“He is puffing like a train engine” is a popular expression used to describe a smoker, which was born in the context of the generalization of the “iron roads” and of the “fire spiting machines” of the second half of the 19th century. The great technical achievements of the first half of the 19th century, such as the steam engine machines (the paddle steamer and the train engine), also influenced the new forms of the pipes created in Central Europe, that found their inspiration in the chimney configuration. Among the centers producing such smoking instruments, one can notice Schemnitz (nowadays Banská Štiavnica, a town located in Slovakia), important mining center of the Habsburg Empire. It is in that center that were created two clay smoking pipes preserved in the collections of Moldavia’s History Museum of Iaşi, that were discovered within systematic and salvage archeological excavations.
The first one was identified on the place of the former Tribunal of Iaşi, by archeologists Nicolae N. Pușcașu and Voica Maria Pușcașu (in 1978), while the second one was recovered within the county of Vaslui, by teacher Gheorghe Melinte. The two items, one entire the other fragmentary, were created during the period 1830-1850, most probably in the workshops of Michal (Michály) Hönig in Schemnitz, as indicated by the producer’s stamps applied on them. Due to the quality and fame they enjoyed, the smoking pipes by Schemnitz were sold both within the Habsburg monarchy and outside its frontiers. On many occasions the smoking pipes that were created in this center were copied by other manufactures, so that it is often difficult to tell the difference between an authentic smoking pipe made by Schemnitz and a replica produced in another center.