Daily Archives: July 25, 2015

Restoring a 20’s Era LHS PUREX Patent 1587048 Octagonal Pot


Blog by Steve Laug
LHS The pipe I chose to work on is stamped on the left side of the shank LHS in a Diamond then PUREX. Underneath is the stamping PATN 1587048. On the right side it is stamped Real Briar Root. On the underside of the shank is stamped 69. The pipe is in decent shape for a oldtimer. It is tiny and delicate looking and that is hard to capture in these photos. The length of the pipe is 5 ¼ inches, the diameter of the bowl is 1 1/8 inches, the bowl height is1 3/8 inches. The bore on the bowl is 5/8 inches. The diameter of the shank and the stem is 3/8 inches. The stem is lightly oxidized and has some tooth chatter on the top and bottom near the button. The finish is dark and dirty with worn spots showing through the varnish that covered it. The aluminum on the shank and the stem was oxidized and lightly pitted.LHS1

LHS2 The bowl was slightly out of round on the back inner edge. There were some nicks in the inner edge and on the rim top.LHS3 Here is a close-up of the rim showing the nicks and damage to the rim.LHS3a

LHS4 I did a bit of searching on the internet and on the Pipephil site I found my pipe – An LHS Patent Purex. It is stamped like the second pipe in the photo below and has the Real Briar on the right side of the shank. The stem has a combination of the dot pattern in the photo below. Mine is in the pattern of the second one on the yellow stem but it has two white dots on the sides with a red dot in the middle.LHS5

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LHS7 I also researched the patent number and it led me to the following diagram and patent information. It was filed in 1924 and awarded on June 1, 1926. The interesting thing is that it combines some of the concepts from a later patent filing on July 1, 1932 and granted on May 9, 1933. The stamping places it as a 1926 pipe. The shape of the stinger and the threaded mortise make me think of the 1926 pipe in many ways. I cannot see deep enough into the pencil shank to see if there is a metal cup insert in the shank behind the mortise. Maybe that will become clear in the cleanup. The smooth portion of the tenon after the threads and the metal disk that is threaded into the stem make me think of the 1933 patent pipe. The threaded mortis is the same in both but if it ends in the shank without the cup then it has a lot of similarity to the 1933. The 1926 patent gives me a start date for this pipe and the 1933 patent gives me an end date. The fact that the metal works combine both makes me wonder if the pipe did not come out of the factor late 1920s or early 1930s just prior to the new patent release in 1933. I am including the two different patents for you to see the interesting combination in this pipe.LHS8

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LHS11 I have screen captured the insert in the shank and the stinger apparatus from the 1926 patent drawings. Figure 2 shows the stinger. It is identical in both the 1926 and the 1933 patent drawings. Figure 3 shows a metal cup that is inserted in the shank. The mortise end is threaded to receive the threads on the tenon. Figure 4 shows the end of the stem looking at the head on the stinger. The slot is at the top. Figure 5 shows the inside of the shank looking at it from the end. The mortise end is threaded and the cup has an airway hole in the center of the rounded end. That end sits against the airway from the bottom of the bowl as seen in Figure 6. When I started cleaning out the shank I was unsure of the interior. Once I was cleaning it I was certain that I was working with the insert that is shown in these figures. The inside of the shank is smooth and shiny now that it is clean. Looking down the shank with a flash light it is visible.LHS12 Here is a photo of the stinger – note the length of the tenon behind the stinger – particularly the smooth portion. Note also the metal plate on against the stem that is threaded and inserted into the vulcanite of the stem.LHS13 I have also included a screen capture below of Figure 2 from the 1933 patent drawings. The insert in the shank is shorter than the 1926 version and does not include the cup. The tenon is the same though it has a longer smooth portion. It also has a plate that rest against the face of the stem when inserted.LHS14 The rim damage required me to lightly top the bowl to minimize it and flatten the top of the rim. Doing so removed most of the damage and brought the bowl back into round.LHS15

