Tag Archives: shapes

Parts of a Cigar, Cigarette, Pipe and Matchbook

Theatre and films seem to have an awful lot of tobacco smoking in it, so it can be useful to the props person to be able to identify the parts and anatomy of common smoking devices. Cigars, cigarettes and pipes have endless variations of shapes and styles and have evolved much throughout history, but they do have parts that have remained somewhat consistent over time.

Names of the parts of a cigar, cigarette, pipe and matchbook


  • foot – the end meant to be lit.
  • cigar band – a paper or foil loop that identifies the type and/or brand of cigar. The hobby of collecting cigar bands is known as vitolophily; you can find over 1,000 examples of old cigar bands at the “Up-in-Smoke” Cigar Band Museum.
  • wrapper – a spirally-rolled leaf of tobacco.
  • head – the end closest to the cigar band that goes in the smoker’s mouth.
  • tuck – where the wrapper is folded in to keep itself from unraveling.
  • tobacco – dried and fermented bunches of leaves.


  • filter – a cellulose tube not filled with tobacco meant to lower the amount of tar and other unwanted particles from entering the lungs. Invented in the mid-1920s. By the 1960s, the majority of cigarettes had filters, though even today you can still buy unfiltered ones.
  • foot – the end that goes in your mouth. On a fully-smoked cigarette, this is known as the butt.
  • band – similar to a cigar band but usually printed right on the cigarette paper. Can have the logo or just a simple design.
  • paper – a combustible tube-shaped wrapper to hold the tobacco.
  • tobacco – shredded tobacco leaves, tobacco by-products, and other additives.


  • bit or mouthpiece – where one puts his or her mouth.
  • stem – the part that joins the shank with the bit or mouthpiece.
  • saddle – a flattened part for easier gripping.
  • shank – where the mortise on the bowl connects with the tenon on the stem.
  • shape – the style of curve and other attributes. Here is a great chart of various pipe shapes.
  • bowl – part used to hold the tobacco. The interior hollow area is known as the chamber. Unsmoked tobacco in the bottom of the bowl after smoking is called dottle.
  • lunt – another name for pipe smoke.


  • cover – folded paper or cardboard piece to hold the matches. Frequently contains advertising or logos on the outside. The abrasive striking surface, or friction strip, used to light the matches is on the back cover. The hobby of collecting matchbook covers is known as phillumeny.
  • saddle – the area between the front and back of the cover.
  • head – the part of the match that is lit.
  • matchstick – the stem of a match.
  • front flap – the bit of the cover tucked inside to hold the matches.
  • staple – used to secure the matchsticks between the cover and the front flap.
  • score – the crease to form the front flap.

Online Laser Cutting

The letters for this throne I built were laser-cut by another company and shipped to the opera.
The letters for this throne I built were laser-cut by another company and shipped to the opera.

A laser cutter will cut, score, or engrave a whole range of sheet goods, such as wood, paper, or plastic. Some places can even do metal.

Some props shops may be lucky to have them, or have access to them through another department. Others may have worked with local businesses for laser-cutting services. Luckily, with the internet, you can still take advantage of laser cutting if neither of these are available. There are a number of companies where you can send a CAD file or drawing, pick a material, and they will cut out your design and ship it to you.

Custom Laser Cutting is a great example of one of these companies. Their website clearly lists what materials they can and can’t cut and what is possible with laser cutting, as well as the drawbacks. With small orders, they have a turn around of 3-5 days plus shipping time; for extra money, you can get it faster, all the way up to same-day turn around and overnight shipping. They show examples of their work with prices. The black cat at the bottom of this post, which is 9″ by 11.5″, cost $41 which includes shipping. If you were to order the materials online, it would cost around $15 to have a 12″ by 12″ sheet shipped to you. If you have to pay for labor, or if you have a limited time line, this can quickly become the more economical option.

Big Blue Saw is another company set up to do fast laser cutting for small orders. Their website states they can have an item ready for shipping within 3 days. There is no information about prices, but you can request a quote.

This black cat was cut from 1/4 black acrylic
This black cat was cut from 1/4" black acrylic