Blog by Steve Laug
I don’t know if you have had this happen to you. But you probably have if you have been a pipe man for long. Today on my lunch hour I was browsing the Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Society (GPSS) on Facebook. I was honestly just taking a break from a morning of phone calls and meetings. I just wanted to have a quiet time. I shut the door of my office and quietly ate lunch and browsed through the feeds on GPSS. Then it happened. I saw a pipe that Neal Yarm was selling. Now Neal is selling a bunch of unsmoked pipes – Castellos, Ardors, Rinaldos and others. But this one – a Rinaldo Tatiana Lithos YY Author grabbed my attention. I have never had a Rinaldo on my work table or in my collection. But I liked the way this one looked. I clicked on the photos and enlarged them so I could look the pipe over. I went through every photo he included – they weren’t enough for me, I wanted more. But ultimately I had to admit no amount of photos would change the reality. I wanted this pipe; it ticked off all the boxes for me. It was unsmoked and came with the original pipe sock and box. What more could I ask for. I sent Neal a private message, he sent me the invoice, I paid the bill and the deal was done. Now I await it arrival.I know next to nothing about Rinaldo Pipes so I took some time to remedy that during the rest of my lunch hour. I googled the brand to see what I could find. The first thing I read was a quote from one of my favourite author’s on pipes and pipe brands – José Manuel Lopes. In his book, Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, he writes that Rinaldo is the Italian brand of the Sicillian artisan brothers Elio & Guido Rinaldo, who left for the continent at an early age and settled in Pesaro. At 15, Elio started working for Mastro de Paja, with Guido joining him shortly after, in 1974. Now I had some basic information. It was Italian (which I already knew) and it was made by two brothers in Pesaro.
I continued through the google listings and found a link to Smokingpipes.com. They sell new Rinaldo pipes and often in their introductory remarks to a pipe or a brand there is a lot of helpful information. In this case there is some repetition to the information from Lopes but also some expansion. I quote their entry from their online store in full.
Rinaldo pipes are made by two brothers, Elio and Guido Rinaldo in Pesaro, Italy. Elio began making pipes when he was only fifteen, and his younger brother, who worked with precious metals for jewelry, began making pipes when he was sixteen. There are few families of pipes being made these days, and these two gentlemen work in perfect harmony in their shop. They initially worked for a large pipemaking company, but branched off to work for themselves in 1987 when they started Rinaldo pipes. Because of his jewelry background, Guido is responsible for making all of their silver bands and accents on-site. They use acrylic stems and finish their pipes either smooth, sandblasted, or rusticated. Working together, the brothers produce around 1,500 pipes annually. https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/new/rinaldo/I read the next google entry which was Pipedia https://pipedia.org/wiki/Rinaldo. I read briefly there and saw that it cited Steve Monjure’s website – Monjure International. I followed the link to that site and read further http://www.monjureinternational.com/rinphist.htm. I looked through his interesting information on the Rinaldo brand and its history. He gave more detailed information on the brand that added to my knowledge base. I quote his introductory comments first and then the section on history.
The Rinaldo brand began in 1987. It produces 1500 pipes a year — mainly classic shapes, but with a more rustic design than the majority of similar Italian brands — and has its main markets in Italy, Germany, and the US. It uses briar from Liguria, and Lucite stems. The pipes are stamped: RINALDO. Grading: from one to four Y and Fiammata. Symbol: stylized Greek letters ρ and ι
From the history of the brand section I quote: http://www.monjureinternational.com/rinaldo.
Elio and Guido Rinaldo began their work with briar in 1974 at the very young ages of 16 and 14 respectively. At this time they were employed by a well known pipe factory. In the beginning they were involved with the design, modeling and finishing. After years of study, hard work, and hands on experience, Elio and Guido mastered their art. This knowledge combined with their sensitivity allowed them to answer the burning desire they had to express themselves in their own way. Their dream to create a pipe with their own mark became a reality.
In 1987, the two brothers founded “Rinaldo Pipes” with the intention of creating fine handmade (fatta a mano) pipes with highly personalized lines fitted with silver and gold treatments that distinguish their exquisite pipes from the vast panorama of pipes. Their production is very limited since Elio and Guido are the sole ones to make the Rinaldo pipe. This has been their wish from the very first day the factory was started. Because of this loyalty to solely crafting their pipes, the smoker is guaranteed that each phase of the work is being maintained by skilled and expert hands. Each Rinaldo pipe is made from the very best Mediterranean briar and Elio and Guido select each briar block for its compact texture and regular veining. The acrylic mouthpieces are perfectly balanced and studied for optimal dental grip. This attention to detail results in a mouthpiece that has a pleasant and “easy hold” and is truly a “work of art”.
The Rinaldo pipe is currently offered in the following finishes: Lithos(Rustic) – Sahara(Sandblast) – Triade(Smooth). The Rinaldo pipes are divided into three lines: Briar Line(All Briar) – Silver Line(Silver Ornaments) – Gold Line(Gold Ornaments). There are five grade levels: Y, YY, YYY, YYYY, and Fiammata(Straight Grain). All Shapes are available in the regular size bowl and the “Titania” which is a bowl of greater dimensions.
The pipe I had purchased is stamped on the underside of the shank Titania over Lithos YY, Hand Made in Italy, Rinaldo. From the above information I learned that the pipe was Rusticated (which I could see from the photos), it was graded YY (which is the second grade), and it was a Titania (which is a larger bowl). I also learned that the LITHOS hand made pipes came in three inishes – Rustic Tan, Brown or Black.The article went on to describe the detail and care that goes into each pipe that the brothers craft. Here is how the website describes it:
Each Rinaldo pipe is offered for the pleasure of beholding its classical and liberal forms. Elio and Guido Rinaldo’s passion for crafting the finest pipes available is evident in each piece. Elio and Guido Rinaldo are currently producing approximately 1,500 pipes per year. When it comes to hand-made (fatta a mano) Italian pipes, two brothers in Italy, Elio and Guido Rinaldo are raising eyebrows around the world and are proving that high quality doesn’t always come at a high cost. In 1987 they started the business that bears their name although they actually started making pipes back in 1974 when they were only in their teens. They use the finest Mediterranean briar and their pieces not only are expertly designed and easy to hold, but they use fine balanced acrylic mouthpieces to insure a pleasant grip and ease on the teeth. Although some pipe manufacturers employ a body of carvers to create their designs, the two Rinaldo brothers are the sole carvers of their company. They create pipes in three different finishes (smooth, sandblast, and rusticated), several different sizes, and line their pipes with briar, silver, and gold ornaments.
The Monjure International Website includes an article on Rinaldo pipes in Pipes & Tobacco Magazine. Here is a link to that article; it is well worth a read if you are interested in reading about the brothers and their pipes. http://www.monjureinternational.com/rinaldo_articleP1.htm
Now that I had educated myself regarding the brand I was even more excited for the arrival of my new pipe. I could not wait to have it in hand and examine it up close. I wanted to look over all the hand made details and care that had gone into its design. I don’t often buy a new pipe; my tendency is to buy estates (as those of you who read rebornpipes have already figured out). They are already broken in and after a bit of cleaning can pick up where the last pipe man laid them down. But in this case I have to tell you, I am looking forward to giving this one a go and breaking it in myself. Once more thanks for sharing my excitement on this one. It is good to know that others are inflicted with the same “disease” and enjoy pipes along with me… I know that my wife and daughters only word for this is, “Another pipe? Do you really need that?” And to those comments I nod a yes, make no excuses and share my excitement with each of you. Cheers!