By Al Jones
The 283 is an iconic Rhodesian shape for Comoy’s and one of my favorites. Later in the Comoy’s catalog, this shape number switched to the 440, but no explanation is provided for that change. This one popped up on Ebay and I was able to strike a deal with the seller. The ad had only a small number of fuzzy pictures but to my eye, it showed promise. This one was a Grand Slam, but with some nomenclature details I’d not seen on previous models that I had restored.
Having recently worked on a Comoy’s Grand Slam, I noticed that there was some significant differences on the nomenclature. Below is the stamping on the 283. I posted a thread on the PipesMagazine.com forum asking for some help on dating this particular pipe. Member “doctorbob”, a frequent contributor in the British section offered the following comments, which helps date the pipe to an early post-WWII period. The round, “Made In London” England was used from the mid 40’s to the late 1970’s (up to the transition point).
The second pipe is most likely a very early post-war pipe. The difference in patent numbers was not era based, instead Comoy’s used the appropriate stamp for the recipient market (2001612 was the US patent). The second pipe was intended to be sold in the UK. The time overlap between that particular COM and the patent stamping was apparently quite short.
To further add, the US patent for the ‘Grand Slam’ apparatus was approved in 1935 and expired in June of 1953. US market pipes after that would not have born the patent stamp. The UK patent was roughly contemporary.
It is not known with ANY certainty when the Made in London England stamp started, but it is commonly accepted to have begun being used in the 1945-1950 time frame
The pipe was in very good condition as received. The stem was oxidized, but with no serious teeth marks. There were several dings around the bowl. There was some rim darkening, but the beveled edge was largely intact. There was very little cake build up in the bowl.
I reamed the cake and soaked it with alcohol and cotton balls. While the bowl was soaking, the stem was soaked in a mild solution of Oxy-Clean, with a dab of grease on the C.
Following the soak, I used a piece of 2,000 grade sandpaper to lighten the rim darkening, followed by 8,000 grade micromesh. I used an electric iron and a wet cloth to steam out some of the dents in the briar.
The stem was mounted and oxidation removed with 800, 1,000, 1,500 and 2,000 grade sandpaper, followed by 8,000 and 12,000 grade micromesh. It was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish. The bowl was buffed with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax, showing great care around the nomenclature.
Below is the finished pipe.