Daily Archives: July 2, 2017

Restoring a Unique Horn Stem W.E. Hooker System Pipe

Blog by Steve Laug

Another one of the pipes found on the Virtual Pipe Hunt in Montana was this interesting old piece. It is an oddity and I was sure when we found it that it was another example of the eternal hunt for the dry, perfect smoke. I joking call it a camel pipe for the humps it has from a side view. This old timer is stamped on the left side of the shank with the words W.E. Hooker and on the right side of the shank it is stamped Patented over May 17, 1910. The pipe was in pretty rough shape at first glance with wear and tear to the finish and the rim caked with lava flowing over to the top. The inner edge of the bowl was out of round and there was some damage to the surface. There were some small sandpits on the right side of the bowl and on the top of the shank. The vulcanite cap in the middle of the shank perplexed me a bit so I was curious what we would find beneath the cap. The stem was horn and it had a lot of tooth damage to the top and underside at the button as well as some significant damage to the button itself and the edges around it. It looked as if someone had taken a knife to it and done some whittling on the horn. It had originally had what looked like a faux P-lip as the airway left the button on the end rather than the top. It was going to be a fun one to clean up.My brother Jeff took quite a few photos of the bow from various angles to give an idea of the overall condition of the pipe.The function of the cap on the top of the shank intrigued me and the overall airflow of the pipe was a mystery. When I put a pipe cleaner in the shank it came out in the sump under the cap. There were two other holes in the sump – one at the top front that connected to the airway as it entered the bowl and one at the top back that went back into the shank and the stem. When I pushed a pipe cleaner through the stem it stopped at the bottom of the sump under the cap. Now I really wanted to know how this worked. I Googled W.E. Hooker tobacco smoking pipe and came up with a patent number 958,398. The inventor was a William E. Hooker of Buffalo, New York. He filed the patent October 13, 1909 and it was patented on May 17, 1910 (just like the stamping on the right side of the shank). I have copied that information below. Note the airflow in the diagram accompanying the patent, I have inserted red arrows how it flowed through the pipe.

I have included the complete text of the patent below. It explains the letters A-H in the above diagram.



Patented May 17, 1910.




Specification of Letters Patent.

Application filed October 13, 1909. Serial No. 522,496.

To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, WILLIAM E. HOOKER, a citizen of the United States, residing at the city of Buffalo, in the county of Erie and State of New York, have invented a new and useful Tobacco-Smoking Pipe, of which the following is a specification.

My invention relates to certain improvements in a tobacco smoking pipe and I do hereby declare the following to be a full, clear, and exact description of my invention such as will enable others skilled in the art to which it appertains to make and use the same, reference being had to the accompanying drawings and to figures and letters of reference marked thereon, which form a part of this specification.

The objects of my improvements are: First: To provide a chamber or receptacle wherein can be collected all the moisture, nicotine and other foul secretions usually present in a tobacco smoking pipe and prevent the said moisture, nicotine and foul secretions from reaching the mouth of the smoker by means of the aforesaid chamber or receptacle and smoke channels, thereby insuring a clean and sanitary smoke. Second: By means of this chamber or receptacle and smoke channels and drainage channels, to prevent all moisture or saliva that might collect in the pipe stem from flowing into the pipe bowl. Third: To provide ample and easy facilities and means for cleaning the pipe. I attain these results by the position and location in which the nicotine receptacle or chamber and the smoke and drainage channels, are constructed or drilled in the pipe bowl, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings and which forms a part of this specification.

The accompanying drawing is a central vertical longitudinal section of my pipe embodying my invention.

A is an ordinary pipe bowl. B is a chamber or receptacle, for the purpose of collecting nicotine, moisture and other foul secretions, situated between the pipe bowl A and the pipe stem H, in a vertical position and parallel with the pipe bowl A, with an opening at the top. I prefer to have said chamber or receptacle in a vertical position as indicated and parallel with the pipe bowl, to insure the best results with my invention, although it is not absolutely essential that the chamber or receptacle aforesaid, should be nearer to the pipe bowl than to the pipe stem, but the vertical position and location of the chamber or receptacle is essential and necessary. This chamber or receptacle in the position or location described, serves as a collector of all moisture, nicotine and foul secretions which might flow through channels D and E and also has for its purpose the conveying of smoke from channel D to channel E. The opening at top of the aforesaid chamber permits of the easy cleaning of the nicotine and moisture chamber B, and the smoke channels D and E.

