Clay tobacco pipes have become the ‘type fossil’ of the post-Medieval period as they have been so commonly found. These pipes were used by so frequently and across such a period of time that their stylistic variations make them relatively easy to date. In fact, as a result clay pipes have become the most useful tool for dating archaeological deposits post the 16th century AD. These pipes came in varying degrees of decoration, some with very ornate scenes depicted on the bowl, and were sometimes marked with initials identifying which workshop they were made in.
The production of pipes went through many stages to acquire the desired shapes. First, the clay was rolled out into cylindrical stems and a block of clay was added to the top in the rolling rooms. They were then taken to the moulding room where skilled workers would place a wire through the centre to create the hole in the stem. The pipes were then placed in metal moulds and an iron cone would be pressed into the top to form the bowls. Afterwards, the pipes were taken to another room, in which they were smoothened down and possibly decorate. Each pipe would be left to dry for at least 3 days to make sure all the moisture had disappeared from the clay. The pipes were then ready to be fired in the kiln.