30 June 2010

Gone by the Wayside: Tobacco Pipes

To-day in Gone By The Wayside we feature an art that has all but burnt out, if you can forgive the pun. Reaching Greece and Rome from Eastern neighbours in ancient times to be expanded across the West to the Celts and Germanic tribes, pipe smoking is the oldest, most traditional form of smoking tobacco. Smoking a pipe has long symbolised leisure and sophistication. In recent times, however, pipe smoking has become less appealing to younger generations, resulting in its decline.

At Swell & Dandy we are not medical doctors, nor are we scientists. Medical professionals claim that smoking tobacco leads to many health risks and may shorten ones life. We will take no position on this statement, as medicine is not our expertise. However, there are several studies that suggest that pipe smoking, as opposed to cigarette smoking, is less dangerous. A study appeared in a 1990 issue of The Compleat Smoker which suggested that men who smoke pipes, on average, live to be 78 years old compared to the 76 years of the average non-smoking male. Studies also indicate that pipe smoking is less addictive than cigarette smoking and that pipe tobacco contains less addictives. Again, we don't profess to be a science journal, but rather a gentleman's guide. Our guidance is that a gentleman who enjoys a pipe is certainly classier than one who puffs on cigarettes.

We are not suggesting that every gentleman should take up smoking. On the contrary, there is something admirable in a man who is free of habit and vice. However, for those chaps who do smoke, smoking a pipe may be worth looking into. Remember that pipe smoking is an art. One must work at it before one masters it, but the sophisticated relaxation is well worth the effort.

For more information, pick up a copy of The Ultimate Pipe Book and also have a look at this list of notable pipe smokers. Pipes and pipe tobacco are available at one's local smoke shop.

19 June 2010

Inside A Gentleman's Pockets

It's customary for men to have at least three pockets at any given time (two side pockets on the trousers and one breast pocket in the jacket). Gentlemen will fill their pockets with a wide variety of different goods. This article will take a shot at listing the quintessential pocket gear of the average dandy, if there is such a thing as an 'average dandy'.

Front Trouser Pockets
Tobacco & Pipe

Back Pockets
Monogrammed Handkerchief (sometimes tucked into coat sleeve)

Waistcoat Pockets
Pocket Watch with Chain (can be carried in front trouser pockets if waistcoat is lacking)

Inside Jacket Pocket
Wallet containing at least £15 (approx. $30) cash just in case
Fountain Pen (stored upright to avoid leaking)
Calling Cards

Of course, one might also carry chapstick and perhaps breath mints and one's mobile if one must. We don't recommend carrying loose coins if it can be avoided; a gentlmen should be known for looking dashing and being well-mannered, not for jingling when he walks.

16 June 2010

Gone by the Wayside: Hot Water Bottles

The Hot Water Battle as is known to-day was first patented by Croatian inventor Slavoljub Eduard Penkala in 1903. Incidentally, Penkala also was the first to patent the fountain pen. The concept of the Hot Water Bottle dates back to the 16th century. Early predecessors to the Hot Water Bottle, bed warmers, were constructed from metal, filled with embers from the fireplace, and used to heat the bed before retiring for the night.

Eventually, containers filled with hot water came into use. Unlike the bed warmer these containers; made from metals, glass, earthware, or wood and wrapper in cloth; could be kept in bed with the sleeper. It wasn't until the 1830's with Charles Goodyear's invention of vulcanised rubber that the modern Hot Water Bottle emerged.

Hot Water Bottles have all but disappeared now days. Since the late 20th century, with better heating and the invention of electric blankets and heating pads, the use of Hot Water Bottles has declined. Hot Water Bottles, however, have several advantages over more contemporary alternatives. For instance, Hot Water Bottles use no electricity and thus cost nothing to use and can be used when power is unavailable. They can also be used to sooth pain by applying heat to sore muscles.

So the next time you're shivering in your sheets, curl up with a Hot Water Bottle. They are available at most Drug Stores, but you can also find them on Amazon.com.
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