Daily Archives: April 1, 2015

A Savinelli Catalogue Smuggled from Argentina by a Pipe Patriot

Guest Blog by Robert M. Boughton
Member, North American Society of Pipe Collectors
Photos Provided by Gustavo Capozzi

“The original is unfaithful to the translation.” ― Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges, KBE(1889-1986), Argentine short story writer, essayist, poet, translator and Knight of the British Empire, regarding Henley’s translation of Beckford’s “Vathek” [1943]

I noticed fairly frequent comments from a certain Argentine member of the Smokers Forums on various threads of mine as well as others, but his note on my most recent post about the restoration of a Savinelli Panama Bent Bulldog #111 KS was – in particular because of the broken English that seemed to me even more apropos to his meaning – eloquent and moving. The member, whose real name I now know is Gustavo Capozzi, referred to a comment I made, that I never bought a Savinelli I didn’t like, when he wrote:

“Robert I agree with you. When I´m a young boy, looked through the window the Savinelli pipes, and as people with money buy.In my student days had only national pipes and an Albanian as ‘imported’.I have a catalog Savinelli of that time where I enjoyed. Even today I could not get some. Congratulations!”

Concluding from the message that he has never owned a Savinelli, I experienced a series of vivid mental images of the young Gustavo growing into manhood, saving the cherished Savinelli catalogue and never being able to afford one or, now, to find the fine Italian brand anywhere in his native country because of governmental commercial import regulations. To be open to the point of risking sounding mushy, I was very touched. And the final word of congratulations to my good fortune added a sense of downright guilt.

In a private message to him on the Forums, I suggested that our host, Steve, would likely be quite interested in the catalogue, which Sr. Capozzi agreed to photograph and email. In fact, he replied that he had already done so, with such speed that I was further struck by his deep love of Savinellis. However, in a case of miscommunication, I believed he had sent the photos to Steve. Eager to know that they were received, Sr. Capozzi wrote to me again, and I contacted Steve, who responded that he had no such email. When I relayed this news to him, he dashed back the frantic note, “emails were sent to you!!!!!!”

With a rising sickness in my stomach, I searched my email, not finding anything. Then I found all but the first batch in the WRONG Junk Mail folder (only with MS Office, I know) and hastened to alleviate Sr. Capozzi’s clear agitation. He shot back the first eight photos.

As a final note before posting the catalogue, I will just add that Sr. Capozzi and I turned out to be mutual fans of the great Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, whose quote above seemed fitting to the means of my new friend’s photo translation of the catalogue for our enjoyment and learning…and how much there is to learn from this marvelous catalogue is astonishing: pipe lines, shape charts, dry system pipes, filter dry systems, accessories and even “suggestions.”Sav1 Sav2 Sav3 Sav4 Sav5 Sav6 Sav7 Sav8 Sav9 Sav10 Sav11 Sav12 Sav13 Sav14 Sav15 Sav16 Sav17 Sav18 Sav19 Sav20 Sav21 Sav22 Sav23 Sav24 Sav25 Sav26 Sav27 Sav28 Sav29 Sav30 Sav31 Sav32 Sav33 Sav34 Sav35 Sav36 Sav37 Sav38 Sav39 Sav40 Sav41 Sav42 Sav43 Sav44 There happens to be one particular Savinelli in my possession that I have good reason to suspect would make an excellent first for him, if I can find a way to clear Argentina’s red tape. And, of course, provided Sr. Capozzi will give me his address.

A Rebirth for a pair of Duncan Hill Aerosphere Pipes

Blog by Steve Laug

The last pair of pipes needing refurbishing from my gift box was a pair of Duncan Hill Aerosphere pipes – one a smooth pot and the other a rusticated billiard. I have had quite a few Duncan Hill pipes over the years and sold some, restemmed others without the reverse tenon system and really never paid much attention to them. The pot was a nice piece of briar and actually quite clean. The finish was in good shape though dirty. The inserted reverse tenon was loose and would need to be repaired. The bowl was dirty and had some pieces of tobacco attached to the walls of the bowl. The rim was in great shape. The stem was oxidized and the round brass carburetor hole was plugged. There was minimal tooth chatter on the stem and no bite marks that would need to be repaired. The stamping was slightly worn in the middle but it still clearly read Aerosphere over Duncan Hill over Ltd.Aero1 The rusticated billiard was also fairly clean though there was dried wax stuck in the grooves of the rustication. The rim top was quite dirty with tars and oils built up and filling in the rustication. The bowl had a light cake and tobacco leaf stuck on the bowl sides. The finish was workable but dirty. The stem was in better shape than the one on the pot. It was dirty and had sticky tape remnants on the top but there was little oxidation and no tooth chatter. The carburetor on this one was also clogged and the stem was loose on the reverse tenon. It was stamped with the same stamping as the smooth pot but on a smooth band on the bottom of the shank.Aero2






