Curios Revealed: November 12, 2013 Reveal

On Tuesday we posted the following object.

Trimm pipe

Want to know if you guessed correctly?  Stumped and want to know what the object is?  Read on to find out the answer!


Timothée Trimm (Léo Lespès). 1865. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

GRA excavations near Riverside Park uncovered this pipe stem.  The pipe is made out of white kaolin, a type of clay, which was the primary material for inexpensive pipes until the end of the 19th century.  Because these pipes were extremely inexpensive, they were extensively used by all social and economic classes.  Since they only lasted 1 or 2 years, archaeologists find a large number of these types of pipes in American historic period sites.

You may have noticed that the pipe stamped with the letters “…OTHEE TRIMM.”  This appears to be a reference to Timothee Trimm, a pseudonym for Léo Lespès, writer for the extremely popular Petit Journal, a major newspaper publication in France before WWII.  Despite being a French citizen, Monsieur Trimm was world-renowned as one of the most eccentric and curious figures of the Parisian Boulevards. This star columnist of the nineteenth-century French press, wrote that he found his subject matter in curiosity and fear, in “the event[s] in the street that makes you open your window, the drama of the night that makes you lock your door.”

Evidently, this formidable public figure created quite a sensation during the mid-nineteenth century. Champagne was named after him, a polka dance was created in his honor, and at least one pipe with his name on it found its way to the shore of the Hudson River on the Upper West Side.


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