Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Creation of a Modern Shoe-Shaped Snuff Box

There was a trend in Victorian times of making shoe-shaped snuff boxes.  They actually made a lot of things in the shape of a shoe, for novelty purposes.  It also had a good luck meaning, and shoe-shaped snuff boxes were given as wedding presents and to travelers about to head out on a journey.  For more information about shoe-shaped snuff boxes, Read This Blog-Post.

A friend of mine in Minnesota is a wood-carver.  His name is Joe Jarvinen.  He recently began carving snuff box in the shape of a shoe.  Below are photos showing his progress from the rough shape, to adding detail, to refining it, and finally adding an oil-rubbed finish.  There will be a hinged lid for the snuff box, and Joe told me recently that he is working on the lid right now.  Click on any of these photos to see larger versions. 

When Joe is done with his project, I'll share photos fot he finished version.  What a beautiful project.  Even more so because it honors an old Victorian snuff-taking tradition.

Mark Stinson
Modern Snuff Website

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Types of Snuff Page Complete!

Well, it took a little while to get all the information together and finish it, but the Type of Snuff page on the Modern Snuff website is complete!  Click Here to access the new page.

We took the approach of listing categories of snuff based to some degree on flavor or scent.  But, there is also information on the grind of the snuff, fermentation, tobacco varieties, etc.  The goal was to give a new snuff-taker the tools to understand conversations that take place between other snuff-takers, and to give them a starting place when choosing the kinds of snuff they might like.  Besides describing the snuff categories, six examples of snuff products were given under each category.

The page was just uploaded today.  If you find any information on the page that is incorrect or that could be presented in a better way, please email me at and let me know.

Mark Stinson
Modern Snuff Website

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Modern Snuff Blog One Month In...

This blog has existed for a little over month now, having started on October 10, 2015.  I thought it might be fun to report on the blog's progress thus far, and some of the blog's statistics.

In the first month of the blog there were 46 blog posts.  During that first month there were 1552 page views by visitors.  Those visitors were from the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, Spain, Germany, Canada, Italy, South Africa, the Netherlands, and Australia.

By and large, the majority of this traffic came over to the blog from the Modern Snuff website itself, followed closely by people who came over from Facebook.  A surprisingly smaller number of visitors came over to the blog from the Snuffhouse message board and search engines.

I'm very pleased with how the blog is going, and I hope those of you visiting the blog are enjoying it.


Mark Stinson
Modern Snuff Website

Friday, November 13, 2015

Continuing a Tradition of Enjoyment

When compared with other ways of enjoying tobacco, there just aren't that many snuff-takers.  Especially here in the United States, it is possible to be a snuff-taker for years and not meet another snuff-taker face-to-face.  That makes us a little unique.  Many of us are a singularity in our lives.  We exist on an allegorical desert island of snuff-taking, alone in our enjoyment of his wonderful activity.

Of course, it is easy enough to communicate with other snuff-takers on-line.  There's discussion groups on Facebook, an active message board or two, and you can private message and email other snuff-takers that you meet in these on-line venues.  Snuff-takers that have never met each other in person, do each other favors, trade snuff through the mail, and help each other get snuff that isn't available in some areas.  This is a lot of fun, but real life, in person, many of us are alone.

But that's alright.  While in a literal sense we are isolated in our snuff-taking, we are continuing an age old tradition.  A tradition that brings us comfort and joy.  A tradition that relaxes us when appropriate, and stimulates and focuses us in times of need.  A tradition that strikes at the very origins of tobacco use in the Western World.  Tobacco lends itself so easily and perfectly to snuff-taking.  The existence and attributes of tobacco ensures that there will always be snuff-takers.

Just some random thoughts tonight, with my snoot full of snuff.  :-)

Mark Stinson
Modern Snuff Website

Misadventures in Snuff-Taking!

Little Girl Snuff-Taking - We Don't Condone That!!!
There are times where things just go wrong.  A little carelessness or a little bad luck, and the next thing you know snuff is everywhere.  I thought I'd share three misadventures I've had with snuff...

