Stub-Stemmed Pipes

South pipe posterStanley South chart of Aust pipes
excavated at Bethabara in 1960s.

pipes, molds, pinsPipes and sagger pins excavated by Old Salem Director of Archaeology Michael O. Hartley at the Schaffner-Krause Pottery in Salem in the 2000s. The pipe mold, at center, was given to the Wachovia Historical Society by the last Moravian Master Potter, Daniel Krause, ca. 1900.

John Henry Leinbach with pipeA stubbed-stem pipe, ca. 1870, in the hand of John Henry Leinbach, a Salem resident, shoemaker, and farmer. Note the reed attached to ceramic pipe for smoking.

“Br. Aust dug clay and made pottery, for which the people were eager; he also began to make clay pipes.”


From this December 1, 1755 “Wachovia Diary” entry included in The Moravian Records in North Carolina, volume 1 (1922), we know that the “Moravian tobacco pipe” was first made on that day in Bethabara by Master Potter Gottfried Aust. The stub-stemmed earthenware pipe would become a staple product of Moravian potteries for the next 150 years.

Stanley South’s excavation at Bethabara in the 1960s revealed examples of Aust’s clay pipes from his kiln waster dump and stimulated great interest in stub-stem tobacco pipes in the “rococo” form and other forms that he identified (see chart at left).

Because of their ubiquity, for a period of time any example of stub-stemmed pipes found in excavations of Colonial sites were identified as not only Moravian in origin but also a product of Aust’s, or his successor Rudolph Crist, manufacture or influence. However, pipes of the styles made by Aust and Crist, as well as other versions of the stub-stem pipe, were made in Salem and Wachovia until ca. 1900. Many of the various mold forms used by Moravian potters were also used by other potters here and in Europe.

Nevertheless, the manufacture of the Moravian stub-stemmed pipes in Wachovia and Salem began quite early and became a well known product across the Eastern Seaboard, as they were produced in the thousands and sent to other cities and coastal ports by the barrel load.

Excavations on the Schaffner-Krause Pottery in Old Salem have recovered numbers of examples of the pipes that were made in the 19th century.

[view/download PDF – “Salem clay pipes have quite a reputation”]