Tobacco pouch : The roots of this smoking accessory

Anne-Cécile tobacco
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For OCB paper or for Rizla, for men or women, ACC Creation shop creates leather or suede tobacco pouch. Coming along fabric, handmade, those are made of the best recycled leather. But where exactly does this smoking accessory come from?

old tobacco pouch

An old tobacco pouch



1. History of the tobacco pouch

2. Has the tobacco pouch always been leather

 Smoking accessories

History of the tobacco pouch

In the 16th century, tobacco consumption spread throughout Europe, particularly in France. In those days, we don't know the pipe, much less the rolling paper. Tobacco is not smoked, but is prized, i.e. used fresh or wet to be inspired by the nose.

To preserve it and preserve its aromas, it is then placed in a purse or in a tobacco pouch more or less waterproof. The french term for this pouch if "blague". It's litterally a "joke" in english. First time this word was mentioned in writing was in 1721. It is very likely, however, that this term was already used orally well before the 18th century.

As for the origin of the term "smoking joke" it would be Dutch. Sources agree that it is derived from the word "balg" which can be translated as "bag" or "envelope." As you understand now, "bag" and french word "blague" sound very close. Thus, a "smoking blague" would literally be a "tobacco bag."

It's a detail but this pocket snuffbox would be the origin of the word "blague" in the farce sense. Indeed, this pocket was often inflated. By analogy, the word joking ended up refering to someone who was telling a joke, that is, something inflated or nothing but wind.

Has the tobacco pouch always been leather

Tobacco pouch became a fashion item for men but also for women. It could be embroidered, coloured and finely decorated. Over the centuries, its shape has gradually evolved. It has gone from the purse to the pipe pouch and then to the format that we know today and which allows to accommodate OCB or Rizla cigarette paper.

 rizzla paper

old paper rizzla

But this was not the only evolution of this accessory. For while today we find mainly leather or suede tobacco pouchs, this has not always been the case. Indeed, these materials being synonymous with luxury, they were essentially reserved for a wealthy elite. More generally, it was made up of pig bladder, pelican pocket or even a large canvas.

pork bladder lining

pork bladder lining

It is also mentioned in the literature:

Joris-Karl Huysmans - Martha, story of a girl - 1877: "a tobacco merchant who proudly displayed clusters of white pipes on his storefront, above grainy leather and pig bladder jokes."

Of course, the ones that are offered today in our shop are very different. Made up of leather (not pork bladder!), our collection can accommodate your tobacco, but also your rolling leaves or lighter. In addition, they are part of the organic trend and upcycling since all our pouchs are made up of leather from recycling, which is much more environmentally friendly.

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Blague à tabac : quelle est l'origine de cet accessoire fumeur ?