I"ll start with what happened just the other day. I was working very hard at work, framing a house. Lots of physical activity, moving around, etc. When I went to lunch and pulled out my money to pay, it was strangely brown. Looked like I had gotten a whole bunch of dirt in my pocket or something. I didn't really investigate further. When I got home, I sat down to have some snuff and relax. I reached in my pocket, and the little metal pill bottle filled with Viking Dark had no lid! I pulled it out, and it was empty. But my pocket was far from empty. I had a pocket full of Viking Dark, and everything in my pocket was encrusted with it... change, bills, receipts, keys, bills...everything.

When I spoon onto the back of my hand, I hold the tin in the hand I'm snuffing from (left) and spoon with my other hand (right). I usually take snuff from the flat meaty part of my hand behind the thumb, and as I rotated my hand to take the snuff, I dumped the tin of McChrystal's Annisette I was holding onto the floor. It was like those people who dump their drink when turning their hand to check their watch.

Another time, we were at a Cross Country meet that my son was running in, and it was cold out. I had been snuffing, and the cold was making my nose run. There were people everywhere. My daughter looked at me with huge eyes, and said, "There's brown stuff running out your nose!" I had been running around for several minutes in this huge crowd with a big brown snuffy Hitler mustache.

I think stories like these are comparable with smokers dropping a lit cigarette between the seats while driving a car, or tobacco dippers accidentally drinking from their dip cup.  LOL.  If you like to share your own misadventure, post it in the comments.  Or join us in the discussion over in the Modern Snuff group by Clicking Here.

Mark Stinson
Modern Snuff Website

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Frederick the Great Was Saved by his Snuffbox

Frederick the Great ruled Prussia from 1740 until his death in 1786.  Frederick aspired to embody the Platonic ideal of a "philosopher-king."  He was a poet, a writer, a musician, a domestic reformer and a brilliant military strategist.

Frederick led his nation through multiple wars with Austria and its allies. His daring military tactics expanded and consolidated Prussian lands, while his domestic policies transformed his kingdom into a modern state and formidable European power.  He was an enthusiastic patron of the arts and sciences, and corresponded with the top minds of the Enlightenment.  He had a long and sometimes contentious friendship with Voltaire.

Frederick The Great used snuff, especially under the stress of command. Once a musket balll hit a snuff box in his breast pocket, saving his life!

The cynical temper of Frederick the Great is well known. Once when his sister, the Duchess of Brunswick, was at Potsdam, Frederick made to the brave Count Schwerin the present of a gold snuff-box. On the lid inside was painted the head of an ass. Next day, when dining with the king, Schwerin, with some ostentation, put his snuff-box on the table. Wishing to turn the joke against Schwerin, the king called attention to the snuff-box. The Duchess took it up and opened it. Immediately she exclaimed,' What a striking likeness! In truth, brother, this is one of the best portraits I have ever seen of you.' Frederick, embarrassed, thought his sister was carrying the jest too far. She passed the box to her neighbor, who uttered similar expressions to her own. The box made the round of the table, and every one was fervently eloquent about the marvelous resemblance. The king was puzzled what to make of all this. When the box at last reached his hands, he saw, to his great surprise, that his portrait was really there. Count Schwerin had simply, with exceeding dispatch, employed an artist to remove the ass's head, and to paint the king's head instead. Frederick could not help laughing at the Count's clever trick, which was really the best rebuke of his own bad taste and want of proper and respectful feeling.

Mark Stinson
Modern Snuff Website

Friday, November 6, 2015

Hitsuzen's Review of Pöschl Perlesreuter Schmalzler

This is part 4 of a 4 part series of Schmalzler snuff reviews.  This one is all about Pöschl Perlesreuter Schmalzler.  Watch it, and if you like it, subscribe to the Inna Pinch channel.

Mark Stinson
Modern Snuff Website

Two New Pages Added to Blog Menu

Over time, my intention is to add key content from the Modern Snuff Website here on the blog as well.  With the modern attention span what it is, getting a casual web-surfer from the blog to the website or from the website to the blog is a crap-shoot at best.  So, the thought process is to make the blog as complete as possible and the website as complete as possible, so which every one is first encountered by a new snuff-taker...they will get useful information with which to work.