Aero8 I removed the stems and put the bowls in my alcohol bath to soak for a while. While they were soaking I wanted to do a bit of research on the brand and see what I could discover about it. I was curious to look for patent information and old advertisements to see if I could discover the marketing schemes that made this quite a prolific seller over the years.Aero9 I Googled Duncan Hill Aerosphere and the first bit I found was from a Google group for ASP. There I found the following quote. I have the reference link placed at the end of the quote if you want to follow up on the information: “The Duncan Hill Aerosphere smoking system (U.S. patent #4,275,747) utilizes the same principle of physics as the manometer. The Aerosphere, visible as the brass pin on the side of the mouthpiece, brings a scientifically measured amount of air into the stem with each puff. The control of the amount of air and the velocity of the air produces two effects that result in superior smoking pipe performance.” https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.smokers.pipes/GUxdN5Dus4Q

I also found a link to an advertisement for the brand featuring the designer in Popular Mechanics Magazine, February 1980, pg. 31 on Google books. Here is the link:
https://books.google.ca/books?id=m9UDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA31&lpg=PA31&dq=Duncan+Hill+Aerosphere+Pipes&source=bl&ots=tR4egGI0ig&sig=XeACE0-Vh19-1JNcA0kAgS87kRI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=p1QbVbPTEpLvoATEpoLoCQ&ved=0CBwQ6AEwADgU#v=onepage&q=Duncan%20Hill%20Aerosphere%20Pipes&f=false Aero10 Next is an advertisement from Popular Mechanics Magazine, September 1982, pg. 216 on google books. Here is the link. https://books.google.ca/books?id=f9kDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA216&lpg=PA216&dq=Duncan+Hill+Aerosphere+Pipes&source=bl&ots=fsZtVqD0z9&sig=Kl3wI-76NJqpFxAg8SPndnnWyqM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=owEcVdGGKdj9oQSD_4L4Bw&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAjgo#v=onepage&q=Duncan%20Hill%20Aerosphere%20Pipes&f=false Aero11 Finally using the patent number in the ASP quote I was able to find the patent documents for the pipe on the US Patent Office site. I have included the documents from the US Patent Office here. There are four pages – 2 of drawings and two of description.Aero12



Aero15 I love finding this old information and reading about the persistent search for the dryer cooler smoking pipe that has led to many creative solutions. It lends some colour to the work of my refurbishing to be able to read about the design ideas and the inventors themselves as I work on the pipes. Armed with new information I worked on the stems while the bowls were soaking in the alcohol bath. I cleaned the inside and outside of the stems with 99% isopropyl alcohol on cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. It took some scrubbing to clean out the grime built up around the interior of the carburetor insert in the stem and in the second chamber below the airway in the stem. The tars and oils were built up in there but far less so than I would have expected on these pipes from the 1980s.Aero16





Aero21 With the stems cleaned and the carburetor air hole opened in both of them with a dental pick it was time to take the bowls out of the alcohol bath and begin to work on them.Aero22 I dried off the bowls and pulled the loose reverse tenon out of the shank of the pot. I cleaned the shank with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners then pressed the loose piece back in place. Once the alcohol evaporated the fit was tight. I cleaned the shanks on both pipes until the pipe cleaners and swabs came out white.Aero23


Aero25 By the time I finished cleaning out the shanks the bowls had dried enough to ream them with the PipNet reamer. I cut back the cake in the billiard to the bare wood and cleaned up the light cake in the pot.Aero26 In the photo below the wall of the billiard on the left looks damaged. I used a slightly larger reaming head and took back the remaining cake until the wood was clean and solid.Aero27 Then it was time to work on the stems. I did a rough sand with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the sticky build up on the darker of the stems and to break up the oxidation on the other one. I followed that by sanding them both with a medium and fine grit sanding sponge.Aero28

Aero29 I put them on the pipes to have a look at the progress of the restoration.Aero30 I buffed the stems with red Tripoli and worked on the stubborn oxidation on the one stem. I then buffed it with White Diamond. I took them back to the work table and sanded them with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12,000 grit pads. Aero31


Aero33 I rubbed the stems down with Obsidian Oil and when it had been absorbed I buffed the stems with Blue Diamond plastic polish. The oxidation still showed on the one stem so I started again and sanded it with the medium and fine grit stem and repeated the process through the micromesh and buffing until I had conquered the oxidation.Aero34



Aero37 I buffed the stems with Blue Diamond once again and gave them multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the smooth bowl with carnauba and a soft flannel buff. I stained the rusticated bowl with dark brown aniline stain diluted 1:2 with isopropyl alcohol and then buffed it with White Diamond. I finished that pipe with several coats of Halcyon II wax. The finished pipes are shown in the photos below.Aero38