A Canadian Pipe Maker I had never heard of: Leonard Payne Pipes


Blog by Steve Laug

On a Saturday not too long ago I went on a pipe hunt in Vancouver. I began at the Vancouver Flea Market and worked my way back toward my home. I stopped a quite a few antique shops and “malls” in my hunt for old pipes. I found a few at the flea market and several old timers at the shops that I left behind. However, one pipe caught my eye. It was not a brand that I had seen before or heard of.It was a nicely shaped thick shanked apple that needed very little work. It had a bit of tarry build up on the rim, some tooth chatter on the stem and minor oxidation. It grabbed my attention. The stamping was Leonard Payne on the left side of the shank and Made in Canada on the right side. The stem bears a green dot in the centre of a white circle on the left side of the stem. I decided to do a bit of research on the web and found the following advertisement that highlighted the pipes.
Payne Pipes

Further digging with Google came up with this short note from alt.smokers.pipes forum. It was written by Mike Glukler of Briar Blues. I quote it below in full. (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.smokers.pipes/RrICLiVgE2o) “Leonard Payne was based in B.C. for many years. He came to Canada from England. He had shops in Surrey, B.C. and Kelowna, B.C.Interesting fellow. Gruff as the day is long. When you bought a pipe it was handed to you in a paper bag. No sock, no box. Most of his pipes carried a “carburetor” system at the shank / stem junction.Another Payne idea was his shanks. Almost all his pipes were two pieces. He’d turn the bowl and shank, then cut off the shank and reattach with glue (not always with the same piece of briar, so many did not match grains). His thinking was that the shank being the weakest link, if cut and glued would never break and thus “correcting”the weakest link.You may find his pipes on E-Bay on occasion listed as a Len Cayne. The P in his stamping looks more like a fancy upper case C.”

That is the extent of information that I could find on the pipe. It was a Canadian made pipe carved by an eccentric BC pipe carver. The one example I purchase was a single piece of briar without the broken and reglued shank that Mike mentions above. It is a light weight piece of briar and the fit of the stem and shank is very well done. The gap between the end of the tenon and the end of the mortise is very small – just enough to allow for expansion. The finish was very good and the stain well done.

My clean up on the pipe was very simple. I sanded out the tooth chatter on the stem near the button and polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads from 1500-12,000 grit. I then took it to the buffer and used red Tripoli and White Diamond on the buffing wheels to further polish the stem. I reamed the bowl and cleaned the tars off the rim and polished it as well with White Diamond. I am careful when buffing the shank area where the stamping is so that I do not harm the stamping. Once I was finished with the polishing I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba wax. I polished the pipe with a soft flannel buffing pad. The finished pipe is pictured below.
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Fast forward several months to a conversation had with a friend in Ontario via email. She had come across several Leonard Payne pipes and done the same research I did. She found the same information I did and sent me photos of the three pipes she found. We talked for a while and I offered to restem a pipe of hers. She sent me the pipe for work and then also the nice little Leonard Payne Zulu/Dublin pictured below.

She said that it needed some TLC but it was really in quite good shape. The finish was clean, though somewhat spotty. There were very few scratches or dings. There was a scuff mark on the bottom of the shank next to the stem and the stem was slightly scuffed in the same area. The rim was also clean. The bowl was already reamed and relatively clean. The bowl and shank smelled of Latakia but the pipe really seemed to be hardly smoked and certainly not broken in to the bottom of the bowl. The stem had some ripples in the surface near the button and in those were the remnants of tooth marks. The shoulders of the stem at the stem/shank junction were slightly rounded from sanding or buffing with the stem off the pipe. There were two small spots of oxidation around the logo.
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I sanded the stems and shank with a fine grit sanding sponge and used a sanding block to reduce the rounding to the shoulders of the stem. I then sanded the stem with micromesh sanding pads from 1500-12,000 grit to polish the vulcanite. I rubbed stem down with Obsidian Oil and let it soak into the surface. Once it was dry I buffed it with White Diamond and then carnauba wax. The ripples in the stem are gone and the oxidation around the logo is also gone. My Black and Tan Cocker Spaniel decided to sit and “help” me this morning. He has learned that I generally have some dog chews at the work table but he gives me the illusion that he is really interested in what I am doing!
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I set the stem aside and worked on the bowl. I found that though the finish was clean it was faded and spotty in places. I decided to give it a coat of medium walnut aniline stain mixed with linseed oil to even out the finish and give it a shine. I applied the stain with a cotton pad and then buffed it by hand with a cotton cloth when it was dry.
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I reinserted the stem and gave the entire pipe a buff with White Diamond and then gave it several coats of carnauba wax. I finished by buffing the entirety with multiple coats of carnauba wax. The finished pipe is pictured below. This nice little pipe is cleaned, restored and ready to smoke. It joins the other Leonard Payne pipe in my collection.
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24 thoughts on “A Canadian Pipe Maker I had never heard of: Leonard Payne Pipes

  1. Tyler Smith

    I was lucky enough to have gotten my hands on a Leonard Payne at an estate sale in Campbell River. The bowl and shank seem to be one piece. It can best be described as a rusticated tomato as far as shape is concerned. Once I cleaned it up it turned out to be an excellent little smoker.

    Reply
  2. Dennis Morgan

    I smoked LP pipes in the 70’s and had quite a collection. I was a chewer and after awhile I bought the stems that fit into the “cool chamber” by the dozen. I spoke with Len on occasion and he was always helpful. Alas I quit smoking and a co-worker inherited the pipes. Pipes were top quality briars and never heated up or cracked. Great product. I believe tha the company was in Penticton when I dealt with it.

