cowboys pipes upside down marshall trimble true west magazine

A historical photo shows a group of cowboys with pipes upside down in their mouths. What’s that about?

Irv Ferguson
Coolidge, Arizona

Yep, I’ve seen that one before. The cowboys might have been clowning for the camera, but carrying your pipe upside down in your mouth was common in wet climates. If the tobacco’s packed right, the ashes won’t fall out.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona Outlaws and Lawmen; The History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or email him at

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