Pipe Shapes

  • Thabo Pienaar

When starting to smoke a pipe, you just buy a pipe that you like, tobacco, a lighter and off you go. Its only later that one realises that there is a whole bunch of different recognised pipe shapes and names (all with its own story of course). And then there is the free-hand or designer pipes that might resemble some shapes, but are mainly open to the imagination of the creator. These are the well-known and established pipe shapes.

AcornAcorn

Acorn

The acorn shape resembles … well, an acorn. The bowl has a conical shape, thicker at the top, tapered down to the bottom of the bowl. Stems can be either be bent or straight.
AppleApple

Apple

The apple shape has a rounded bowl and resembles an apple; similar to a billiard but more rounded. They come in both tapered and saddle stem versions. THis shape also comes in a bent form.
AuthorAuthor

Author

This pipe shape is very comfortable in the hand. It has a large tobacco chamber. It normally has thick bowl walls which keep the pipe cool. An easy clencher.
BilliardBilliard

Billiard

The Billiard is the probably the most popular shape. The bowl is cylindrical and the top of the edge is softly rounded off with parallel sides. The stem is often straight with a round diameter. This shape also comes in a bent form.
BlowfishBlowfish

Blowfish

The Blowfish resembles blown-up ball like a blow fish. Normally a fullish bent. The quality of the briar can make a big difference in the appealing of the pipe – the better the briar and grain, the more beautiful it presents.
BrandyBrandy

Brandy

A popular style among Danish carvers. The bowl shape resembles a brandy glass. Very pleasant to hold in the hand.
BulldogBulldog

Bulldog

The bowl often has a diamond shank. Many bulldogs are a little more subtle, which then makes them very close to the Rhodesian. These two are often confused. Can have both taper or saddle stems.
CalabashCalabash

Calabash

The Calabash was made popular by Sherlock Holmes although he actually preferred the churchwarden. Its origins are from the Calabash pipe, which is made from the hard shell of an African gourd. The top of the bowl is often dome- shaped.
CanadianCanadian

Canadian

The Canadian is a long- shanked Billiard. The longish stem causes a cool smoke.
CherrywoodCherrywood

Cherrywood

The Cherry-wood is not made from cherry wood, but is the name of this shape. It is possible that the name refers to the shape once being popular for inexpensive “basket” pipes made from cherry instead of briar. This shape is similar to the poker – kind of a bent Poker. Like the Poker, this pipe can stand on its own.
ChurchwardenChurchwarden

Churchwarden

The Churchwarden or presbyter is a pipe shape originated from Queen Elisabeth I of England and the church of England. The churchwarden is identified by it’s long stem, bent or straight.
DublinDublin

Dublin

The Dublin is similar to the Billiard, but with a tapered bowl. Dublins can be bent and straight. The tapered bore of the tobacco chamber presents a different smoking characteristics – the flavours are concentrating in the last half of the smoke.
EggEgg

Egg

This pipe is shaped like an egg. Although it is available in a straight version, it is most often seen as a bent. Sits easy and pleasant in the hand.
HornHorn

Horn

Similar to the Zulu; This shape is elegant and closely resembles a horn. The Zulu has a more pronounced bowl / shank.
LiverpoolLiverpool

Liverpool

The Liverpool is similar to the Canadian and only differs by its round shank and shortish stem.
LovatLovat

Lovat

Similar to the Canadian and Billiard. Named after the Lovat Family from England in the 19th century. The Lovat is always fitted with a short saddle stem.
LumbermanLumberman

Lumberman

Another family member of the Canadian. Like the Liverpool, it only really differs in the shape of the shank – the Lumberman being oval.
Oom PaulOom Paul

Oom Paul

This shape own its name from the President of the Transvaal Republic, fighting the English in the Anglo-Boer War between 1899 – 1902/3 (see video here). Its a full bend pipe to such an extent that the tobacco can often be seen. The bowl can be different shapes (apple, billiard) but the bend must be as shown in the picture. Also called Hungarian, especially amongst the English smokers.
PokerPoker

Poker

The Poker pipe is a straight pipe with a cylindrical and flat- bottomed bowl so that pipe will stand on it’s own.
PotPot

Pot

Similar to the Billiard, but with a more “pot-like” bowl. The pot-bowl can be of varies sizes.
PrincePrince

Prince

Named after the Prince of Wales, Prince Albert. First appeared in the 1920s. It has a squat, rounded bowl with a long, thin, slightly bent stem.
RhodesianRhodesian

Rhodesian

Similar to bulldog but less diamond shaped bowl. Some say any bent Bulldog is a Rhodesian.
VolcanoVolcano

Volcano

The Volcano shape has a tapered bowl and a rounded base. Usually bent because of the tapered bowl.
ZuluZulu

Zulu

The Zulu shape is an elegant pipe with its origins from the horn pipes made by the early Zulus (see this video). The bowl leans forward in relation to the billiards, but not so much like the horn. Comfortable clencher. Popular style.