I've added "How to Take Snuff" and "Snuff-Taking Tips" pages to the menu of pages at the top of the blog.  Look up'll see 'em.  If you have any suggestions for either page, please contact me or comment on this blog post.  Thanks!

Mark Stinson
Modern Snuff Website

Hitsuzen's Review of Pöschl Schmalzler

This is part 3 of a 4 part series of Schmalzler snuff reviews.  This one is all about Pöschl Schmalzler.  Check it out.  And if you like it, subscribe to the Inna Pinch channel.

Mark Stinson
Modern Snuff Website

Snuff-Takers are Civilized and Polite

I'm in my later 40's and I've rubbed elbows with all sorts of people in my day.  The poorest our country has to offer, the wealthiest you could deign to find, and everything in between.  I've have multiple hobbies and interests, and as a fairly out-going social person, I tend to seek out people who share my hobbies and interests.  The best of course is face-to-face associations and friendships, but in this day and age, the option to interact with others as a distance has never been easier or more available.

All this is to say, I am entirely impressed by the polite and gentle behavior of the snuff-takers I have interacted with thus far.  The snuff-takers I've met face-to-face are always happy to have met a fellow traveler, and are quick to jump into conversation and to offer a pinch of their favorite snuff.  Meeting a snuff-taking stranger, is like meeting a long-lost friend with all the attendant joy and need to catch up.

Online, snuff-takers are welcoming, humble, quick with advice, slow to deride or pass judgement, and show a calmness in their interactions that only confidence and a pinch of snuff could lend a person.  Snuff is talked about, traded, gifted, and held aloft as an unbreakable common bond.  Jaded by my interactions with the average person online, I find myself thinking it is too good to be true at times.  I find myself bracing myself for the next attack.  Watching for the knife stuck deftly into the shoulder-blade, as a well-practiced internet-warrior makes a cowardly attack from behind.  But, the attack never comes...the blade is never bared.

If you have found yourself drawn to nasal snuff, and you are curious, or need advice, or simply want to interact with other snuff-takers, reach out.  You will never find a more welcoming group of people.  Feel free to join both of the groups below, and thus enrich your own enjoyment of snuff-taking.  You will certainly find some fine acquaintances, and maybe a friend or two in the process.

Mark Stinson
Modern Snuff Website

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Redheart Double-Bowl Snuff Spoon - Hand Carved

This is a double-bowl snuff spoon, designed to allow a bowl-full of snuff to go up both nostrils at once. I carved the spoon from beautiful redheart wood and this is its natural color and finish. This spoon was given a long and graceful handle to make it easier to use and maneuver. Double-bowl snuff spoons were very common among the snuff-taking Zulu tribes. The double-bowl on this spoon can be loaded from the smallest tin, smash-box, or snuff box. If you are interested in this spoon or others, visit My Shop.  Click on any of the images to see a larger version.

Mark Stinson

The Marie Antoinette Most of Us Don't Know

In the 18th century giving a snuff box as a present became a sign of exalted gift-giving.  Marie Antoinette had fifty-two gold snuff boxes in her wedding basket.  While this may seem extravagant, it should be remembered that in the eighteenth century the snuff box was the equivalent of jewellery and not only did the snuff box change with artistic fashion but anyone who was anyone needed to have a variety of these boxes.

What most people think they know about Marie Antoinette is actually false.  She was originally Austrian. She never actually said, “Let them eat cake.”  She was a champion of the American
side of the Revolutionary War, and without her efforts the war might have ended quite differently.  After the French Revolution, none other than the American revolutionary Thomas Paine (at that time part of the French Legistlature, as strange as that sounds) advocated exile for the Royal Family to the United States, rather than death.   Marie Antoinette was a loving dedicated mother, and she faced execution by guillotine bravely.  Marie Antoinette also took snuff, though it is said she was more likely to carry a box of bon bons on her person, than a snuff box.

