Blog by Steve Laug
I don’t remember much about the first CPF pipe I picked up or even where I found it, but I do remember loving the shape, size and feel of it in my hand. It seems to me that it was a diamond shank straight bulldog pipe and I remember it being very old – over 100 years of age. I remember turning it over and looking at the Old World style craftsmanship, the fine briar and the metal work that was on the shank end and rim top. I remember the gold stamping on the side of the shank – CPF in an oval over Genuine Briar. That first pipe I came across was the beginning of a side collection of CPF, American made pipes coming out of the Colossus Pipe Factory in New York. Over the past 7-8 years I have been picking up CPF pipes on Ebay and in shops around the country to add to my personal collection. My brother Jeff also continues to pick them up for me.
It is a brand that has been shrouded in some mystery through the years even in terms of what the CPF initials mean. Some have interpreted it to me Consolidated Pipe Factory while others have taken it to mean Colossus Pipe Factory. Because of that it has been virtually impossible to trace the brand. I have written about the history of the brand in previous blogs but here is the link should you want to go and check it out. In the link that follows I give the rationale and proof for the brand being Colossus Pipe Factory. Give the blog a read if you are interested in the background (https://rebornpipes.com/2013/04/14/some-reflection-on-the-historical-background-on-cpf-pipes/). I quote the concluding paragraph of that blog in the following as it gives a quick overview of the history of the brand with the mergers and finally the demise of the brand as a whole.
From my research I believe that we can definitively assert that the CPF logo stands for Colossus Pipe Factory. The brand was purchased by KB & B sometime between 1884 and 1898 and that it continued until 1915. That time frame gives help in dating some of the older CPF pipes you or I might find. It can be said that prior to the dual stamping it is fairly certain that the pipe is pre-1884 to 1898. After the dual stamping it can be placed post 1898 until the closure of the brand line in 1915. CPF made beautiful pipes. I believe Sam Goldberger was correct in his assertion of the potential carvers that made the pipes being of European training and the classic shapes and well aged briar. That coincides with all the CPF pipes that I have come across.
I collected the links and various blogs I have done on CPF pipes in my collection and chosen some representative photos of each of the pipes. I think as you flip through the photos you will see the beauty I see in them and hopefully it will kindle a love for the preservation of these old timers for generations ahead of us.
The first pair of pipes that I have pictured below is stamped CPF Cromwell on the left side of the shank. They both are vertical twin stemmed – twin shank pipes. Both came to me in very rough condition. The stems were damaged and repaired with a white putty material and the bowls were very worn. The first one is in the best condition. The second I worked a bit of Frankensteining on to resurrect it to be smokeable again. https://rebornpipes.com/2017/07/01/out-damn-spots-a-c-p-f-cromwell-double-vertical-stem-bent-billiard/https://rebornpipes.com/2017/08/27/frankensteining-a-badly-damaged-c-p-f-cromwell-double-stem-pipe/The third pipe came to me from the same lot as the two above. Where there both had vertical twin shanks and stems this one has a horizontal twin shank and stem. Like the others above it has the same damage and repair to the stem – white putty to make it smokeable again. https://rebornpipes.com/2017/09/28/bringing-new-life-to-a-c-p-f-siamese-parallel-twin-stem-billiard/. The fourth pipe in my collection is an alternative wood in both the bowl and the base. The bowl is detachable – unscrewing from the base. The polished band and the horn stem are beautiful touches to this unique pipe. If you would like more information be sure to follow the link below and read about the restoration of this beauty. It is one of the more unique pieces from CPF that I have. https://rebornpipes.com/2017/07/03/restoring-a-unique-alternative-wood-c-p-f-tulip/.The next pipe is a small pocket sized horn shape with a horn stem. It is stamped like the others with the CPF oval on the shank and on the band. The horn stem has a captivating pattern of swirls and striations that make it a pleasure to hold and look at while smoking. https://rebornpipes.com/2017/07/22/a-small-c-p-f-french-briar-horn-captured-my-attention/.The next pipe is another detachable bowl pipe. This one is a CPF Pullman. The bowl is separated from the base by a brass ring that adds a touch of