The Origins of the Metal Smoking Pipe

The Origins of the Metal Smoking Pipe

Pipes date back to 500 BC and have been used by people throughout the ages to relax and indulge in quiet, thoughtful moments. While the history of wooden pipes is well-documented, many might wonder about the origins of the metal smoking pipe. Wood, clay and porcelain pipes often get all the attention, and it seems that metal smoking pipes have been forgotten by some historians. As a more modern smoking pipe, it may have a shorter history than some of its counterparts, but certainly not any less exciting. Read on to learn more about the origins of the metal smoking pipe, from its beginnings to modern metal pipes.

Traces of Metal Smoking Pipes in History 

The historical Chinese Paktong water pipe has been used since the Qing dynasty (1636-1912).⁠ Paktong pipes were available in metal alloy and decorated with calligraphy, although this version was more common with merchants and nobility. These pipes also had a compartment with a lid for storing tobacco.⁠ To the east, in India, holy men began smoking hash with chillums in the 18th century. Even though the original pipes used clay, metal chillums began to be used by more modern generations as they were easier to cleanse impurities from.

A Need for A Dryer Smoke

Between the 18th and early 20th centuries, pipe smoking exploded, and nearly everyone was smoking, including some very powerful individuals! Nonetheless, for some smokers, the wooden pipe wasn’t ideal. As a result, in 1936, an American engineer named Kenly Buggy founded Falcon Pipe and began selling pipes with an aluminum stem and a briar bowl. This new pipe trapped moisture, cooled the smoke before it reached the mouth and made cleaning more practical for pipe smokers. Other modern metal pipe producers of the same era included Eastman Pipe, Plumb, Sweetheart and Bryson. 

Metal Smoking Pipes Today

With the industrialization of the world, metal became a more readily available material, leading many pipe makers to try their hand at metal smoking pipes. Since the turn of the 20th century, metal pipes and their design have evolved immensely. Many of these pipes still offer a nod to their predecessors and have become a true collector’s item. Early pipes first appeared in metal alloys and aluminum, although today their materials range from steel to our beloved brass. 

Owning and Maintaining a Metal Smoking Pipe

Of course, to keep your metal pipe in working condition, it’s crucial to care for it properly. When cleaning a metal smoking pipe, you should first soak it in alcohol for at least 24 hours to loosen residue from the inside of the pipe, restoring its natural flavour and function. Next, you’ll need to go in and remove any stuck-on grime by hand with a pipe cleaner or brush. If there is still grime inside the pipe after that, it’s best to soak it again. After soaking and scrubbing the pipe, you’ll want to dry and buff the pipe dry with a cloth to help restore its shine.  

Time to Enjoy

Although metal pipes are modern creations, they have their roots in ancient pipe smoking rituals. Not to mention, they are more likely to stand the test of time than other pipes, proudly keeping their place in history. If you are searching for more pipe history and information, visit our Instagram. Anyone looking for tips on selecting smoking accessories or cannabis strain recommendations, check out the Parkdale Brass blog. While you’re there, be sure to visit our shop as our brass accessories have just been restocked!



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