C is the well or socket, into which the mouth-piece or stem H fits and also serves as a smoke conductor from channel E, to stem H and as a conductor of any moisture or nicotine which might collect in said well, to the bottom of chamber or receptacle B, through channel F.

D is a smoke channel leading from the bottom of pipe bowl A to the top of chamber or receptacle B and serves as a smoke passage to convey the smoke from the bottom of pipe bowl A to the top of chamber B, thence across said chamber B into and through smoke channel E into the well C and thence to the mouth of the smoker through stem H.

E is a smoke channel leading from the top of chamber B into well or socket C and terminating midway between the end of well or socket C and where the pipe stem or mouth piece H enters said well or socket, and is a conductor of smoke from top of chamber B to the well.

F is a drainage channel to convey saliva, moisture, nicotine and foul secretions which might form in the well or socket C, from said well to the bottom of chamber or receptacle B. By the particular position and location of this drainage channel F, any moisture, saliva, nicotine or secretions, which might form and collect in said well or socket C, pass through this drainage channel and into the bottom of the chamber or receptacle B, and a free and unobstructed draft is thus obtained.

G is a cap which can be removed and it screws into the top of chamber B, to close opening of said chamber and can be easily removed for the purpose of cleaning chamber B and smoke channels D and E.

H is a pipe-stem or mouth piece.

I am aware that prior to my invention, Patented May 17, 1910. tobacco smoking pipes have been made with nicotine chambers or receptacles. I therefore do not claim the invention of a nicotine receptacle; but having thus fully described my invention, I claim: In a tobacco smoking pipe, a moisture or nicotine receptacle, situated or located between the pipe bowl and pipe stem

 or mouth piece, in a vertical position and parallel with the pipe bowl, having an opening at the top of said moisture or nicotine receptacle or chamber, with two smoke channels entering said receptacle or chamber at the top and a drainage channel entering said receptacle or chamber at the bottom as substantially set forth herein and for the purposes specified. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name in the presence of two witnesses, this 11th day of October, 1909. WILLIAM E. HOOKER. Witnesses: Himmler BOWEN, CHAUNCY W. ABBOTT.

Now, I had it in the words of the inventor himself – he designed a different kind of sump vertically in line between the bowl and the stem. That made his invention different from the sump in a Peterson System pipe designed to accomplish the same thing. This is truly a complicated piece of tobaciana.

My brother took close up photos of various angles showing the grain of the pipe, the structure and the pipe taken apart. These give a clear picture of what we would have to deal with in the restoration process. The rim top photo shows the cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava on to the rim top. You can also see the damage to the inner edge of the bowl at the back of the pipe.The next series of photos show the hard rubber cap on top of the entrance to the sump on the shank. It is threaded and can be removed by unscrewing it from the briar shank. The horn stem was held onto the shank by a threaded bone tenon that screwed into the threaded mortise in the briar. Both threaded portions were in excellent condition. The second photo below shows the view of the pipe with the three openings showing from the shank to the bowl.The stamping on both sides of the were faint but readable. As mentioned above the left side read W.E. Hooker and the right side read Patented over May 17,1910. I was dealing with an old pipe.The horn stem had tooth chatter and tooth marks as well as some nicks from a knife that had been used to try and reshape the stem. The next photos tell the story. Jeff did a pretty thorough job cleaning this old timer up. The finish was really rough and dirty and the cake in the bowl foretold a very dirty interior. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and took the cake back to briar. He cleaned the interior of the bowl with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He worked through the various channels and airways in the shank and the stem until they were clean. I took the photos below to show the condition of the pipe when it arrived in Vancouver, clean and ready for me to work on. I took a close up photo of the bowl with the sump cap on and off. Note the nicks out of the inside edge of the bowl leaving it out of round.I took some photos of the stem to show the cleanness of the horn and the damage to the various parts – sides near the button, the button surface and the stem next to the button on the top and underside.I worked on the inner edge of the bowl to smooth out the damaged areas and even out the rim top. I wanted to work as much as possible to bring the bowl back into round. Once I had sanded the edge I mixed some putty of clear super glue and briar dust to build up the back edge of the rim. Fortunately the damage did not go deep into the bowl but was concentrated at the top.I sanded the repaired area with 180 and 220 grit sandpaper and took the following photo. I still needed to do more sanding but the rim top is taking shape.I wiped down the bowl and rim with cotton pads and alcohol to remove the sanding debris and any remaining finish on the bowl. I did that in preparation for repairing the filled areas on the right side of the bowl and the top of the shank. I put drops of clear super glue in the fills and sandpit areas on the bottom of the bowl and right side. Once they had dried I put some in the sandpits on the top of the shank near the stem shank junction. I sanded the repairs smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and blended them into the surface of the surrounding briar. I wet sanded the areas with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I used the needle file to reshape the stem edges and button and smooth out the damage that had been caused by the knife. I smoothed out the flow of the P-lip style button and recut the ledge on the underside of the stem.I cleaned the airways in of the pipe and stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol. I cleaned out the sump area with cotton swabs and alcohol. There was still some sludge in the bottom of the sump that came out with coaxing. I cleaned out the mortise as well for good measure.I continued to reshape the stem some more with 220 grit sandpaper. I really wanted to have it smooth to touch and closer in appearance to what it must have looked like when it left the factory. When I was done with the sanding the shape was looking much better.I touched up the repaired areas of the bowl and rim with a dark brown aniline stain pen. The colour matched perfectly with the existing stain. I wiped the bowl down with a light coat of olive oil and took the following photos to show where things stood at this point in the process. With the bowl finished I went to work polishing the stem with micromesh sanding pads – I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. It is always amazing to me to see the horn begin to develop a deep glow and shine. I polished the hard rubber sump cap with the micromesh once I finished the stem. I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to remove any minute scratches that remained in the stem and the briar. I gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine on the briar and horn. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I am really having a bit of a dilemma with these old pipes – in all of my time refurbishing and restoring old pipe I have never seen pipes like these… I am so tempted to hang on to the lot of the old C.P.F. pipes and the rest that come from that era as I probably will never see them again… ah well definitely a first world problem. Time will tell. Thanks for coming with me on this interesting old restoration. It was a fun one to work on.