class. The briar base has a brass band with CPF logo and stamp on the left side. The bent horn stem gives a touch of colour to the look of the beautiful old pipe. Give the blog a read if you are interested, but clicking on the link that follows: https://rebornpipes.com/2017/08/06/repairing-renewing-and-rejuvenating-a-removable-bowl-c-p-f-pullman-bent-billiard/.The next one is another pocket pipe. It has a Bakelite stem and a rectangular vertical shank that sets of a nicely shaped apple pipe. The yellow of the stem works well with the rich red of the briar. https://rebornpipes.com/2017/10/01/restoring-a-wreck-of-a-c-p-f-rectangular-shank-bent-egg/.The next pipe came to me as a damaged bowl. It is a nicely shaped bent bulldog with a diamond shank. The bowl originally had an ornate metal rim cap that had disappeared long before it came to me. I am keeping an eye open for a replace rim cap to see if I can bring it back to its original shape. https://rebornpipes.com/2013/03/31/cpf-french-briar-bulldog-restemmed-and-refurbished/.The next pipe is also one that came to me without a stem. The shank cap or ferrule was oxidized and green in colour when I started the restoration on it. I also worked an old vulcanite stem to fit the shank that has the same orific button as the original. The fit and size of the stem makes this another pocket pipe. It is distinguished looking and I only wish it could tell its story for us. Here is the link to the restoration: https://rebornpipes.com/2013/04/01/restored-cpf-bent-billiard-a-reclamation-project/.The next straight shank billiard also came to with the two above bowls. This one was by far in the worst condition. It had nail holes around the rim top and the rim cover was oxidized to a dark green and was crumbling. Originally this pipe would have had a built in wind cap with a hinged top but that had long since disappeared by the time I worked on it. I crafted a new stem for it and banded the shank to clean up the disintegrating briar on the shank end. It is an interesting piece https://rebornpipes.com/2013/04/07/reworking-and-reshaping-an-old-french-briar-cpf-billiard/.This next little pocket pipe has a horn stem and a great looking briar bowl. The shape is a small bent billiard. The band is original and bears the CPF logo and stamping. The shank has the CPF logo the look of the bowl and shank is quite stunning. I was able to work on it and bring it back to life. https://rebornpipes.com/2015/06/08/bringing-a-pre-1884-era-cpf-bent-billiard-back-to-life/After I first wrote about CPF pipes I received email from a fellow who had a trio of CPF pipes that he had picked up. There were two unsmoked bulldogs – a bent and straight with amber stems that he wanted me to clean up. In exchange he would give me the CPF bent meerschaum bulldog in the photo. I took him up on the trade and soon had the threesome in hand to work on. I finished his two pipes and sent them back to him and turned my attention to an almost worn out looking meerschaum bulldog.I cleaned up the bowl inside and out and worked over the brass shank end and bowl cap. I rebuilt the amber stem that had bit throughs on the end at the button and some crystalizing and crumbling on the stem as a whole. I was able to stabilize it and make it useable once again. It is a light weight durable little meerschaum that is a sweet smoke. Read bout the restoration on the blog by clicking on the following link: https://rebornpipes.com/2015/12/25/taking-a-swing-at-reconstructing-and-refurbishing-an-old-cpf-meerschaum-bulldog/.The next pipe is a CPF Best Make Straight Bulldog. This one is a beauty with its silver filigree rim cape and shank end. It is stunning with the brown briar and the orange amber stem. This one just came to life as I cleaned and polished all the parts and did the repairs on the amber stem and silver bowl cap. Give it a read by clicking on the following link: https://rebornpipes.com/2016/12/02/cpf-best-make-bulldog-with-a-silver-rim-cap-and-ferrule/.Over the years of collecting and working on CPF pipes I have seen quite a few classic shaped meerschaums but had not seen very many carved figurals. My brother Jeff came across this interesting figural featuring a horse and knowing my love for CPF pipes picked this one up for me. It is a true beauty. There are some small cracks around the bowl but nothing that is an open fissure. I was glad to add it to the collection. Even so you can feel the energy of the racing horse as it turns around the tree stump on its right side. Give the blog a read if you want to see more photos and read about the restoration. https://rebornpipes.com/2016/12/05/against-a-stump-a-carved-cpf-best-make-horse-meerschaum/.My brother wrote to tell me that this old CPF Giant was found in an antique store