Little Gems Amongst the Smoke - Antique treen pipe stoppers
Antique treen pipe stoppers or tampers are real little gems. Often beautifully carved and small enough that they don't take up too much room if collecting them.
They were used to 'correct the draw' by pressing down the burning contents in the small round pipe bowl. Much better than getting a burnt finger!
Some of the antique treen pipe stoppers also had a pricker integrated into it, this was used to prevent the tobacco from caking in the pipe.
A variety of pipe stoppers can be found from carved legs and shoes to carved animals & skulls to name but a few.
As a general rule the 17th and early 18th century stoppers were approx 1/4 inch increasing to 1/2 inch by the 19th century as the pipe bowl got bigger.
They are not easy to find!
Pictured in this blog is a finely carved squirrel with open lantern and ball, the latter two features usually attribute it to Wales
The skull, these were made as "momento mori" showing the awareness to mortality and dust to dust which is what happens to both snuff and tobacco when burnt.
The third is a clenched fist, interestingly holding a pipe, the end of which would have been used as a pricker.