Tobacco pipes have been made in almost every country in the world in some fashion or another. In some cultures, pipes were made in a rudimentary style for a very practical purpose of smoking particular blends of smoking material for ceremony or pleasure. The pipes were utilitarian and not a lot of thought or effort was put into making them special works of art that could be exported and sold for a nice profit.
Other countries, such as Italy, France, Denmark, Germany, Ireland and even the United States began making pipes that would stand the test of time and be valued for the quality that the brand name implied as well as the pleasure they brought to the smoker. There are brand names that are synonymous with the countries they are crafted in and recognized by devoted pipe smokers the world over. Savinelli, Rossi and Dante all bring to mind the Italian countryside and beautiful briar from the white heath bush that is native to southern Italy. Delacour, Genod and Courrieu all say France as much as crepes and fine cooking.
While it’s true that different countries have brands of pipes that they are well associated with, there are many pipes on the market today that it might be difficult for even a well-seasoned smoker and collector to know where they are from. Some older pipes may have been modified at some point in their lives making them unrecognizable, at least definitively. They may have familiar characteristics of a particular brand and maker but may also have some oddity that makes it difficult to pin down to one maker for certain.
If you are new to the pleasures of smoking a pipe, you may wonder which kind you should get for your first one. There are some things you can do before you make your first purchase if you want to be assured that you will find that suits your taste and style. Try going to trade and tobacco shows where you may be able to sample different tobaccos and pipes from many different sources. This is a good way to try out a lot of things that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to do on your own. Talk to experienced pipe smokers and learn how they got started, what pipes they favor and why. You can learn a lot from an enthusiastic smoker that loves to share his knowledge. Armed with a little research and some samples of what is available, you should be able to choose a pipe from anywhere in the world to enjoy for the first time.