A Treasure Box from my Brother in Idaho


Blog by Steve Laug

Class1A few weeks ago my brother sent me the next two photos on Facebook Messenger to see I was interested in any of these pipes. You can see from the assortment in the photos that it was a mixed lot. There were some nice looking pipes in the photos and from my first glance I could see a Savinelli, a Dr. Grabow, a Carey Magic Inch or two, a Kirsten and some odds and ends that were unidentifiable. He thought they looked interesting and asked my opinion. My suggestion was to not go with the prices marked on the pipes but to make an offer for the lot. He did so and the pipes were soon on their way to him.

He has been picking up a lot of old pipes lately and sending them to me to work on. I think he likes the hunt as much as I do and dickering for a deal is in our blood. This batch had sixteen pipes in it. The initial offer had been for 14 pipes but the seller threw in the boxy looking freehand and the Kirsten for free so he ended up getting the pipes for around $10 each.

I could not wait to see what was in the box once it arrived beside the ones that I could identify from the photos. Time would tell what kind of deal we got when the pipes arrived.box2 When they arrived in Idaho from the seller in Montana my brother and I spoke on FaceTime and he went through the pipes with me. We had done all right. There were four Cary Magic Inch pipes in various shapes. There were five GBDs – 2 of which were GBD made (bearing shape numbers) shop pipes for what I am guessing is Poor Richards pipe shop in Bozeman, Montana. There were two Savinelli Canadians (one Classica and one Citation). There was one Kirsten with the Patent Applied for Stamping. Finally there was a mixed assortment that included a Chadwick Rhodesian, a Wm Wales Billiard, a Monza horn and a Dr. Grabow Colour Viscount. All of them came with heavily caked bowls and heavily chewed stems. He had made a great connection on this lot – not to bad for $10 a pipe.

He packaged them up, wrapping each one in bubble wrap and sent them to me in Canada. When the package arrived I was pretty stoked to open it and see the pipes up close. I unwrapped each from the bubble wrap and took a photo of the haul. It is not often that I get a box of pipes like this in the mail. I was like a kid opening a Christmas present. The seller had also included the empty Savinelli Grand Prix box in the package. It was in perfect shape but sadly did not have the pipe included.box3 I took the pipes out of the box and set them up in groups to photograph them. I wanted to see each group together to see the general trend in shapes. It was interesting to me to note that each group probably came from separate pipe smokers. Here are my initial observations. I will add more as I work through the pipes in the various groups.

The Carey pipes had stems that were full of tooth marks and chatter but were all salvageable and were all original stems. I think the Carey pipes all came from the same pipe man.

The GBD pipes were the worst of the lot. They had seen a lot of use and the smoker had been a chomper! All had replacement stems that were poorly done, not one original GBD stem in the lot. Not one of them actually fit the shank correctly or matched the diameter of the shank. All of them were gnawed to the point of non-return and would need to be replaced. The state of the bowls was another issue – all of them had a thick cake and tarred rims. I believe this lot came from the same pipesmoker.

The Savinelli Citation had the same kind of damage as the GBDs and the same kind of lousy replacement stem that was gnawed to the point of no return – same pipesmoker. The stemless one was in great shape and had not been in the hands of the GBD man or it would have looked worse for wear. The Kirsten stem was very clean with no damage. The bowl had a thick cake and looked like had never been reamed or cleaned but it was otherwise in very good shape.

The assorted lot had fared far better and the stems on all of them were in good shape. These and the Kirsten probably all came from assorted pipesmokers and did not seem to be connected to the other two large groups above. The Chadwick was in rough shape with rim damage and dented stem. The Wm Wales was in decent shape. The Monza was a mess and may have come from the GBD pipe smoker. The stem was a replacement and gnawed beyond repair. The shank was cracked and the bowl heavily caked. The Grabow was in really good shape – the painted finish was in excellent condition and the stem other than being overclocked was clean with minimal tooth chatter. I have described in more detail each pipe per group according to the photos that follow.

The first photo below shows the Carey Magic Inch pipes. From top to bottom they include the Freehand, a small Apple and a large Apple all bearing Patent number stamps. The last one is a newer finish that is available on the Carey website and it in decent shape. The pipes are stamped as follows according to the order in the photo.

The first pipe is a Freehand and is stamped Carey over Magic Inch over Pat. No. 3267941 on the left side of the shank. On the right side it is stamped Mediterranean over Briar Israel. It was in the best shape of the Carey pipes. The stem had tooth chatter and was dirty. The briar was dirty and the bowl caked but it would clean up nicely.

The second pipe is a small Apple shaped pipe and is stamped Carey over Magic Inch over Pat. No. 3267941 on the left side of the shank. On the right side it is stamped Grecian in block letters. This one is dirty and the stem had tooth chatter and bite marks. When I removed the stem it also has a Papyrate filter in place on the reverse tenon.

The third pipe is a larger Billiard shaped pipe and is stamped Carey over Magic Inch over Pat. No. 3267941 on the left side of the shank. On the right it is stamped Grecian in block letters. Like the one above it is dirty and the stem is covered with tooth chatter and some tooth marks.

The fourth pipe is the newest one in the lot and is a small Billiard. It has a light sand blast finish and is stained a dark brown/black matte. On the underside of the shank it is stamped Carey over Magic Inch over Pat. No. 3267941 and next to that toward the stem it is stamped Grecian in block letters. The condition of this one is the same as those above. The stem is less worn than the others but still has tooth chatter.box4 The next photo below shows the GBD pipes. From the top to the bottom of the photo they are stamped as follows.

