An Interesting Look Back in Time at Pipe Marketing

Blog by Steve Laug

I don’t know how he does this but Jeff comes across things in his pipe hunting, auction cruising perambulations that I never seem to see and in new or next to new condition. This time he found some old pipe labels that had not been used and were in perfect condition. I don’t know if these were printed as box labels or for display boards but they are really quite interesting. Each label has a lot “advertspeak” that I find fascinating, you know the spin that the Marketing Team puts on pipes that their companies make. Jeff sent me these photos of his find. Have a look. They give us an enjoyable look back in time at how pipes were marketed. I will describe each one for you so if you cannot read it at least you will have an idea of what it says. First here are a couple of photos of the lot.I have always enjoyed Yello-Bole pipes and have even sold a few NOS Collegiate pipes so this is an interesting piece for me. It says Yello-Bole Collegiate $4.50 and describes the pipe as coming in Small Youthful Shapes. The imported Briar Bowl is Guaranteed against burn-out for Life. What do you think – are you youthful enough for these small petite pipes? I don’t think I ever was personally.The Checker Pipe was made by Yello-Bole. Over the years I have restored several of these CHECKER pipes that have a Hand Carved Checker-Board design carved into the briar around the bowl. The ones I have worked on have had a mixture of smooth and rusticated patches on the checkerboard differentiating the red and black squares. These pipes sold for $5.50.The Airograte Pipe was also made by Yello-Bole and was their version of the Falcon pipe or the Dr. Grabow Viking. It had a metal base and shank with an interchangeable bowl. Yello-Bole made a variation to the theme by make the bowl more of a tube and inserting a metal grate between the bowl and the base for dry smoking air flow. It also had the Nylon Bit like the Grabow and the Falcon version. These pipes sold for $5.95 and you could purchase a variety of interchangeable bowls for the base.We move from Yello-Bole pipes to the Medico Pipe Company and their lines. The first label in the collection shows the Medico Tuxedo Filter Pipe. The label shows a Tuxedoed Gent with a pipe and a bow tie. These pipes are said to “give pleasure and peace of mind” for only $3.50. They were made of Imported Briar. Who would not want to spend $3.50 when Pleasure and Peace of Mind can be had for such a reasonable price? Are you in?The next one is for a Medico pipe. The label reads MEDICO Medalist Filter Pipes over Imported Briar and a whopping $4.95 to purchase one of these lovelies. I am not sure but I think this may well have been one of the first pipes I ever purchased at a local drugstore.I have worked on quite a few Medico Ventilator Pipes over the years and even converted them to be non-ventilated! This bit of marketing says – “Protect yourself – with the only pipe that must be smoked with a filter.” (So much for deciding to use or not use a filter as the Medico Marketing department decided that you need to purchase those annoying paper tubes to smoke this pipe.) After telling us to protect ourselves the label says Medico Ventilator Filter Pipe. Made of Imported Briar and sporting a Guaranteed Bite-proof Nylon Bit. The pipe sold for $4.95.These next Medicos have survived time and become collectible I hear. I have worked on all the variations in terms of playing card symbols – Diamonds, Hearts, Clubs and Spades. This fancy pipe sold for $5.95 and was labeled Medico Casino Filter Pipes. They were made out of Genuine Sandblasted Imported Briar, were embossed with playing card symbols and once more had those “amazing” Bite-proof Nylon Bits. Can’t you see yourself firing up one of these pipes with the guys at the weekly poker game? The silver coloured band adds a touch of class.The Medico Ever-Dri is yet another attempt to find the cool dry smoke and according to the Marketing Team they have found it and it only costs you $7.95. The label includes the usual Medico Ever-Dri Filter Pipe with a Guaranteed Bite-proof nylon bit. There is a diagram on the label that shows their inventive system. Their system has a Condensor shield and tube that keeps the shank dry, Throw Away Nicotine Trapped in Medico Filter, Dry Heel, Free Draft Drying Chamber and it is made of Imported Briar.The next label is for a “higher end” Medico – a Crest Filter Pipe. The label is golden and lists the price at $10.00. The Medico Crest has a Bulldog smoking a pipe logo. The label says that these Filter Pipe have a Guaranteed Bite-Proof Nylon Bit (Oh boy – I hate nylon stems as they are a bear to clean up after someone has chewed the bite-proof bit).  The pipe is made of the Choicest Imported Briar.These labels give a walk back in time to the era of the 60s. The labels came from two US pipe companies that provided their offerings to the pipe smoking public. The first was Yello-Bole and the second Medico. These pipes were standard fare of the American pipesmoker throughout most of the 20th century. They were reasonably priced and offered outstanding guarantees. They are still readily available on the estate pipe market and are an easy restore (barring the famous Bite-proof nylon stem). Hope you have enjoyed this bit of pipe history. Thanks for reading.


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