LHS16 I wiped the bowl down with acetone on cotton pads to try to break down the varnish coat. I sanded it with a fine grit sanding sponge to open the surface. It was stubborn stuff to remove. There was some beautiful grain under the dark varnish coat.LHS17

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LHS19 I still did not have the varnish coat removed so I dropped the bowl into an alcohol bath to let it soak. The dark colour of the alcohol bath comes from all of the bowls that have soaked in it in the past. I filter it but the dark colour remains. I like it as it adds a bit of a patina to the briar as it soaks there.LHS20 While the bowl soaked I worked on the stem. I cleaned out the inside of the stem and cleaned the stinger with pipe cleaners, cotton pads and alcohol.LHS21 With the inside clean I decided to take a break from working on this pipe and went out to enjoy a bit of sunshine while it is here in Vancouver. Rain is forecast and coming in even while I am outside. I picked about 6 pints of blueberries while I was outside.

When I came back to the pipe after it had been sitting in the bath for about an hour and a half. I dried it off with a paper towel. The varnish coat was gone and the topped bowl had picked up a patina from the bath that almost matched the colour of the briar of the bowl.LHS22

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LHS26 I scrubbed out the cup insert and mortise in the shank. It took a lot of scrubbing. I did not want to use the retort as I was not sure what the stem material was and did not want to risk dissolving it with the hot alcohol. I scrubbed it with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners until they finally came out clean. I shone a flashlight down the shank from the bowl and the mortise and it was sparkling and shiny. It was indeed the cup insert – all doubts were removed.LHS27 With the insides and outside clean I rubbed the bowl down with a light coat of olive oil to highlight the grain. When it dried it made the grain pop and the rim colour was a match. I will need to give it multiple coats of carnauba wax once I am finished with the stem. The bowl however is going to be a beauty.LHS28

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LHS32 The nicks in the inner rim bothered me so I folded a piece of sandpaper and worked on the inner edge to smooth it out while keeping it round.LHS33

LHS34 I then mixed two stain pens – a medium and a dark brown to match the colour of the bowl and try to blend the rim in more closely. I then sanded the rim with a 3200 grit micromesh sanding pad to work on the blend even more.LHS35 I buffed the bowl with White Diamond and then set it aside so that I could finish working on the stem. I sanded it lightly with a fine grit sanding sponge and then worked on it with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads, rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil and then dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads. I gave it another coat and then sanded it with 6000-12000 grit pads. When I finished I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry.LHS36

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LHS38 I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the wheel and then gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean flannel buffing pad and then by hand with a microfibre cloth to give depth to the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. LHS39

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LHS44 Thanks for looking.

A Book Review – Back From the Ashes: Uncovering the Lost History of G.L. Hunt and the Falcon Pipe by K.A. Worth


Blog by Steve Laug
51Ja9LXHtyL I first picked this book up at a Chicago Pipe Show at a table where G.L. Hunt’s daughter, K.A. Worth was selling her new book on her father and the Falcon Pipe. I remember sitting and talking with her about the book and the pipe and being fascinated with both the history of the pipe and the man. It is a memory that runs through my mind each time I pick up this book or one of the Falcons that I have in my pipe cupboard. She autographed my copy which only enhances the memory of that day in Chicago.

Her book is divided into two parts. The first section she calls The Pipe People and it covers a little over 100 pages. The second section she calls The Pipes and it covers about 60 pages. I have included a screen shot of the Table of Contents to show how the book is laid out. Prior to the first part she has an Introduction and following the second part is an Epilogue.

The Introduction sets the stage for the book. It starts with the following quote: “It all began in the imagination of an American engineer. Prolific inventor Kenly Bugg of Ft. Wayne, Indiana, put pencil to paper and soon a revolutionary new smoker’s pipe emerged… Bugg patented his Falcon design on August 21, 1945… Enter the genius of G.L. Hunt and his company, Diversey Machine Works – an oft quoted statistic has George Hunt selling some six million Falcons by 1954 in the United States alone.”

