Blog by Steve Laug
The last three or four pipes I have taken out of the refurbishing box have been very simple restorations. My brother sent me this Loewe’s pipe that is stamped Loewe over Cutlass on the underside of the shank with the shape number 10 at the shank stem union. In the photos he sent me it appeared to be in pretty decent shape. The finish looked dirty and murky but otherwise good. The rim had some tars and overflow from the cake in the bowl but not too bad. There were some nicks and dings in the rim but none too deep. The stem was virtually flawless with no tooth chatter or tooth marks. The boxed L logo on the stem was worn and almost illegible but with a lens it is clear.While I have heard of and enjoyed quite a few older Loewe’s pipes the shape of this one and the name were not familiar to me. Even the shape number was not recognizable. I looked on the pipephil site to see if I could find any information on this particular iteration of the brand and found what I was looking for. There on his site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-l5.html) I found a pipe with the same stamping but a different number. The one in my hands does not have a COM stamp so I do not know where it was made. I have included the photo of the stamping and the stem logo to the left from that site as it is parallel to the one I have. I have also included some information from the listing there.
The brand was founded 1856 by Emil Loewe and was first bought out by Civic. Eventually the brand became part of Cadogan Group along with BBB, Civic, Comoy, GBD, Loewe and Orlik in about 1979. Judging from the age and the stamping on this pipe I would surmise that it was made after that merger and is a Cadogan pipe.
I also did some reading on the history of the brand on Pipedia and include a short excerpt here that is pertinent to the age and stamping on this pipe: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Loewe_%26_Co.#Bottom_of_shank: “By studying the website of one UK dealer I was able to deduce that the present shape numbers (early 2003) mostly (probably all) differ from those used from 1967. For example, a Billiard is now a 28, a Lovat an 834, a Canadian a 296. Some shape numbers now have 4 digits. But even today, Cadogan will occasionally still stamp a pipe with a shape name instead of a number, though only on request.”
It looks to me that I am dealing with a pipe made around 2003 jusding from the change in shape numbers to a two digit numbering system at some level. Though there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the dating of Loewe pipes after the Cadogan buy out.
My brother took the first and the following photos of the pipe before he did the cleanup. What follows are a series of close up photos of the stamping, the rim and bowl and the sandblast look on the bottom of the bowl. In the bowl bottom photo you can see the dust and debris in the grooves of the blast. My brother cleaned out the internals – the mortise and the airways in the shank and stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol. He scrubbed the externals with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap and was able to not only remove the grime from the finish but most of the finish also. When it arrived in Vancouver the pipe looked like virgin briar. The stem is acrylic so there was no oxidation on it. The next photos show the pipe when I brought it to my work table. The blast on the briar is quite shallow and shows mixed grain. I took some close up photos of the rim and the stem to show their condition. My brother was able to remove the tars on the rim. There was some slight rim darkening on the inner edge but other than that it was clean. The scratches and dings were also raised. The photos of the stem show how clean it was as well when it arrived. I sanded the inner edge of the rim with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out and remove the darkening and light burn marks. I also sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads to remove the scratch marks left behind from my sanding.I wiped the bowl down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove any remnants of the previous finish and the dust from sanding. I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain cut 50/50 with isopropyl alcohol. I flamed it and repeated the process until the coverage on the bowl was even.I hand buffed the bowl and took the photos below to show what it looked like at this point in the process. I gave the bowl and stem several coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This one will also soon be on the rebornpipes store. If you are interested in adding it to your rack let me know through email at email@example.com or by message on Facebook or a comment here. Thanks for looking.