The history of the Zenith factory starts in 1749 when Pieter van der Want becomes master pipe maker of the Gouda pipemakers’ guild. He is the first of eight generations of pipe makers in succession from father to son. From the 1950’s the Zenith company is the oldest pipe factory in the world, the firm Chacom in Saint-Claude, founded 1780, is the second oldest.
After having produced clay tobacco pipes for a period of over 150 years, the Gouda factory modernizes its techniques. Pipes were no longer pressed from stiff pipe clay in metal moulds but are shaped in plaster moulds with liquid clay, the so-called slib cast technique. The backed products are covered with a transparent glaze that gives them a smooth, shiny and delicate look. The glaze also makes them less breakable.
Due to the porosity of the ceramic, the slib casted pipes absorb all the moist which attributes Zenith pipes the quality of a cool and dry smoke. In the 1920’s the product is perfectioned when the so-called “hollow bowl system” is introduced. Between the outside glazed pipe and the inner bowl an open space is created in which the smoke can circulate, where it cools down and the humidity of the smoke is absorbed by the pottery sherd. This invention makes the Zenith pipe to the ultimo dry smoker. Above that, ceramic is the best material to keep the aroma alive, without adding a taste of the pipe itself.