Blog by Steve Laug
One of the secondary hobbies to pipe refurbishing that I enjoy doing is to research the history of a particular brand or make. In a recent EBay lot I bought there were 3 pipes that were stamped with the CPF logo – CPF in an oval with the word FRENCH stamped in an arch above the oval and the word BRIAR stamped in an arch below the oval. I had heard that the CPF stood for a variety of names from Consolidated Pipe Factory to Colossal Pipe Factory and even Chesterfield Pipe Company. There was a wide range of conflicting information available on the websites and forums that I looked read while looking into the brand. One evening while I was talking with Chuck Richards about the lot (I know that over the years he has seen quite a few old CPF brand pipes) he suggested that I ask Robert Boughton about it. Chuck said that Robert had done some work on the brand when he was given an old Meerschaum to refurbish. I contacted Robert and he sent me a variety of links that he had found. He had looked into the history and background of the CPF brand stamp. He wrote that he had found in his research that “…CPF definitely stands for Colossus Pipe Factory, a late 19th and early 20th century American venture that in its short, happy life created some of the most beautiful briar and Meerschaum pipes ever made”. He sent me a link to the stampings and logos site (1) http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-c1.htmlbelowwhere he had found photos that showed the curved circular printing of French Briar around the CPF oval as well as some with a space between where the customary CPF mark was stamped within an oval enclosure. He had also looked into a variety of EBay offerings of CPF pipes and also on Worthpoint.com. He found some amazingly beautiful pipes for sale.
Throughout this article I have inserted photos of some of the CPF pipes that I have refurbished as examples. All of them showed the marks of having originally had rim caps and shank caps. Some of the older ones that I have seen have had beautiful filigree decorations in these areas.
Armed with the information that Robert sent I decided to do some more digging into the brand. I found information on the CPF brand that verified his findings on the meaning of initials. CPF stands for Colossus Pipe Factory. There is not much known about the Colossus Pipe Factory. I learned that by the mid 1890’s CPF was owned by Kaufman Brothers & Bondy (KB&B). They operated the factory at 129 Grand Street, in New York City, New York. I had a faint memory of some connection between CPF and Kaufmann Brothers & Bondy. But was unsure where I had heard or read that. In the process of reading information I came across this post by Bill Feuerbach on the Kaywoodie Forum: “About 10 years ago I picked up two original invoices from KB&B. One is dated February 5, 1884 and the other December 9, 1898. Both have the address as 129-131 Grand Street, which is in Soho, adjacent to the Bowery in New York City. The 1898 invoice has in the upper left hand corner the initials CPF and Trademark. So by 1898 KB&B was making it known to the trade that they owned the CPF trademark. The 1884 invoice does not have CPF on it. Therefore I think we can assume KB&B acquired or started the CPF line sometime between 1884 and 1898.” (2)
Robert Boughton also provided a link to a scan of a page from a trade magazine called “The Jeweler’s Circular”, dated August 23, 1899.(3) http://pipedia.org/index.php?title=C…s_Pipe_Factory In scanning through it I found that at the bottom of the center row of the clip a question sent in by a reader as follows, “Please inform as who manufactures briar pipes with the trademark, CPF?” The answer that was given in the article was, “These letters stand for Colossus Pipe Factory, the business being conducted by Kaufmann Bros. & Bondy, 129 Grand Street, New York.” I did a bit more digging as I wanted to find out the source of the Pipedia clipping. I found that the original source of this information was also Bill Feuerbach. He wrote the following on the Kaywoodie Free forum, “Now as for what CPF means. About 5 or 6 years ago Gary Schrier, pipe book author/publisher and pipe collector from Seattle sent me a copy of page 30 from the Jewelers’ Circular dated August 23, 1899. I assume this was a publication for the jewelry trade. On this particular page they have questions for the editor. One question is “Editor of the Jewelers’ Circular: Please inform us who manufactures briar pipes with the trade-mark rude cut: C.P.F. Thank you in advance for your trouble and kindness”. The answer was “Those letters stand for Colossus Pipe Factory, the business being conducted by Kaufmann Bros. & Bondy, 129 Grand St., New York.”
The address in the scanned document referred to above is the same address as the one on the invoices that Bill referred to in the quoted post in the previous paragraph. This industry/trade magazine, published at the time the CPF brand was being made, reports that the C in the CPF brand means Colossus rather than Consolidated or Chesterfield. To me that answers the question quite definitively.(4)
Even with that clear information from Bill, in both the invoices and the article in the trade jounal there still is some disagreement among pipemen as to the meaning of the letters in the brand. In my research I came across a few divergent opinions on the brand and I thought it important to cite them. The following information comes from Samuel Goldberger of Finepipes Estate pipe website as referenced below. On the page on his site dedicated to CPF pipes Sam wrote, “I have not found any clear history of CPF, but I have developed some ideas about them, based upon my study of early American made pipes. By the turn of the last century, a number of small pipe making factories had collected in and around New York City, including the William Demuth Company (WDC) and Kaufman Brothers and Bondi (KB&B), later to become Kaywoodie. From the design and quality of execution of these pipes, I believe the factories must have been staffed by European immigrants, probably Jewish, who had been trained in the older traditions of pipe making in France, Germany and Austria. The pipes they produced were in a similar style. They were expertly cut from very old, air-cured Algerian briar in classical shapes or from the finest grade of Turkish meerschaum; they sometimes rather small; they often had amber or Bakelite mouthpieces, gold or silver fittings. It’s my suspicion that pipes from these small makers were at one time sold or marketed under the name “Consolidated Pipe Factory.” Alternatively, CPF may have been the name of the distributor.” (5) Personally, not to disparage Sam’s ideas, I find the information provided by Bill Feuerbach in the paragraphs above to be conclusive that CPF stands for the Colossus Pipe Factory.
Further, in my research I found that others commented on the fact that they had seen pipes with both the CPF logo and KB&B logo on them that date to pre-1900. I too have seen, refurbished and sold some that bore both stampings/logos. This has led me to wonder if the dual stamping may have been a way to let pipe smokers of the time know that the companies were affiliated. From my reading and research it seems to me that CPF brand was discontinued sometime in the 1910-1920 range. Again, turning to Bill Feuerbach I found that he notes the following, which pins down the time frame of the discontinuation of the brand more specifically, “I have a CPF Chesterfield in our office display that has a nametag from way before my time that says 1900 CPF Chesterfield. It looks like most other Chesterfields you’ve seen, including the military type push stem, except this stem is horn and not vulcanite. As far as I have gathered the CPF brand was phased out sometime around 1915.” (6) Interestingly, he noted that the Chesterfield name and style was later introduced in the KB&B, Kaywoodie and Yello-Bole lines. He says that the 1924 KB&B catalog shows KB&B Chesterfields.
I also came across the following photo that comes from Bill Feuerbach which shows the dual stamping of the logo on this display placard for CPF pipes. Note the familiar KB&B logo and cloverleaf at the bottom of the placard. (7)
From my research I believe that we can definitively assert that the CPF logo stands for Colossus Pipe Factory. The brand was purchased by KB & B sometime between 1884 and 1898 and that it continued until 1915. That time frame gives help in dating some of the older CPF pipes you or I might find. It can be said that prior to the dual stamping it is fairly certain that the pipe is pre-1884 to 1898. After the dual stamping it can be placed post 1898 until the closure of the brand line in 1915. CPF made beautiful pipes. I believe Sam Goldberger was correct in his assertion of the potential carvers that made the pipes being of European training and the classic shapes and well aged briar. That coincides with all the CPF pipes that I have come across.