Blog by Steve Laug
Over the last few years I visit the same antique mall when I go home to Idaho for a visit. For at least the last two years there has been a boxed set of unsmoked Koolsmoke pipe bowls that the owner was selling. It was missing the base/stem unit and the bowl that came on it. The bowls were unsmoked and new. I looked at them every time I was there and walked away. This recent trip I went to the antique mall to have a look and found that the place was closing. Everything was marked down by 50%. The box of bowls was still there and it was marked down from $40 to $20. I decided to go for it. I put it on the counter and kept looking. I found a few other odds and ends and settled the account at the counter. Now I needed to find a unsmoked base/stem unit and another unsmoked bowl to go with it.
I went back to my brothers and went hunting on eBay for the parts I was missing. Over the years I think every time I go on eBay I have seen Koolsmoke pipes for sale. But this time there were none to be found. I had a feeling that this would take a while to find what I was looking for. My brother however had an idea. He had the phone number of a seller he had bought pipes from over the past months named Beverly. She had been an avid pipe collector and had a lot of pipes that she was selling. She had mentioned to him that she had plenty more to sell. We gave her a call and asked about a Koolsmoke. At this point I would have taken a used one, cleaned it up and added it to the set. She was delightful to talk with and she said she had a few over the years but they were all gone. However, she said she had one unsmoked red base/stem unit with a bowl on that she was willing to sell us.
I could not believe it. One call and we not only had a unsmoked NOS (new old stock) base/stem unit but we also had a unsmoked bowl to go with it that was different from the other three in the set. We paid her immediately and within two days it had arrived in Idaho. It was a beauty and it fit in the box. The bowls in the set were dusty and there was debris in the threads and in the rustication from years of sitting on the antique mall shelves. They would need to be brushed clean. The white fabric that lined the box was spotless – I was surprised that it did not have any stains. The cardboard box was broken at all the corners and would need to be repaired. The new stem was scratched but clean. It still had the casting marks on the sides and end. I took photos of the new set from a variety of angles to highlight the various bowls and show the threads, the rims and bowls. I looked up the brand on one of my favourite sites that specializes in smoking metal pipes. They indeed had the information I was looking for. Here is the link: http://www.smokingmetal.co.uk/pipe.php?page=145 I quote from there with some minor edits.
The Koolsmoke is an American made pipe with bowls looking much like Falcon, except these only have a single thread, not the 4 start thread of the Falcon. Confusingly there seem to be boxes around containing Koolsmoke pipe and spare bowls, but labelled Rogers Drymatic. (The photos below show the two boxed sets. The Rogers Drymatic is on the right).
The nut in the cup can be adjusted to alter the space between the bowl and pipe to suit the smoker or the actual bowl in use. The brand was patented on 29 Nov 1955 US patent # D176221 without the adjustable nut and 2,760-496 with the nut (also comes as Dri-Smoke). The inventor was Ben Lieber of Brooklyn New York. The assignor was Aply-Tech Products.I unscrewed the bowl from the base so that I could polish the stem. The base has the nut in the bottom of the base for adjusting the airflow from the bowl to the button. The metal is well painted and the paint undamaged. The stem has some scratches and stickiness from a price tag that it had sported sometime in its life.I took some close up photos of the stem. The edges of the stem are sharp from the casting lines that had never been sanded out smooth. You can also see the scratching and marks on both sides of the stem. I sanded off the casting lines on the sides of the stem and on the button end. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads and gave it a final coat after the 12000 grit pad. I set the stem aside to dry. I repaired the torn edges of the box with clear cellophane tape that I use to repair books. I wiped down each bowl with a damp cloth and scrubbed the rustication on the one bowl with a tooth brush. Once the bowls were clean and dusted, I gave them a coat of wax and hand buffed them with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe and bowls are shown in the photos below. It is a nice looking set of exchangeable bowls and a metal base. It is similar to a Falcon but has the added adjustment nut in the bottom of the base. It can be raised or lowered to adjust the airflow between the bowl and the stem. The pipe will be available on the rebornpipe store shortly if you are interested in picking one up for your collection. Thanks for looking.