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Pipe Shapes: Dublin

Posted by Joe S. Kimbrough II on 11/17/2020

Dublin, a historical city and pipe shape.

Talking pipe shapes is among the quickest ways to make friends [and enemies] in a pipe shop. Experienced collectors have their obviously better favorites. While newcomers wrestle with the nuances. After five years in a tobacco shop, I confess: the Canadian family still eludes me.

Still, tobacco pipe shapes are a fun conversation around here. Each shape has some particular details with a few conditions. Historical theories abound for each bend of the stem; though, the legends often sound more interesting. Like the tobaccos smoked in them, the blending of pipe history with its lore produces the best outcome.

In this post, let's take a look at the Dublin smoking pipe shape. One of my favorite shapes is the half-bent Dublin. The graceful lines with a bent stem are simply the image of a pipe, in my mind.

Now, the standard Dublin smoking pipe features one characteristic: a conical bowl. Mostly, this tobacco pipe shape gives a "V" look to the bowl. The degree of “V” depends on the maker. The bowl’s height should equal the shank’s length for the right proportions. [] However, this requirement appears a more contemporary introduction. As for general consensus, straight or bent stems does not change the category.

Unless, you're looking for a Zulu. The Zulu is a very specific variation on the Dublin smoking pipe. Zulu integrates a very slight bend with the conical bowl. If a Dublin tobacco pipe has less than a quarter bend, you have a Zulu.

Also, the Dublin claims a couple advantages. First, thicker cuts of tobacco load easier in a Dublin smoking pipe. The bowl's shape allows more air flow with flakes or ready-rubs. Plus, the pipe tobacco's flavor intensifies down the bowl. [] As a result, classic tobacco blends smoke uniquely in a Dublin tobacco pipe. Any disadvantage arises from thin walls around the tobacco chamber.

The Dublin tobacco pipe stretches all the way to clay pipes. Clay pipes were the first tobacco pipes in Europe. These pipe shapes are found scattered across Europe plus the remnants of the Jamestown colony. Perhaps, the popularity of the Dublin smoking pipe in the public houses explains the lack of concern for length. These "pub-pipes" started as extra-long pipes, which were broken after every smoke for the next person. 

As for the name of the shape, intrigue abounds. The earliest mention [from my research] comes from 1890 by a Scottish clay pipe company. However, Peterson provides a legend: their bestselling pipe carries the name of their hometown. I could find no exact answer for the motivation behind the name, so your guess is as good as mine.

Whatever the origins of the name, Dublin tobacco pipes existed since the earliest days of pipe smoking. Their conical bowls distinguish the Dublin from other pipe shapes. You should grab a Dublin smoking pipe, particularly if you like flake tobaccos.

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