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11.1.8 Miscellany

Amongst the assortment of miscellaneous items recorded, one group is worthy of further comment. This group is made up of the various trimmings arising from the manufacture of tobacco pipes. This material has the potential to provide information concerning moulds and techniques surrounding their use. Unlike the finished product an untrimmed pipe reflects exactly the mould from which it came. Evidence of significant details can be removed by the process of trimming. One major difference between moulds in the English tradition and moulds in the Dutch tradition, from the late eighteenth century onward, is in the stopper action and bowl mouth trimming facility. English moulds of this period have a knife slot whilst those from Holland generally do not. Of the trimming rings illustrated in Figures 41n & o, 42a-f and 44h are typical of those formed within the confines of a knife slot. Although those from Brentford (Figure 42g-o) appear to reflect some other arrangement there is as yet insufficient data upon which to base an informed judgement. Through further study of these objects and the collection of comparative Dutch material it will in the future become possible to establish further details of early moulds. Small discs of clay, trimmed from the heels of seventeenth century pipes, with mould seam across one surface and knife marks on the obverse, have been recovered from Trowbridge (Figure 44e). These may reflect modification of pipe form as tastes changed or possibly over exuberant trimming. From Stamford stem end trimmings have been recorded compressed with other spew to form furniture. These record a taper beyond the point of the intended mouthpiece which may have served as a reservoir for surplus clay as the mould was compressed. An alternative suggestion is that the mould was altered by over-cutting to produce a shaped mouthpiece and at the same time the stem being shortened. Very small ruffled scraped clay fragments (Figures 44f & 45d) have been recorded from a number of sites. These have now been identified, by the process of replication in the workshop, as stem seam trimmings. It is possible that further work might highlight a form difference between scrapings produced by a straight edge and those produced with the notched blade known to have been used by some makers. Much of this material owes its survival to chance. In some instances trimmings have been deliberately compressed into bricks bats or other kiln furnishings. Some have been accidentally picked up from the work surface by other soft clay objects and remain embedded preserved by firing. In the case of the Brentford rings these appear to have been utilised deliberately in the kiln possibly as test pieces. Although the chance element ensures a paucity of such material its potential should not be overlooked as a possible source of detail concerning moulds, tools and trimming techniques.


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