Friday, September 28, 2018

Forepaugh’s Circus & Wild West Show

In his research on the Bremen Historic Train Depot, Indiana, Derek Jensen points out
the critical role railroads played in the success of circuses in the Unites States during the second half of the nineteenth century: 

"From 1865 onward circuses criss-crossed America to great fanfare, 

Forepaugh Circus Train 1890

few more impressive than that of Adam Forepaugh 

and his elephant-trainer son, Addie, Jr,

"Addie" Forepaugh Jr. in 1870

 the Forepaugh’s Circus & Wild West Show.
Adam Forepaugh's Great Show. Military Drill by Forepaugh's 25 Elephants. Cincinnati: Strobridge, (1883). Color lithograph poster depicting the ringleader of the circus commanding a herd of elephants. 30 x 40”.

Forepaugh was second only to PT Barnum’s, and a great rivalry arose between them. Barnum’s famous Jumbo was taller, 

but Forepaugh’s Bolivar was heavier, prompting both to claim they had the largest elephant in the world. 

They eventually split the country into exclusive territories, although they managed to resolve their differences and play combined shows in Philadelphia and New York.

When Forepaugh sold his train and equipment to Ringling Brothers in 1889, that circus became the biggest in the country, eventually buying up Barnum’s."

A meerschaum cheroot holder captures this part of Americana,

Courtesy Sarunas Peckus Collection
in fine

Courtesy Sarunas Peckus Collection
and accurate detail

 with Adam Forepaugh Jr.'s portrait in full view

leaving one wondering if he was its privileged owner...

Detail from Adam Forepaugh's Great Show. Military Drill by Forepaugh's 25 Elephants.                     Cincinnati: Strobridge, (1883).

Saturday, September 22, 2018

1896 Hungarian Millenial Celebration Pipe by Adler & Son

This exceptionally large, pristine pipe bowl with bas- and high-relief-carved, in-the-round, figures was executed in 1896 by one of Budapest’s most esteemed pipe carving families, 

Adler's workshop was located on Deak Ferenc, Budapest, Hungary, 1896

Fülöp Adler and Son.

Pipes and Trademarks from the Adler Workshop. (from Our Pipe-Smoking Forebears)

Thematically, this pipe depicts Hungary’s history, a celebration of its millennial anniversary that began on May 2 of that year, 

                  The Hungarian Millenial Exhibition at Budapest, 1896. Illustrated London News.                     Adler's workshop received First Prize in the goldsmith category at the Exhibition. 

1000 years after the Magyar settlement in the Carpathian Basin.

Property of the Hungarian National Museum, Budapest (Coll #:

The chased, gilt wind cover’s finial is that of the allegorical female figure, the helmeted lady of Hungaria, the national symbol of Hungarian liberty, holding the coat of arms of Hungary with its double cross and Árpád stripes. 

On the shank are several high-relief-carved men on horseback, perhaps meant to portray Grand Prince Árpád Feszty, the leader of the Magyar tribes, and a few of his soldiers supposedly crossing the Carpathian Basin sometime in the 9th century. 

On the front are the busts 

of Franz Josef I, Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, 

and his wife, Elisabeth (portrayed at a much younger age).

Reference: Ferenc Levardy, Our Pipe-Smoking Forebears, 1994, Druckhaus Oberpfalz, Germany

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Early 20th Century Ngbaka Pipe

In 1924 amateur photographer Casimir Zagourski (1883-1944)

moved to Leopoldville, Congo, to open a photographic studio.

Casimir Zagourski in his studio in Kinshasa - 1925

Over the following twenty years he would bravely crisscross the region

Expedition Photographie, C. Zagourski, 1934 Ford Panel Van

 to carefully document

what he would later refer to as "A Vanishing Africa".


Among the hundreds of pictures he published, one features two Ngbaka elders solemnly smoking their strikingly curved wood and metal pipes.

Ngbaka pipes in private collections and museums reveal that beyond a shared elegant curvature,

Private Collection

each pipe retains its unicity in the finesse 

The Royal Museum for Central Africa Collection, Belgium

and level of abstraction of its figural carving.

Private Collection

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

1851 Austrian Meerschaum Masterpiece

Behold this strikingly handsome meerschaum pipe bowl in pristine condition: bas-relief carving on the underside and on the shank,

and on the front, the high-relief-carved, double eagle of the Austrian Empire in exquisite detail. 

Add to this the chased silver shank band and the domed, silver wind cover, consisting of a snake-like thumb lift and ornately crafted finial of the goddess Athena, a statue of which is outside the Austrian Parliament, and the result? A dramatic masterpiece evoking excellent workmanship, intricate design elements, and skill.

Austria-Hungary, 1851,Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum, Budapest. 

Source: Alexander Nikolaus u. Walter Schantl, Europäische Prunk-Meerschaumpfeifen der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts, Wien, 2005,106)