This crowdsourced database focuses on just one bit the remains of the marks of the pipe maker or a preferred symbol permanently affixed to the product.
Few makers incorporated dates into their marks, though the practice of marking pipes probably initially coincided with the establishment of the London tobacco pipe guild in 1619 and continued into the 19th century (Nol Hume 2003-4).
This dating technique only applies to pipe stems manufactured in England between approximately 15.
Historical archeologists do not rely on pipe stem fragments as the only source for determining a site's history.
In the latter half of the 19th century the number of makers fell drastically due to the competition of the briar-pipe and the cigarette, and by the end of the century the craft was practically extinct.