Loving the old WDC Campaign Pipe

Blog by Steve Laug

Another of the pipes found during the Virtual Pipe Hunt in Montana was one stamped on the lower left side of the out bowl with the WDC triangle logo over the word CAMPAIGN. There was no other stamping on the pipe. The bowl was like a calabash bowl and screwed into the outer bowl. The entirety was made out of briar. The grain on the bowl and rim top is quite stunning with a lot of birdseye grain on the sides and mixed grain over the rest of the bowl. There was a nickel band on the shank but there was no shank stamping. The band was stamped PLATED NICKEL. The stem was lightly oxidized and the fit against the end of the shank was not tight. There was a gap caused by what I presumed was the tars built up in the mortise area.My brother, Jeff took quite a few photos of the unique old pipe because it really was a beauty. There would need to be some significant cleanup work but the grain and the shape were both unique and quite stunning. The bowl was thickly caked and a thick buildup of tars and oils had flowed over to the top of the rim. The bowl had twin airways in the bottom of the calabash cup directing airflow into the external bowl. The airway in the outer bowl enters the shank at the top of the bowl. Smoke would have been drawn from the calabash cup into the interior of the outer bowl and up the back side to the airway into the shank and through that to the stem and button into the mouth of the smoker. I did a bit of digging online and found a brief interchange on a Google group. Here is the link if you would like to read it in context and in its entirety. It has some helpful information regarding the brand and the particular pipe that I wanted to know more about. https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.smokers.pipes/kpkpd3zXoiwExcerpt from pipedia.org

To a request for information regarding the WDC Campaign pipe on the Google Group there was quite a long string of answers. I am quoting two of those in full…

Respondent 1: While I can’t say anything about this pipe specifically, I have a hazy memory of that shape listed in a book about pipes; (I may be totally misremembering this, but here goes) the shape being called the “Dawes”, named after Harding’s Vice President?  Anyone else remember this? Sounds like an interesting pipe, whatever it’s called…

Respondent 2: From Weber’s Guide to Pipes: “The Dawes Pipe (more correctly named the Lyons, after its inventor, Charles Herbert Lyons) happened to be the favorite pipe of General Charles G. Dawes, Vice-President of the USA from 1925 to 1929. General Dawes smoked the curious pipe incessantly and it became popularly known as the Dawes Underslung, because the shank joined the bowl near its rim.”

I looked on Pipedia, https://pipedia.org/wiki/William_Demuth_Company and I quote in part from the article on the William Demuth Company.

The Demuth Company is probably well known for the famous trademark, WDC in an inverted equilateral triangle. William commissioned the figurative meerschaum Presidential series, 29 precision-carved likenesses of John Adams, the second president of the United States (1797-1801) to Herbert Hoover, the 30th president (1929-1933), and “Columbus Landing in America,” a 32-inch-long centennial meerschaum masterpiece that took two years to complete and was exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.