    Reply
  3. Eunice Fownes

    Hello Carol – what a small world. I remember Uncle Johnny (your Dad) although I have not been back to England since I was 10 years old some 60 years ago and I do remember having a cousin Carol. Amazing that we have a connection through this website. Do you live in England? The only reason this website came up was that my Grandaughter was doing a school project and needed some information on my parents so I “googled” Leonard Payne to get specific dates as I knew there was information on him online. When this website came up and I started to read about my Dad I felt I needed to set some of the records straight with accurate facts that were missing and along comes a relative my cousin Carol. I would love to hear more from you. Please reply to this posting and I will send my email address to you. – Eunice

    Reply
  4. Bradley Hampson

    Not sure if this entry is still monitored… I came across it while looking to see if I could find any of these pipes. I worked for Leonard for a couple of years in Kelowna. I was the shop foreman when he had moved his factory to and old White & Peters building on Bay Ave in Kelowna around 1980. The pipes were made as you described and were beautiful to smoke as his design prevented a lot of muck getting up the stem. We turned blocks of fine briar as well as aluminum for the fine tube in the stem and the piece where the stem was fitted. He offered a lifetime warranty and we did do quite a few repairs. It was fun work as a youngster, and set me to enjoying pipes and finer tobacco (Erinmore is my favourite). I haven’t smoked a pipe in years, but would love to come across one from that period as for certain it would have passed through my hands. Great site 🙂

    Reply
  5. Peter

    Hi
    I just bought a pipe in an estate sale witch has the exact same stamped “Made in Canada” in one side as the shank as seen in your pictures. The other side is stamped Medway Imperial.
    Could this be an early marking of Leonard Payne after he moved to canada and therefore confirm the theory from Carol that he had a prior pipe factory in Medway Kent?

    Reply
    1. rebornpipes Post author

      Hi Peter, welcome here. You may well be onto something regarding the pipe you have. I am hoping that Carol will read this and let us know. Have you done any research in the the brand? That would be great to share on here as well. Send me photos of the pipe if you would so I can also have a look. You can send them to slaug@uniserve.com. Thanks

      Reply
  6. Dave

    Two fine pipes, for sure, and a great history thrown in. Thanks for the article. As for the Cocker…with eyes like that, you should have treats at the work table all of the time.

    Reply
  7. upshallfan

    Two very neat pipes. That is curious about the reglued shanks, I had a hard time discerning the joint and would have no doubt missed it had it not been mentioned. I love the ad and certainly hope I receive a pipe versus some Mexican pottery… An eclectic gift suggestion list to be sure!

    Reply
      1. Carol Mould nee Payne

        Could this be Len Payne ho moved to Canada withhis wife Eunice and children Eunice, Evelyn and June at about 1956-58. He opened a Pipe factory in Medway Kent, England and called it Medway Briar Pipe.

        Reply
            1. Eunice Fownes

              So interesting to read this article. Leonard Payne was my father and I worked for him for 6 years after I finished school until I got married and we started a family. We did immigrate to Canada in 1956 from Kent in England and he did have a large factory in England called Medway Briar Pipes. Leonard met his wife Unity when they both worked in the briar pipe industry in England when they were both young. Unity was a pipe finisher and continued to help him finishing pipes when he opened his Canadian factory in Surrey, BC under the name of Leonard Payne Originals. My husband and I travelled across Canada for 3 years selling his pipes and calling on his customers. My husband also worked in the factory for a short time after he finished high school. My father was a sheet metal fabricator by trade in the Air Force during World War 2 – he then opened up his own briar pipe factory in England after the war. He applied to come to Canada and was accepted into Canada as he was bringing a new industry to this country. We did not have any relatives in Canada. He employed several people and had a very lucrative business during his working years. He did not have any sons and sold the business which did not last very long. I too have friends that still own and smoke Leonard Payne Original pipes. I trust this information is helpful to you. My name is Eunice Fownes (nee Eunice Payne)

              Reply
              1. rebornpipes Post author

                Thank you so much Eunice for this helpful information. I am sure those of us who enjoy your father’s pipes will find this incredibly helpful. Your contribution is greatly appreciated.

                Reply
  8. Andy

    Thanks for all of that info on the origin of Payne pipes. Time to make a correction in the book “Who Made That Pipe” as they have the USA listed as the country. Now we know that it is Canada. Great research you have done. Regards,
    Andy

    Reply
    1. Eunice Fownes

      So interesting to read this article. Leonard Payne was my father and I worked for him for 6 years after I finished school until I got married and we started a family. We did immigrate to Canada in 1956 from Kent in England and he did have a large factory in England called Medway Briar Pipes. Leonard met his wife Unity when they both worked in the briar pipe industry in England when they were both young. Unity was a pipe finisher and continued to help him finishing pipes when he opened his Canadian factory in Surrey, BC under the name of Leonard Payne Originals. My husband and I travelled across Canada for 3 years selling his pipes and calling on his customers. My husband also worked in the factory for a short time after he finished high school. My father was a sheet metal fabricator by trade in the Air Force during World War 2 – he then opened up his own briar pipe factory in England after the war. He applied to come to Canada and was accepted into Canada as he was bringing a new industry to this country. We did not have any relatives in Canada. He employed several people and had a very lucrative business during his working years. He did not have any sons and sold the business which did not last very long. I too have friends that still own and smoke Leonard Payne Original pipes. I trust this information is helpful to you. My name is Eunice Fownes (nee Eunice Payne)

      Reply
      1. Carol and John Mould

        Hi this is Carol Mould(nee Payne) your cousin, Johnnys daughter, been looking for a connection for ages, to get in touch, have found through re born pipes.

        Reply

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