I’m not a collector of Barling’s pipes, but when I stumbled over this ebay listing, I thought it was an older, Family era model. We are fortunate on the PipesMagazine.com forum to have the participation and expertise of Jesse Silver. Jesse is one of the key contributors to the Barling’s Pipepedia page. I thought that the pipe was made after 1962, but Jesse was able to tell me that this pipe was made between the Spring and Fall of that year. His comments were:
Jesse Silver wrote:
These particular Barlings with the Block lettered “Barling’s Make” in a smaller size and the revised 4 digit model code, appear in the 150th Anniversary Catalog.
My copy of that catalog includes a price list, dated to June 1962, that references the new model numbering system. Figuring that production of the catalog must have taken a month or more back then, and these pipes were made as early as May or April of 1962, and possibly earlier. They were in production as late as late September, based on a letter from Barling’s new American distributor to its dealer network, which describes the stampings, block Barling’s Make with the new model numbering system.
The completely new nomenclature appears in the Dealers Catalog that was published in November of 1962. So that gives me a range for dating these specific pipes.
I was also a bit puzzled by the meaning of the four digit shape number. Once again, Jesse had the answer:
The first number indicates the chamber size. When the new 4 digit numbering system was set up, the first number replaced the old SS thru EXEXEL size stamps. The new number range went from 2 for the smallest size to 6 for the largest for the standard size range. Occasionally you will see a higher number for an oversized pipe.
The “4” on this pipe indicates that it is equal to the old “EL” stamp, or about a group 4.
The second and third numbers indicate the the bowl shape. In this instance, 73 indicates a Rhodesian shape.
The fourth number indicates the bit shape and length. In this instance, “5” indicates a tapered bit that is between 2 3/4″ and 3 1/4″ in length.
So 4735 would tell you that the pipe is similar to a Group 4 Rhodesian with a tapered stem that measures between 2 3/4″ and 3 1/4″ in length.
The stem was heavily oxidized and there was a deep teeth indention on the bottom of the stem. The briar looked in great shape. The crossed Barling’s stem logo was in poor condition.
I tried using some heat on the teeth indentions and I was able to lift the top indention. The bottom indention was too deep, so I filled in the depression with the black super glue and accelerator product to cure it. I put a dab of grease on the stem logo and soaked it in a mild solution of Oxy-clean. The bowl had a very light cake, which was reamed and I found that the bowl interior was in great shape. The pipe was soaked with alcohol and sea salt. Following the soak, the shank was cleaned and I waxed the bowl by hand with Halycon wax.
I removed the heavy oxidation with 800 grit paper. The area around the faded logo looked terrible, so I decided not to try and save the remnants. You can still see just a hint of the logo. Perhaps one day I’ll have a new Barlings stamped stem made by master repairman, George Dibos. The stem was then polished with 1,000 and 2,000 grade paper, then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish.
Below is the finished pipe, which is very compact and weighs 30 grams.