The Presidential series was the result of Demuth’s friendship with President James A. Garfield, a connoisseur of meerschaum pipes. Demuth presented two pipes to Garfield at his inauguration in 1881, one in his likeness, the other in the likeness of the President’s wife. Later, Demuth arranged for another figurative matching the others to be added to the collection as each new president acceded to the White House, terminating with President Hoover.

From the above information I learned some significant details about the Campaign pipe. It was invented by Charles Herbert Lyons and was the favourite pipe of General Charles G. Dawes who was the Vice President of the USA under President Harding from 1925-1929. It fits nicely into that period when WDC was having Presidential Pipes commissioned ending in 1933. That places this old pipe in the time period between the late 1920s and early 1930s.

My brother took the following photos of the pipe to show what it looked like when it arrived in Idaho before he started his cleanup work. The cake in the calabash bowl was quite thick and the overflow onto the rim top was also thick. The finish while pretty decent was soiled and spotty with buildup and dirt. Jeff unscrewed the briar calabash bowl insert and removed it from outer bowl. The threads on both looked to be in very good condition. The out bowl was dirty and had a lot of dried tobacco oils and juices along the walls and bottom. The underside of the calabash bowl was dark and dirty with dried oils. It would need to be cleaned up. The next two photos show the stamping on the left side of the outer bowl. It is clearly stamped with the WDC logo in the inverted triangle and under that reads CAMPAIGN. In these photos you can see the beautiful grain of the briar. Even the bottom of the outer bowl has some nice grain. The next two photos show the wear on the finish of the shank and the oxidation on the nickel band on the shank. The band is stamped NICKEL PLATED. The stem does not sit tight against the shank and I am assuming that there is a lot of buildup in the mortise that is keeping it from seating properly.The stem was oxidized and there was some were to the sharp edge of the button. There were some light tooth marks on the surface of the button on both sides.My brother did his usual masterful cleanup on the pipe. When I received it things were much cleaner than the photos above. He had reamed back the calabash bowl to bare briar. He had scrubbed the rim top off and was able to remove the lava coat. He scrubbed the internals of the outer bowl as well. The briar had been scrubbed with Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed to remove all of the grime. The oxidation on the band was better than in the above photos. The stem was oxidized but it now sat properly in the mortise. I took the following photos before I started my final cleanup and restoration. I took some close up photos of the condition of the bowl and rim top. It looked far better than before his cleanup work. The stem also looked really good other than the oxidation. I took the calabash bowl out of the outer bowl and took some photos of the various parts of the pipe. It is an interesting piece of pipe history and it is in excellent condition for a pipe of its age. I did a bit more scrubbing of the internals to remove any remaining oils and tars. I used pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to clean out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem. I scrubbed out the inside of the outer bowl and the inner bowl with alcohol and cotton swabs. I pushed pipe cleaners through the two airholes in the bottom of the calabash bowl. I sanded the bottom of the internal bowl to remove the last of the buildup and wiped it down with alcohol on a cotton pad. I sanded the oxidized stem and reshaped the edge of the button with 220 grit sandpaper to clean things up and bring it back to the original black vulcanite. I scrubbed it with some Before & After Stem Deoxidizer to remove the loosened oxidation. I wiped off the scrub and resanded the stem to remove the remaining oxidation. The photos below show the progress of the stem cleanup. I used a folded piece of 220 sandpaper to smooth out the inner edge of the calabash bowl and remove the remaining debris along the edge. I sanded the inside of the bowl to clean it up as well. I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim top down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. The photos show the progress of the polishing. I polished the outer bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. The photos show the progress of the polishing. To preserve the threads on the calabash bowl and the outer bowl I use a small dab of Vaseline to lubricate both. I rub it into the threads by hand and wipe it down lightly with a cotton pad. I screw the two parts together and find that it removes friction and makes the cap turn easily into the outer bowl. I hand buffed the bowl with a microfibre cloth, polished the nickel band with a jeweler’s cloth and took photos of the pipe at this point in the process. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil to bring life back to the vulcanite and protect it. The photos show the progress of the polishing. I buffed the stem with red Tripoli to polish out the last oxidation and scratching. I buffed the pipe – stem and bowl – with Blue Diamond on buffing wheel and gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. One thing that shows through in the photos is some red along the crease of the button – I am pretty sure it is red Tripoli that is left behind from the initial buffing of the stem. After I took the photos I wiped that area down with some alcohol on a cotton pad. It removed the red Tripoli around the stem. It looks far better now that it is finished. Thanks for walking through this refurbish with me.