Oom Paul Pipe Shape

  • Thabo Pienaar

I was intrigued this week by the origins of the Oom Paul pipe shape, named after a South African "Boere" Republic President, Paul Kruger during the late 1880's and early 1900's. He was a prominent figure in the Anglo-Boer War between 1899 and 1903/4.

Pictures and a statute of Paul Kruger shows him smoking a hugely bent pipe, also known as the Hungarian. This shape then gradually became known as the Oom Paul pipe shape.

The Man

Interesting though was 3 unflattering posts and a YouTube video PaulKrugerabout Paul Kruger - all from non-South Africans though - calling him a bad racist person supporting slavery and apartheid (side note: apartheid was only introduced abt. 40 years later). Without starting World War III, suffice to conclude that: any person in history, especially leaders, can't be judged without taking the context and the world they operated in, into consideration. If Paul Kruger was such a bad person in 1899 because of accusation of slavery and racism, and therefore one should not name the pipe shape after him, then nothing should be named after George Washington or Jefferson who had slaves themselves. And in the same token, King Solomon and his 700 wives, or King David, or the American people who took Kenyans into slavery to North America. Paul Kruger was a strong and popular leader AT THE TIME and fought vigorously against English colonialism. One might even conclude that he was on the brink of winning that war, was it not for the English who captured the women and children into concentration camps and burnt down the farms - the very support system of the boers. So, let history be history....

Oom Paul pipe shape

Back to the Oom Paul pipe shape: its the only full-bent (the end of savoompthe stem is almost evenly lined up with the top of the bowl) pipe available in the pipe-smoking world. The PipeGuys have this good summarised description of its origin and characteristics.

Oom Paul pipes don’t credit their uniqueness to shape alone, but rather the marriage of shape, size, and bend. The bowl of an Oom paul is shaped like a large Billiard with a generously sized tobacco chamber. Oom Paul pipes are always fully bent, having a shank about the same diameter as the bowl, and are often made as “sitters.” Certainly one of the more interesting shape names of the bunch, you can likely guess that it isn’t without a story. Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger, better known as Paul Kruger and affectionately known as Uncle Paul (Afrikaans: "Oom Paul") was State President of the South African Republic. Uncle Paul was often seen in public and photographs with his favorite pipe, a Hungarian, descending from his mouth. Slowly becoming synonymous with the man after which it is now named, many pipe manufacturers began applying the President’s nickname to his choice pipe shape, with many pipe makers also following suit. Over time, the name “Hungarian” faded away, and today it is widely known as the “Oom Paul”. This pipe, due to its size, seems like it was made to be smoked while relaxed and reclining, its bowl brimming with your favorite nightcap. While it certainly won’t disappoint in that capacity, the Oom Paul, because of its abruptly bent stem and low slung weight, is surprisingly quite comfortable held freely in the mouth, as Uncle Paul often demonstrated. The Oom Paul is readily available smooth, sandblasted, or rusticated, and we can’t help but feel that it would make one heck of a grandfather to grandson heirloom.

Its such an eccentric pipe shape that its either loved or hated by pipe smokers. Those who love oom paulthem can apply for membership to the Oom Paul Society. I have two of them; a GBD and a Savinelli and both smoke awesome. I find them very comfortable and I like the "feeling" of sitting back and smoking an Oom Paul. Its shape also makes clenching very easy as it naturally hangs from your mouth. You can see them on my YouTube channel here. http://youtu.be/AkqWjw6ql_c   Lets hear from you pipers on the Oom Paul pipe shape ..... Too watch my video on the shape, click HERE.

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References:

  1. SA History online
  2. Website on the Anglo-Boer War
  3. Wikipedia
  4. TobaccoPipes

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