in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The owner had told him that the pipe was owned by an artist who strictly used it as an art prop… never smoked it. It is about 130 years old and is a large bent billiard. It is a large pipe – over 11 inches long and similar to the older Wellingtons that I have worked on of similar size. It was a great addition to my collection. If you want to get a feel for the history of the pipe and restoration it went through click on the link that follows: https://rebornpipes.com/2016/12/25/refreshing-an-old-giant-cpf-french-briar-bent-billiard/. The next pipe was a unique one that Jeff picked up. It is a CPF that was different from any others that I had ever seen or worked on before. It was a briar calabash with a black Bakelite screw bowl/cup. The shank was darkened and appeared to have originally had a band that had been lost somewhere along the way. That is pretty common on these old CPF pipes. The stem was amber and needed some work to bring it back to usefulness. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank with the words COLON in an arch over the CPF logo in an oval. Underneath that, is stamped French Briar in a reverse arch thus encircling the CPF logo. I replaced the missing band with a polished nickel one to give it a more complete look. I am always on the lookout for old bands and rim caps so I may find one that fits this old pipe. Give the blog a read to see detailed pictures of the pipe. https://rebornpipes.com/2017/06/27/new-life-for-an-unusual-cpf-colon-calabash-pipe/.When I received the next pipe I was excited to look it over and add it to the collection. The beautiful briar with swirls of birdseye and cross grain flowing around the long shank bulldog was stunning. The horn stem fit well in the shank and it would clean up nicely. Have a look at the blog for details but this is one of the better pieces I have added. https://rebornpipes.com/2017/07/19/breathing-life-into-an-1890s-era-cpf-french-briar-horn-stem-bulldog/.The next little bent billiard is another beauty – it is a chubby bent pocket billiard. The grain on the bowl is quite stunning and the restored horn stem and brass band give the pipe a touch of old country charm and class. Give the blog a read to see what the pipe looked like when we found it and the steps in its restoration. https://rebornpipes.com/2017/07/20/another-piece-pipe-history-a-lovely-cpf-french-briar-bent-billiard/.The next beauty is a silver military mount billiard. The ferrule and stem cap are both silver. The pipe is a CPF Remington and the grain and finishing touches on the old pipe give it a sense of timeless class. The pipe is in rough condition when it came to me and with some careful restoration it is back to looking lovely. Give the blog a read to see what it looked like when I receive it. It is a beauty. https://rebornpipes.com/2017/07/21/restoring-another-cpf-french-briar-this-one-a-remington-silver-mount-billiard-blog-by-steve-laug-the-next-pipe-i-chose-to-work-on-from-the-lot-of-the-lot-of-pipes-my-brother-and-i-picked-up-on-our-vi/.This Rhodesian was in very rough shape when I received it. It took a lot of work to bring it back to this point. The bowl had a lot of damage and the horn stem was very worn and tired. I did a lot of reconstruction on the rim top and edges of the bowl and tried to bring life back to the damaged bowl without loosing the shape. https://rebornpipes.com/2017/07/21/this-old-cpf-french-briar-rhodesian-was-in-rough-shape/.The square shank straight bulldog with the double ring around the bowl cap is a beauty. Instead of the usual diamond shank and stem this one has a square shank and stem. The horn stem is very stunning with the colours of the horn and the briar. Have a look at the blog to read about the restoration process on this one. https://rebornpipes.com/2017/09/29/cleaning-up-another-cpf-this-time-it-is-a-square-shank-bulldog-setter/.The last pipe I am including in this blog is my latest addition. It is an unsmoked CPF Chesterfield that is in excellent condition. It came to me from a good friend in NY who picked it up in a recent purchase. The grain and the shape are quite nice. It is a stubby billiard with a P lip style stem. The stem is hard rubber and it is old. Give the blog a read to get the back story on this pipe. https://rebornpipes.com/2019/01/29/refreshing-an-unsmoked-1910-1915-cpf-chesterfield-billiard/.With the above pipe I will close my reflections on some of the CPF brand pipes in my collection. Hopefully you can understand what I love about them as you scroll through unique pipes in the above collection. I am always on the lookout for more CPF pipes and excited to find and work on them. If you come across one and want to “help” me out let me know. Thanks for reading this blog.