Daily Archives: May 24, 2020

A Pipe from the Illusive Hunt for the Perfect Smoke – A Ken Patent Applied For Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

I have a small but growing sub-collection of Patent and Patent Applied For pipes. All of them have the same purpose – to provide a perfect smoke. All of them have a variety of internal plumbing to filter and cool a smoke. The concept was that the moisture and heat of the smoke was collected on various surfaces and contraptions in the stem or shank and a cooler smoke flows through the mouthpiece to the smoker. This is yet another of those interesting pieces that came out made a small splash and soon disappeared into the shadows of the past. This pipe is stamped KEN on the top of the hexagon shaped stem (which in this case is an opaque red plastic). There is a smooth panel on the left side of the shank that read Ken in script over PAT. APLD. On the underside of the shank it is stamped with a large upper case hollow point A. The finish on the pipe is rusticated with a tight rustication pattern that covers the bowl, rim and shank. There is a black ring at the shank end. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava had overflowed onto the rim top filling in the rustication. The mouthpiece was oxidized and had a lot of tooth chatter and marks on both sides that showed that the stem itself was made of red acrylic. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he cleaned it. He took a photo of the rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top filling in the rustication.         He took some photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank and the underside. He also took a photo of the stamp on the topside of the stem – KEN. Jeff removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the end of the stem. The photo shows the build up of grime on the stem end and inside. The metal plumbing on the end of the shank is filthy with tars and oils. There is a cap and a tube inside of it. There is a small elastic holding the end of the cap closed. There is a rubber grommet on the shank end that holds the stem in place on the shank. The next two photos of the stem show the tooth marks and chatter on both sides in front of the button. There is also some wear on the edge of the button as well.I turned to Pipephils’ site to see if there was any information on the site that could give me the background on the brand. I knew I was dealing with an early version of the design because of the Patent Applied for stamp on the shank (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-k1.html). I did a screen capture of the section of the page.The section on Pipephil had some additional pages that gave more information on the brand. The first of these shows the system after the modification of the patent. There are now screws holding parts together rather than the pipe I was working on that was pre-patent.The other additional pages showed the Patent drawings. They were filed on December 30, 1939 and the patent granted on May 20, 1941. The last page that came up was the one below showing the pipe with a blue acrylic or Bakelite stem and a different rustication pattern.From there I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/KEN) and looked up the brand. I was surprised to find the following short description of the pipe and the maker. I quote in full below. I also included the advertisement that was in the article as well as another photo of the system.

KEN Brand Pipes are made by Prim Associates of America out of Chicago, Ill. The design is unique and somewhat complex and has a patent by Otto Turinsky. This patent was applied for in Dec. 1939 and granted in May 1941, Pat No 2,242,805. An ad in Popular Mechanics from 1946 shows the pipe costing $3.50 and shows Six Key features of the Ken Pipe along with a Money Back Guarantee! Stem is Lucite and the interior chamber contains various technical features to remove tar, moisture, burnt tongue and remove impurities. Armed with the information above I was excited to work on this system pipe that fascinated me. I turned to work on the pipe on my work table. Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim edge lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub. He washed it off with warm water to remove the cleaner. The pipe looked far better. I took photos of the pipe when I received it before I started working on it. I took photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem to show how clean they were. The bowl top and rim are absolutely clean and there is no damage to the edges of the bowl. The stem looks clean and there are light tooth marks and heavy tooth chatter. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. They are clean and readable and read as noted above.   I took photos of the pipe with the stem removed to show the overall look of stem, tenon and the system plumbing. They also give a clear picture of the pipe.I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm.   I took the cap off the end of the tube and took photos of the pipe to show this part of the system. It is truly quite a contraption.I set the bowl aside and worked over the tooth marks and blended them into the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. At this point it is starting to look much better.  I touched up the Ken stamp on the topside of the stem with some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold and a toothpick. It was not too deeply stamped so the coverage was uneven.I polished the acrylic with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.    This Ken System Pipe was an interesting pipe to work on. The mix of brown stains on the rustication around the bowl sides, top and bottom made the rusticated patterns sparkle. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the contrasting stains work well with the polished red acrylic taper hexagonal stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax by hand and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Ken System pipe fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This pipe will be added to my collection of odd and unusual system pipes. It is a great addition. Thanks for your time.