The first pipe is stamped Poor Richards on the left side and Made in London England with a 201 shape number on the right side. The shape number is next to the stem and on the left of the Made in London stamp. The 201 shape is a GBD large billiard. The briar is in decent shape and the stem is obviously a replacement. It is almost as if the previous owner just stuck a stem in the shank to keep smoking it.

The second pipe is stamped GBD in a oval above International over London Made on the left side of the shank. On the right side it is stamped London England in a line over the shape number 508. The bowl has the faux plateau rim that was on some of the Internationals that I have cleaned and restored. The stem is the best of the replacement stems and is the correct shape for this number pipe. It is damaged and will need to be cut back or replaced.

The third pipe is stamped GBD in an oval with London Made arched underneath following the curve of the oval on the left side of the shank. On the right side it is stamped with the circular com stamp – Made in London that I have seen on Comoy’s pipes and Cadogan era GBDs. Next to that is stamped the shape number K9436. I am not sure what the K preceding the shape number means as I have not seen that before. The 9436 was a straight billiard that had a round saddle stem originally. The finish is dirty and the poorly made replacement stem is chewed beyond repair.

The fourth pipe is stamped GBD in an oval over International over London Made on the left side of the shank. This international is a traditional billiard shape with a flat rim. The right side of the shank is stamped London England in a line over the shape number 9436 – the same shape number as the third pipe in the batch. This too has a poorly made replacement stem that will need to be replaced.

The fifth pipe is stamped Poor Richards over Select over Bozeman Montana on the left side of the shank. On the right side it is stamped London England in a line over the shape number 9489 which is a GBD square shank billiard. This also has a poorly made replacement stem that is gnawed beyond repair and will need to be replaced.box5 The next photo below shows the two Savinelli pipes, both were shape 812 which is a the Savinell shape number for a Canadian. The first is stamped Citation and the shape number on the underside of the shank and the second is stamped Classica with the Savinelli Shield and Made in Italy and shape number on the underside of the shank. Both of these were in decent shape. The stem on the Citation was a poorly fitted replacement that was also gnawed beyond repair.box6 The next photo below shows a Kirsten pipe that is evidently an early one. On the metal barrel it is stamped Kirsten in script on the left side and on the underside it is stamped Pats. & Pats. Pend. – A. This dates it as early in the Kirsten manufacture. The stem and the end valve are both frozen in place. The bowl is removable and does not have a metal plate on the underside.box7 The last photo below shows the assorted group of pipes. They are as follows from top to bottom in the photo.

The first pipe is a Rhodesian and is stamped Chadwick in script on the left side of the shank. On the right side it is stamped Imported Briar. The stem is full of tooth marks but is reusable. The bowl is heavily caked and had damage to the rings on the front of the cap.

The second pipe is a billiard and is stamped Wm Wales in script on the left side of the shank and Grecian in script on the right side. The stamping of Grecian is similar to that on the Carey pipes that bear that are also stamped Grecian but in block letters. Not sure of the manufacturer of this one. The stem is in decent shape and is repairable.

The third pipe is stamped Monza over Tinderbox and Italy on the left side of the shank. The stem is chewed beyond repair and the shank is cracked. The finish is in rough shape and is coated in glossy urethane.

The fourth pipe is a Dr. Grabow and is in good shape. The finish and the stem are excellent. The overclocked stem should be easy to fix. It is stamped Dr. Grabow over Adjustomatic on the left side of the shank.box8 This was going to be an interesting batch of pipes to clean up and repair. I have already repaired and posted the clean up and restoration of the Chadwick, the Monza, the Grabow, the Classica and the Citation Canadians and the Carey Magic Inch Freehand on the blog. I am in process of restoring the Kirsten. The bowl is finished and the stem removed and polished. The metal barrel is soaking to hopefully make the removal of the end valve possible. That means I have 9 more pipes to finish. Keep an eye on the blog to see the restoration of the rest of the lot. Who knows maybe I will finish these before I get another lot to restore.

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4 thoughts on “A Treasure Box from my Brother in Idaho

  1. Old Man in the Cave

    In another life I was a mechanic/machinist. Often things such as brake drums and shafts needed to be heated with a torch to break them loose. The Kirsten, being aluminum, has a low melting point (1,221°F, 660.3°C) and a heat gun could do the trick. (Alternatively, you could put it in the oven at say, 350°F or so, if you have the stem already removed.) Put the heat on the barrel and try to avoid heating the valve too much if you can. If it doesn’t pop loose, try squirting a penetrating oil such as PB Blaster on it while it is still quite warm, and let it soak for a while.

    Reply
    1. rebornpipes Post author

      Thanks – I had been spraying it with penetrating oil to no avail. A few moments with the heat gun did the trick. This is the original old style Kirsten without the rubber o rings on the stem or valve. So it was metal on metal – add tobacco and saliva and let it sit and the mix become a thick shellac that seals the stem and the valve in place.

      Reply
    1. rebornpipes Post author

      Thanks. I have tried boiling water, heat and cold, alcohol bath so I will give the heat gun a go. Maybe the combination of them all will pop it loose! I have the bowl and the internals of the stem and rod clean so it will not take much to finish it up once the barrel is open!

      Reply

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