Blog by Steve Laug
Yes a Morell Mackenzie. That is how the pipe is stamped and I had no idea what I was dealing with. I have a thing for collecting late 1800 and early 1900 pipes so when this one came up on EBay I just naturally hit the bid button. When it arrived I decided to do a bit of research on it and uncovered the following information. This is taken from a paper on BBB pipes by Jacques Cole:
“Probably one of the first filter pipes (paper filter) was the BBB “Sir Morell Mackenzie‘. That this pipe was made before 1900 is shown by a letter dated August 27, 1891 from Sir Morell Mackenzie regarding these models with longer mouthpieces. The brand survived into the 1960s.”
That is pretty clear information and fascinating as well. I had no idea of the time frame of the introduction of the paper filter in pipes. But this is a nice little pipe. It has the orific button on the mouthpiece (the round hole instead of the slotted airway). It is also a military mount stem. Inside there is a reservoir for the paper filter to sit in. It has a sterling silver shank cap and is stamped Morell Mackenzie. The briar is a nice flame grain and the bowl is well done and well drilled.
I cleaned out the reservoir and the airway to the bowl. Took a bit as I had to work a paper clip through the airway and then a shank brush and finally bristle and fluffy pipe cleaners. The shank and reservoir are now clean!! The stem was an interesting proposition. It was pretty clean as it is built to hold the other end of the paper filter. I cleaned and swabbed it out. The stem needed to be sanded to remove tooth chatter and oxidation. Then I sanded with micromesh pads and buff with Tripoli, white diamond and finally carnauba.
Here are pictures of the pipe before the cleanup:
Here it is after the refurbishing