The author goes on with a brief survey and concludes the Intro with this quote: “In this volume we will chronicle the development of the Falcon pipe and the Falcon companies, along the way paying tribute to those who ushered the pipe to worldwide renown. Here we will provide what will surely prove the most comprehensive Falcon history to date… Come now… let’s step inside…”

The quote gives the reader the author’s purpose for the book and invites them into the pages of her book. Let’s look at the parts and evaluate whether she fulfilled her purpose.

PART ONE: The Pipe People

“…The Falcon Pipe is the most unique in all the pipe world. I know you are familiar with the tremendous success of the Falcon Pipe here in the States and the success it has enjoyed throughout the Sterling Countries – those people and companies that are associated with Falcon Pipe do become known as “The Pipe People”… George L. Hunt – May 1963.”

This quote is on the header page of the first part of the book. With it the author introduces the man and the process of development of the Falcon. She tells it through her interactions with her grandfather and the archives of material that she read through in preparation for this book. It is a fascinating way to tell the story and is immensely readable and it the method that she uses throughout the book. It is the largest part of the book, Chapters 1-10, and really gives the most clear, readable and concise history of the brand that is available.

In this review, rather than go chapter by chapter and summarize the contents, I will summarize each part of the book and give a more global picture of the book. I am not as concerned to give a view per page as to give the potential purchaser a feel for what is included in the book itself. They can read the details themselves.

PART ONE is the overall history of the brand from when author’s grandfather bought the patents to when the pipe came to be one of the most well-known brands of throughout history. She looks at the pipe from its inception and the connection between the inventor and her grandfather through to its expansion into the British market with a view of the struggles and strains that went with that expansion. Thus she takes the reader on the journey from patent of the Falcon to its manufacture and marketing. She does not skip over all of the glitches and struggles along the way but describes them in a humorous style that makes the reader a part of the discovery process she is on in writing the book. There is also background information given on each of the key individuals in the mix – Kenly Bugg, G.L. Hunt, David E. Morris, Howard Hodgkins and Michael Jim Dixon. Many others are listed and covered as well but these seem to be key players who interact with and cause change in the life and direction of the Falcon brand. The first part ends with a picture of an advertisement for a Falcon Universal Pipe Companion and a brief paragraph bringing the history of the brand to an end.

PART TWO: The Pipe

This part of the book gives the reader an in-depth look at the pipe itself. The author includes quite a few photos of different bowls and stems as well as a variety of advertizing brochures and pamphlets issued by Falcon. Even flipping through the photos gives the reader a good idea of the variety and scope of the Falcon pipe and its enthusiasts. It is an amazing collection of photos and pamphlets/brochures.
The Part begins with a brief description of the harvesting and curing of briar for the Falcon bowls. There are also production drawings and outcomes of the number of bowls that were turned in a given year. There is even a photo of a meerschaum lined briar bowl (that is one that I have never seen anywhere). The next section covers the manufacture of the base and stem for the pipe. It is a fascinating read and the pictures of the bases and the stamping is helpful in making sense of the various bases that I have. There are many different examples of Falcon bowls and bases throughout the section.

There is a section on the variations on the British scene in terms of Falcon shapes and sizes. Again the author includes many advertisements and photos. Also there is information on the Alco line and the Brentford line. I had heard about Falcon making the Alco pipes but I was unfamiliar with the Brentfords. There is information on the development of the coloured bowls and bases and the Shillelagh line coming out of Ireland. Several other Falcon lines that I was unfamiliar with end Part Two. Falcon produced a pipe with a pyrolitic graphite lined bowl, a filter version of the pipe and finally a line of pipe related products for the pipe smoker. These included finger pipe tampers (look like thimbles), dry rings for wet smokers, Falcon pipe spray pipe cleaner, matches, mix and match bowls, tobacco blends and much more.

Part Two is by far my favourite part of the book because it takes a lot of the various Falcon pipes that I have had in the shop and gives the background and rationale of the variations. The pictures and drawings as well as flyers etc. give a clear picture of the brand at its height.

The book ends with an Epilogue that pulls together all of the final pieces of the history of the company and the pipe.

