hidden in the stem of a pipe

Jeepster

Senior Member
They carried their own food, escape rations; their only compass was of the kind that can be hidden in the stem of a pipe.
Vladimir Penyakov. Ppsky's Private Army

what stem?? what pipe?? what compass??
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Have you tried using our dictionary, Jeepster? These definitions seem likely to me:

    Stem - a long, slender part: the stem of a tobacco pipe.

    Pipe - a tube of wood, clay, or other material, with a small bowl at one end, used for smoking tobacco, etc.: He filled his pipe with tobacco.

    Compass - an instrument for determining directions, as by means of a freely rotating magnetized needle that indicates magnetic north.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Their only compass was of the kind that is small enough to be hidden in the stem of a pipe.

    These are pipes; the one you should imagine depends on the date of your source:
    tabac-pipe-vector-vintage-nicotine-fumeur-objet-r%C3%A9tro-classique.jpg


    They all have three parts: the bowl, the stem and the mouthpiece. You will note that the stem can be unscrewed from the bowl. That might be where a very small compass could be hidden.

    In World War II there was a thriving activity in disguising objects like maps, compasses, money and false papers. These were carried by spies or posted to prisoners of war to help them escape.
     

    Jeepster

    Senior Member
    Their only compass was of the kind that is small enough to be hidden in the stem of a pipe.

    These are pipes; the one you should imagine depends on the date of your source:
    tabac-pipe-vector-vintage-nicotine-fumeur-objet-r%C3%A9tro-classique.jpg


    They all have three parts: the bowl, the stem and the mouthpiece. You will note that the stem can be unscrewed from the bowl. That might be where a very small compass could be hidden.

    In World War II there was a thriving activity in disguising objects like maps, compasses, money and false papers. These were carried by spies or posted to prisoners of war to help them escape.
    Wow! Bur presumably a pipe of this kind could not be used at its first purport?
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    In World War II there was a thriving activity in disguising objects like maps, compasses, money and false papers. These were carried by spies or posted to prisoners of war to help them escape.
    I recommend Official Secret, by Clayton Hutton, if you can find a copy. Hutton headed a team that developed and distributed escape items like these.
     

    LVRBC

    Senior Member
    English-US, standard and medical
    To hide a compass in the stem of a pipe, one would separate the magnetized compass needle and hide that in the pipe. A pin for it to balance on could be stuck anywhere without looking obvious, and a compass card can be improvised from any piece of paper. The trick is telling which end of the needle is pointing north, which almost all of us can do unless we are in thick daytime fog or it's a very cloudy night. (Or in a windowless building or underground or underwater, but you see my point in general.)
     
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