Posts Tagged ‘tobacco’

Churchman’s Tortoiseshell Smoking Mixture

April 10, 2014
Tortoiseshell Smoking Mixture tin from the early years of the twentieth century

Tortoiseshell Smoking Mixture tin from the early years of the twentieth century

Tins like this are not uncommon. No doubt, once the contents had been used, the tin was useful for storing other things. It’s the sort of item you might find in a shed with assorted nuts and bolts in it.

But of course, the original content was tobacco and whilst we might ‘tut-tut’ these days it is from the past when life was different. If we go back 100 years, most men smoked and many would have had tins like this one.

It is not, of course, made of tortoiseshell. It is a ‘tin’ with tortoiseshell effect paint. This one is quite a large tin holding four ounces (¼lb) of the mixture.

The tin held a quarter of a pound of tobacco

The tin held a quarter of a pound of tobacco

The Churchman firm who made the tobacco were based in Ipswich and they had a long pedigree. Records suggest that the company began in 1790 and production of tobacco products continued until 1972.

We can’t find any mark on the tin to suggest who made it but we do think it dates from the early years of the 20th century.


A seventeenth century pipe

June 26, 2010

Sir Walter Raleigh is credited with introducing tobacco to Europe – probably around 1585. I wonder if Walter sleeps easy in his grave for tobacco has been such a huge killer. But of course, the dangers were not known then and the effects of the drug, nicotine, quickly became very popular and smoking became a fairly normal habit.

Less than a hundred years after tobacco first appeared in Britain, Edward Fox set up his pipe making factory in Trowbridge in Wiltshire. A couple of days ago, one of his pipes, made between about 1650 and 1700, made its way to Market Lavington Museum.

Edward Fox made pipe found at 13, High Street, Market Lavington

The pipe has quite a small bowl for tobacco – in the early days it was an expensive substance – and a reasonable length of stem. It is in remarkably good condition.

The base of the pipe has the name Edward Fox set in it – easier to read on this greatly enlarged photo than actually on the pipe.

Base of Edward Fox pipe at Market Lavington Museum

A number of pipes by Edward Fox have survived. A search on the Wiltshire Treasures web site reveals several pieces of pipe at different Wiltshire museum.

Our new arrival was found in a wall at number 13 High Street in Market Lavington. Perhaps it was lost by a builder, or even put there as a luck token. Being completely lost, probably explains its good condition.

13 High Street is next to the Co-op shop. For many years it was the home of the Burgess family who had photographic studios there. Before that there had been butchers and bakers on the premises, but we have no idea of the people who might have been there when the pipe was walled up.

This blog will feature more items from number 13 High Street in the near future.