Archaeological material, derived from pipe kiln sites and associated dumps, has been recorded from collections throughout the British Isles. Contemporary descriptions of pipe kilns and processes surrounding their use have also been consulted. Using these, and the author's own experience as a practicing ceramicist, the archaeological material has been divided and catalogued according to function and location within the kiln structure. A terminology has been established to facilitate identification and recording of similar material as it becomes available. A recognisable pattern of evolution runs through the collected data with a small number of aberrant forms also recorded. A far greater body of evidence is required before the geographical or chronological significance of these atypical assemblages can be assessed with any certainty. Set out in the following pages, under the main category headings, are abstracts of the findings followed by indices to the main text.
Muffles appear to have been adopted from as early as 1612. The common form to the end of the seventeenth century was that of a circular vessel with external prop type buttresses. Atypical forms have been encountered at Gloucester, North Herefordshire, Shropshire, Cheshire and Merseyside suggesting little direct contact with the London-based Company. Although eighteenth century material is scarce it is clear that radical developments took place culminating in a developed type of greater height displaying both external buttresses and internal peripheral shelves. Muffles from the nineteenth century are remarkably consistent; tall, cylindrical, tapering wall from base to rim, combined step and cornice type peripheral shelving, open top with additional side access and bar type buttresses.
The earliest recorded furniture associated with tobacco pipe making (Type 1 saggars from Barnstaple dated by pipe typology 1610-30) was used in a kiln not specifically designed for pipe production. True pipe kiln furniture makes its first appearance in the last quarter of the seventeenth century. The furniture typologies were created to aid cataloguing and manipulation of accumulated data. Although paucity of data prevents firm conclusions some patterns have emerged which appear to have chronological significance. Non-stacking type 1 props clearly relate to muffles without peripheral shelves. They have been recorded from the period 1670-1710 and are unlikely to occur after 1725. Dishes occur in later nineteenth and twentieth century assemblages dated between 1870 and 1950. These appear to be associated with exaggerated stem length. A similar case exists for saggar types 2 and 3. Type 1 saggars reappear in the second half of the nineteenth century with the adoption of open flame kilns. Although stray fragments occur earlier they are invariably from unsafe contexts contaminated with waste from pottery production.
The evolution of furniture supplements is linked closely with that of furniture. With the increased quantity and diversity of furniture in the nineteenth century there is a corresponding increase in the quantity and diversity of supplements. As wads type 3 and 5 were used with stacking props, their occurrence at Rainford prior to 1760 and 1770 respectively provide useful earlier dates for these objects than is apparent from the tabulated furniture data.
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Last updated: Wed Oct 9 1996