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Numerous general references to Holmes’ cigar, cigarette, and pipe smoking habits have been published in the past. In addition, a few thoroughly researched articles on single aspects of Holmes’ pipes or tobaccos are available. This monograph, in contrast, presents a complete analysis of all pipe smoking references relating to Sherlock Holmes, as given in the fifty-six short stories and four novels of the canon, as well as in its original illustrations. By original illustrations we mean illustrations for first English editions.
References to Holmes’ tobacco consumption using cigarettes, cigars, and snuff tobacco are not discussed. In addition, references to pipe smoking of persons other than Sherlock Holmes in the canon, except for Dr. Watson’s “Arcadia” tobacco mixture which Holmes smoked at least once, are not examined.
Based on the strict definition given above, 62 text references in regard to pipes and 19 text references in regard to tobacco in 42 cases of the canon, as well as 22 original illustrations of 19 cases, have been identified. Our search has been done manually without any computer-aided search tools. However, all references have been double- checked with relevant internet search engines.
Our analysis of these references is divided into four parts: pipes, tobaccos, place and daily time of smoking. For all references to pipes in the original illustrations showing a sufficient clear picture of a specified pipe, a close existing pipe model is presented. For the reader’s convenience, all pipe-related references in the canon’s text and its original illustrations are listed in the appendix.
Tobacco smoking was introduced to England by colonist captains and sailors during the second half of the sixteenth century. They brought with them pipes, tobacco seeds and plants, as well as finished products, thus making tobacco smoking more widely known in English society. Several monographs and articles discussing tobacco smoking can be found in the Victorian era. These treatises on tobacco culture and fashion, also frequently referred to in contemporary popular novels, made tobacco smoking more popular among the growing middle- and lower class in English society. During the historical period in which the Sherlock Holmes tales are set, pipe smoking was already well established.