The bowls of tobacco pipes are commonly made of briar wood, meerschaum, corncob or clay.
Less common are other dense-grained woods such as cherry, olive, maple, mesquite, oak, and bog-wood.
Typically this is accomplished by connecting a refractory 'bowl' to some sort of 'stem' which extends and cools the smoke mixture drawn through the combusting organic mass (see below).
The broad anatomy of a pipe typically comprises mainly the bowl and the stem.
The area of Pamplin, Virginia, is one the localities where this type is known to have been produced in large quantities.
Manufactured by individual pipemakers beginning in about 1740, and by the Pamplin Smoking Pipe and Manufacturing Company, which operated from 1878 until 1951, pipes from the Pamplin area are distinguished by the high-quality, deep red, local clay from which they were made.
The Akron Smoking Pipe Company of Ohio also owned a plant in Pamplin from 1890 to 1920, and produced Pamplin-type pipes during that time period.
In 1972, Missouri avocational archaeologists Henry and Jean Hamilton published an article about Pamplin pipes that remains the definitive source on the subject.
Pipe bowls are sometimes decorated by carving, and moulded clay pipes often had simple decoration in the mould.
Inside the bowl is an inner chamber (2) space holding tobacco pressed into it.
This draught hole (3), is for air flow where air has travelled through the tobacco in the chamber, taking the smoke with it, up the shank (4).
Some Native American cultures smoke tobacco in ceremonial pipes, and have done so since long before the arrival of Europeans.
For instance the Lakota people use a ceremonial pipe called čhaŋnúŋpa.