologists  in a Mummy Cave in the state of Wyoming and dates back to this period.
6000 BCE - Native South Americans begin to cultivate tobacco
1500 BCE - The Ebers medical papyrus includes prescriptions for inhalation therapy in Ancient Egypt, where remains of tobacco and hashish alongside pipes were found in tombs.  
1200 BCE - An ivory pipe is discovered in Kition, Cyprus alongside other ritual artifacts. 
600 BCE - Pipes begin to appear on the Sub-Saharan African continent


The earliest pipes appeared in materials such as bone, ivory and stone, which would eventually evolve into wood, metal, and glass pipes.

Types of Pipes

Although bone and stone pipes are still used in many indigenous communities, they are hard to find outside of artisan workshops and museums these days. The most common types of pipes you’ll find include: 

  • Glass Pipes
  • Wooden Pipes
  • Metal Pipes

Each type of pipe has its pros and cons. Generally, glass pipes are the most affordable, available in an array of shapes, sizes and colours at smoke shops. Newer manufacturers utilize “shatterproof” technology to make these hand pipes, bongs, and rigs more durable. Hand-carved or mass-produced wooden pipes are easy to find in smoke shops around the globe and are renowned for their taste and old-world quality. A more modern invention, metal pipes are always available in a variety of materials ranging from steel to chrome to brass. 

How to Clean a Pipe

Pipe smokers will agree that a clean pipe is essential to maximum smoking enjoyment. However, a pipe’s material will determine how you should clean it. Common cleaners used for pipes range from whiskey to vodka to isopropyl alcohol, although vinegar and baking soda make a great solution for wooden or ceramic pipes. For best results, it never hurts to speak to the manufacturer about their pipe cleaning recommendations. Once the pipe has soaked in the cleaner of your choice, it is best to do some detailing with a pipe cleaner before buffing it dry. Cleaning your pipe regularly will ensure that it maintains its proper function and taste, but that will vary according to the frequency of use.

Time to Enjoy

At Parkdale Brass, we are passionate about pipes and pipe smokers. We invite you to comment below with any questions about pipes you may have, and we’ll be happy to answer them! If you are searching for more information about cannabis or smoking accessories, be sure to visit our Instagram. Anyone looking for strain recommendations or cannabis education, check out the Parkdale Brass blog. While you’re there, be sure to visit our shop as our brass accessories have recently restocked! 

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