Readers’ gift set for the pipe smoker : Pipes and Tobaccos Magazine

Readers’ gift set for the pipe smoker

by Eugene Umberger

Pipe smokers are familiar with what is often called a pipe gift set, usually intended as a starter set for the beginner. Normally composed of a pipe, tobacco, pipe tool, pipe cleaners and matches or lighter, it might also include a tobacco pouch, wind screen or even a cork knocker for an ashtray. An early 20th century book publisher, however, offered a distinctive variation on or perhaps a precursor to such gift sets.

readersIn 1907, Dodge Publishing Company published Charles Welsh’s The Fragrant Weed: Some of the Good Things Which Have Been Said or Sung About Tobacco. Just as the early 20th century H.M. Caldwell Co. tobacco books (P&T, Summer 2012) provided an excellent survey in prose, verse and song of all the forms in which tobacco has been enjoyed over the centuries, so too does this single volume. A couple of examples will suffice to give the flavor of the book. The following poem will assuredly hit home with those pipe smokers whose first experience with the pipe left something to be desired:




                                    O! INDIAN weed, Tobacco hight

(But stay! first let me get a light,)

The choicest gift the world e’er saw—

(Confound this pipe! why don’t it draw?)


Thou art of plants the noblest gem,

(There’s something sticking in the stem,)

Thy healing properties none doubt;

(That knitting-needle’s got it out.)


Virginian leaf! thou wert the cause

Of Raleigh’s genius (now it draws),

Thou didst inspire his tuneful song,

(Dear me! this Bird’s Eye’s very strong.)


Tobacco! whilst I thee adore,

(I don’t think I shall smoke much more,)

With awe, almost, thy praise I sing.

(This giddiness is not the thing.)


Of human pleasures thou the crown!

(I shall be better lying down),

Oh! anodyne of mental pain.

(You don’t catch me at this again!)

“Judy.” London.

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Category: Feature Article, Spring 2013

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