It is a well written easy to read book. I would unhesitatingly recommend it to anyone wanting to know about the history and the variety of Falcon pipes and also those who may want a quick introduction before purchasing and enjoying a pipe. Well worth a read and many rereads. I refer to my copy whenever I am working on a Falcon to get a better idea of where it fits into the chronology of the brand. Buy it! You will not regret this great addition to pipe history.

Rejuvenating an English Made Sandblast Jobey Nut Bruyere Push Stem Billiard 050


Blog by Steve Laug

This is another pipe find from the Idaho Falls antique mall. I am pretty certain it comes from the era that Jobey made pipes in Britain. It is a very proper British looking sandblast saddle stem billiard. The blast is quite nice revealing some great swirls and crags. It is not a deep blast but it is a medium one that stands out well. The pipe is stamped on the underside of the flat shank with Jobey over Nut Bruyere toward the front of the pipe. Moving back toward the stem it is stamped Imported Bruyere over 050. The stem has the Jobey insert on the top of the saddle and it is stamped on the right side – English Para.Jobey1 The pipe is solid but dirty. The stem is not badly oxidized at all bearing testimony to the quality of the vulcanite. The stem also has an inner tube insert in the tenon. This pipe was in the same lot as the White Flame billiard that I just finished and posted early. The stem is dirty but not oxidized. The sandblast finish is also dirty with dust and grime in the valleys of the blast. The rim is almost flat with the build-up of tars. The bowl is still round with no damage to the inner or out edge of the rim. There is slight cake build-up in the bowl. Internally the shank and mortise area are very clean – pristine is the proper word. The inner tube inserts into the airway in the shank so the mortise is fresh briar. The fit of the stem in the shank is tight and inserts with a click. This pipe is in pretty decent shape other than the cosmetics I have noted above.Jobey2

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Jobey4 I took a close-up photo of the bowl rim and the cake to show the state of both when I started the cleanup.Jobey5 The shank and mortise appeared to be pristine and clean as I mentioned above. I took a photo of the mortise and the inner tube on the stem.Jobey6 I started the cleanup with a gentle reaming of the bowl. I took the cake back to bare briar. I like to start with a clean bowl on the pipes I refurbish. I know others leave a thin cake but I have chosen the “cakeless” route.Jobey7

JObey8 I scrubbed the blast and rim with Murphy’s Oil Soap. I used a short bristle tooth brush and a brass bristle tooth brush to scrub the briar. When I had finished and rinsed the bowl I used the long bristle tooth brush to polish it a bit.Jobey9

Jobey10 The next series of pictures show the bowl after the scrub and rinse with running water. The briar looks really good. The blast is clean and the rim looks like new – just a wee bit of darkening.Jobey11

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Jobey14 With the outside clean it was time to swab out the shank airway, mortise and bowl. I used alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. The seemingly pristine mortise actually was quite clean. Just a few cotton swabs and a pipe cleaner took care of the little bit of tars that were there.Jobey15 I used a dental pick to clean out the slot in the button. I scrubbed the internals of the inner tube and the externals with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The stem was not too dirty and it did not take too much to clean it out.Jobey16 I sanded the stem with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge and then moved on to working over it with the micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and then rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil. I continued by dry sanding, before the oil dried, with 3200-4000 grit pads. I lightly buffed the stem with red Tripoli and White Diamond and then finished dry sanding with 6000-12000 grit micromesh pads. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.JObey17

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JObey19 I tried a new wax on the sandblast. I have used it before on other pipes but never on a blast. It is called Conservator’s Wax which is a microcrystalline cleaner and wax product. I applied it to the blast by hand rubbing it in lightly, making sure it did not clump up in the grooves. Once it dried I buffed the bowl with a shoe brush. The picture below shows the buffed briar.Jobey20 I lightly buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffer and gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the bowl and stem with a clean flannel buff and then hand buffed the pipe with a microfibre cloth to give the polish depth and a deeper sheen. The finished pipe is shown below. It is clean and ready to fire up!Jobey21

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