My copy of this book was published by Interfocus Publishing, Bristol, England. It is marked a First Edition and dated 2000. The cover of this of my edition is seen to the left and is the publisher’s original illustrated card wrap cover [softback]. It contains 59 printed pages of text with colour illustrations and photographs throughout.
On the inside cover there is a dedication that reads: To Pipe Men Everywhere from Ogden’s of Liverpool.
Across the page from the dedication is a Welcome from the editors that reads as follows:
“The Pipeman’s Companion is an unashamed celebration of the pleasures of the pipe and pipe smoking. It is brought to you by Ogden’s of Liverpool – Britain’s leading pipe tobacco manufacturer, whose world renowned brands include Gold Block, Amphora and the best-selling St. Bruno. The Pipeman’s Companion is also an invaluable reference work that all discerning pipe men will want to return to time and again. We have attempted to cover every fascinating facet of the history and practice of pipe smoking, with the aim of enhancing every pipe smoker’s understanding and enjoyment of this most satisfying of pastimes – be they experienced by pipe men, or eager new recruits. Ogden’s of Liverpool, with its distinguished past, looks forward to remaining a trusted companion to pipe men for many years to come.”
A brief glance at the table of contents gives a clear idea of what is included in the pages of the book.
Chapter One – pages 2-11 – The Smoking Story, Five Hundred Years of Pipe Smoking
Chapter Two – pages 12-20 – The Tobacco Story, Blended to Perfection
Chapter Three – pages 22-33 – The Pipe Story, Crafted with Devotion
Chapter Four – pages 34-39 – The use and Maintenance Story, A Friend for Life
Chapter Five – pages 40-47 – The Ogden’s Story, Sweet Smell of Success
Chapter Six – pages 48-53 – The Antiques Story, Bringing the Past to Life
Chapter Seven – pages 54-57 – The World Story, Pipe Smoking Across the Globe
The Glossary – pages 58-59 – Pipe Smoking, Tobacco and Pipe Terminology
The book is a beautiful table top sized book filled with highly readable text and many photos of pipes, etchings, artwork and photos of antique pipe and tobacciana. The sidebars of each page are filled with historical pictures and short notes on all things pipe and tobacco related. These side bars run next to the main body of the text and are a pleasure to read by themselves. In Chapter Three there is a great photo spread and short side bar expanded over several pages about Bill Ashton Taylor and his Ashton pipes. It has some great photos of Bill turning bowls, filing stems and flaming stain on newly made pipes. Include are charts of pipe shapes and the anatomy of a pipe etc. The pipe chapter includes not just briar but also Clay and Meerschaum with some great photos of carving and shaping Meerschaum pipes.
Chapter Four on pipe maintenance is well written and includes material on pipe lighters, matches, pipe reamers and tampers. This chapter has charts on reaming correctly and on common pipe problems solved. It is interestingly written with a great wealth of information in the space of a few pages generously interspersed with colour photos of pipes and pipe tools.
Chapter Five is a history of Ogden’s of Liverpool from its beginning to the early years of the 2000’s. It is again richly written and there are some amazing photos included of tins from the Ogden Tobacco line as well as great photos of the factory and production floor. The side bars in this section continue the tradition of the previous chapters in including tidbits of information and historic photos and artwork. For instance there is a full page of advertisements and posters for St Bruno. These alone are fascinating.
Chapter Six is on Antique Pipes and gives a collection of photos of all kinds of pipes. There is a front spread of carved Meerschaum pipes that is beautiful. Some of the pipes are huge while others are delicate and unusual. There is for instance a cased set of a Victorian couple lying in bed – two pipe bowls inserted under the “Covers” with stems set in the cover of the pipe case.
Chapter Seven is a quick world tour through word and photographs of the state of pipe smoking. It is well written and captures the universal appeal of the pipe and tobacco.
The book ends with a useful glossary of terminology. It covers pipe shapes, pipe anatomy, pipe repairs and types of tobacco and cuts of tobacco. It also covers pipe accessories and how they are used. It is a helpful list with short definitions.
The Pipeman’s Companion is a well written book that is a great read and visual display of all things pipe related. It is easily a book that could be read as you smoke your favourite bowl of St. Bruno’s or as you sit and read by the fire on a cold winter’s evening. It will provide hours of enjoyment and is a great refresher to the long time pipeman as well as important information to the new pipe smoker. It truly welcomes us into the world of pipemen throughout history. Well done Ogden’s of Liverpool for a well crafted book on the world of the pipe. Thank you for your work in producing this book.