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Churchwarden pipes are those that have extra-long stems, typically between 12 and 18 inches in length. The name derives from the fact that these pipes were often seen in the hands of churchwardens in England during the Victorian era. The churchwarden was responsible for making sure that the church was in good repair and for keeping order during services. He was also responsible for looking after the pipe smokers in the congregation!
Churchwarden pipes were originally designed for outdoor smoking, as the long stem kept the bowl of the pipe further away from the smoker’s face, making it easier to enjoy a pipe while walking or riding horseback. The extra-long stem also helped to keep the bowl of the pipe cooler, as the stem acted as a sort of chimney, drawing the heat away from the bowl.
Today, churchwarden pipes are still popular with those who enjoy outdoor smoking, but they are also sought after by collectors and those who appreciate the elegant lines of a long-stemmed pipe. Churchwarden pipes are usually made of briar, the same material used for most other types of pipes, but they can also be made of meerschaum, clay, or even corn cob.
If you are looking for a churchwarden pipe, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, because of the long stem, churchwarden pipes can be more difficult to clean than shorter-stemmed pipes. It is important to choose a churchwarden pipe with a detachable stem, so that you can easily clean the bowl and stem separately. Second, the long stem of a churchwarden pipe can be fragile, so it is important to handle your pipe with care.
If you are looking for an elegant pipe to add to your collection, or if you simply enjoy the experience of smoking a pipe with a long stem, a churchwarden pipe may be the perfect choice for you.
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