She may have also standarized the modern handkerchief as we think of it today.  The handkerchief has a long history as a piece of cloth carried to clean one's nose.  But, prior to the triumphant arrival of tobacco (specifically snuff tobacco) in Europe, the handkerchief had become an object of fashion.  Snuff brought the handkerchief back to its original purpose, as it became indispensable for cleaning snuff-stained noses! White handkerchiefs were hardly suitable for this and people took to using large, coloured kerchiefs to hide the stains.  Up until this time, the handkerchief had come in many shapes, such as round, square, triangular, etc.  According to legend, one day Marie Antoinette at Versailles remarked that the square-shaped handkerchief was the most pleasing as well as convenient. This prompted Louis XVI to make it mandatory for all handkerchiefs produced within the kingdom to be  square in shape.  And the rest, as they say, is history...

Click Here to read about more famous snuff-takers.

Mark Stinson
Modern Snuff Website

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Snuff Feeds Your Senses

Fribourg & Treyer in 1906
We experience the world through our senses and perceptions.  Listening to beautiful music or the voice of a loved one comforts us, soothes us, and brings us happiness.  Watching an action movie or our favorite sports team compete gets our heart racing, our blood flowing, and brings us alive.  Bundling up in cozy blankets makes us feel warm, and safe, and makes all our problems very far away.  We experience the world around us through our senses, and this stimulation sets a tone, shapes our mood, and changes who we are in the moment.

Snuff is to the nose what our favorite song is to our ears.  Snuff directly interacts with our olfactory senses, which have been shown to have a strong connection with our memories.  First there is the ritual.  A tap on your tin or box.  The pinch warming between your fingers.  The snuff settling into the front of your nose.  And the slight pleasant burn of the tobacco accompanied by the full and complete scent that fills you entire nose,   Over time, as the scent lingers, it changes...and layers of flavor are revealed.

The right snuff can take us to places and moments in our life, and have an impact on our present.  Sometimes this is very overt and obvious, and we can identify the memories that are consciously triggered.  But, most of the time it is more subtle than that, and the complex layers of scent and sensation change us in the moment.  The right snuff sparks an emotional reaction, and can shift our demeanor dramatically.

Yes, snuff delivers nicotine from the tobacco into our bodies.  But snuff-taking is so much more than a chemical reaction.  Snuff takes over one of our five senses, and drags us along for the ride.  That act of taking snuff is a stolen moment from the rest of the world, and the flood of sensation and scent that hits us sets the stage for a definitive shift from where we are, to where we want to be...

Mark Stinson
Modern Snuff Website

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

What's the Purpose? Nicotine or Enjoyment?

Offering a Pinch
The Nicotine question is such an interesting discussion.  Do we take snuff for the Nicotine or do we take snuff for the Enjoyment of it.  You'll occasionally hear some debates about this, with some admitting they are in it for the Nicotine...and others making it very clear that the Nicotine is not important to them at all.  This latter group does it for the wonderful scent, the sensations, and the actual experience of snuff-taking.

I'm not sure the two sides of this debate are as juxtaposed as they appear at first.  I mean, I can understand both of those view-points.  I think I've probably been at both ends of the scale, depending on when in my life we're talking about.  There have been points in my life where I've used tobacco products I didn't even like that much, just to get the Nicotine.  There have been other points in my life where I used a tobacco product purely for the taste (mainly with cigars).

But, now I'm somewhere in the middle.  I do very purposefully "maintain" my nicotine levels.  It calms me, focuses me, and makes the world make sense for me.  It just levels me out, and brings me a feeling of peace.  So, yes...I do put some thought into maintaining my Nicotine levels, and thus maintaining the feeling it gives me.  I'm addicted to Nicotine.  If I went cold-turkey from all Nicotine tomorrow, I would be a raving mess for 3 or 4 days, and be thinking about Nicotine for months afterward.  I know, because I've been there.

But, now I only use tobacco products I truly enjoy.  Ones that have benefits and joys far beyond the delivery of Nicotine.  Ones that make me happy on their own.  I would take snuff, even if snuff had no Nicotine...because I like the sensation, the scent, and flavor. Hell, I even like a good back-drip with the right snuff.  So, I get that.  But, it sure is nice it also helps me maintain my Nicotine levels.  One of the benefits of snuff, is it works on both levels.  Nicotine and Enjoyment.

Anyhow, its interesting hearing where people describe themselves on that Nicotine vs. Pure Enjoyment scale.  I think I'm somewhere in the middle.  Where are you?  Feel free to comment below.

Mark Stinson
Modern Snuff Website