 

Renewed Life for a Comoy’s Silver Shadow 745 Tulip


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is an interestingly shaped Comoy’s pipe. It is almost a tulip shape – at least to me. It is a Cadogan period Comoy’s as the “C” is stamped and painted on the acrylic stem. It is a pretty pipe with a nice looking shape. The condition is very dirty with a thick cake in the bowl and some darkening around the beveled inner edge of the rim. It is well smoked and the finish is dusty and grimy. There are some deep scratches in the briar around the bowl sides and top. The pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Comoy’s over Silver Shadow followed by the shape number 745 and the Made in London England COM stamp circle. The variegated silver acrylic bent saddle stem has a stamped C on the left side of the saddle. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work on the pipe. He took photos of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl, rim top and edges. The cake is quite thick and there are a few spots of grime on the edges and around the cap on the bowl. He took photos around the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition. You can see the grime in the finish and the scratches in the briar around the bowl. He took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. You can see that it is clear and readable.The next photos show the condition of the stem. The first though blurry gives an idea of the flow of the stem. The remaining photos show that the stem is in good condition other than some tooth chatter on both sides near the button. The “C” stem logo on Comoy’s pipes was the “three-piece C” insert until the Cadogan era in the 1980s. That helped me with a potential date on this pipe – 1980s or later. Knowing that this was a newer Comoy’s pipe from the Cadogan time period did not deter me as the shape on this one fascinated me. I turned to work on the pipe on my work table. Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim edge lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub. He washed it off with warm water to remove the cleaner. The pipe looked far better. I took photos of the pipe when I received it before I started working on it. (Note the deep scratch on the left side of the bowl.) I took photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem to show how clean they were. You can see the darkening on the top and inner edges of the bowl. Otherwise the rim and edges look very good. The stem looks clean and the tooth marks and chatter are fairly light. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. They are clean and readable and read as noted above.    I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to show the overall look of stem, tenon and profile of the pipe. Jeff had scoured the tenon but it was heavily stained with the tars of use.I decided to start my work on the pipe by addressing the deep gouge in the left side of the bowl. It extended from the heel to mid bowl. I tried steaming it out and had very limited success. I decided to fill in the damaged area with clear super glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and also began the polishing with 40o grit wet dry sandpaper. I used a Walnut Coloured stain pen to blend the repaired area on the side of the bowl into the colour of the rest of the bowl. The match worked very well. Once I sanded it with the micromesh pads in the polishing process it would look even better.I polished the bowl and rim with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I worked over the rim top and edge of the bowl with the pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris. The repair on the right side of the bowl all but disappeared. The pipe looks very good. I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm.  I touched up the C stamp in the side of the stem with a Paper Mate Liquid Paper and a toothpick. It was not too deeply stamped so the coverage was uneven.I worked over the light tooth marks and blended them into the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. At this point it is starting to look much better.   I polished the acrylic with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This Comoy’s Silver Shadow 745 Tulip turned out to be a great looking pipe. The mix of brown stains highlights the mix of grain around the bowl sides, top and bottom. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the contrasting stains work well with the polished variegated silver acrylic saddle stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Comoy’s Silver Shadow fits nicely in the hand and feels great. There is something about the shape that provides a great curve for the thumb on the back of the bowl. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This pipe will be added to the English Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection send me an email or a message! Thanks for your time.

Bringing Life to a WDC Demuth Gold Dot 77 Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is a WDC Demuth Gold Dot Bulldog. It is a pretty pipe with a great shape. The condition is very dirty with a thick cake in the bowl and some darkening around the beveled inner edge of the rim. The previous pipeman took good care of this one. It is well smoked and other than dusty and grimy it is in decent shape. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank with the logo inverted equilateral triangle with letters “WDC” enclosed in it. This is followed by “Demuth” over “GOLD DOT” in block capital letters. On the right side of the shank is stamped “IMPORTED” over “BRIAR ROOT” followed by the shape number “77” towards the bowl and shank joint. A quarter inch wide gold band is on the shank end and is stamped on the left with the trademark WDC triangle over “14 K”, indicating the purity of the gold band. The ¾ bent saddle stem has two gold dots on the left side of the saddle stem. Jeff took photos of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl, rim top and edges. The cake is quite thick and there are a few spots of grime on the edges and around the cap on the bowl.He took photos around the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition. You can see the grime in the finish and the damage on the heel. It is primarily on the right side but goes across the ridge. He included a close up photo of the damaged areas on the heel it has some deep gouges in the briar that look like it has been dropped.He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and the band. You can see that it is clear and readable. You can see the 14K stamp on the band and the two dots on the stem side.The next two photos show the condition of the stem. You can see that it is lightly oxidized and has some tooth chatter on the underside. Otherwise the stem is in very good condition.I was going to do a bit of research on the brand and line but then I remembered that Paresh had worked on an identical pipe from his grandfather’s estate. I turned to the blog on rebornpipes to read what he had discovered (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/01/18/sprucing-up-the-first-of-my-wdc-a-demuth-gold-dot-77-bulldog/). I quote:

I searched pipedia.com for more information on this pipe and attempt at estimating the vintage of this pipe. Here is what I have found on pipedia.

William Demuth. (Wilhelm C. Demuth, 1835-1911), a native of Germany, entered the United States at the age of 16 as a penniless immigrant. After a series of odd jobs he found work as a clerk in the import business of a tobacco tradesman in New York City. In 1862 William established his own company. The William Demuth Company specialized in pipes, smoker’s requisites, cigar-store figures, canes and other carved objects.

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.

In early 1937, the City of New York notified S.M. Frank & Co. of their intent to take by eminent domain, part of the land on which the companies pipe factory was located. This was being done to widen two of the adjacent streets. As a result of this, Frank entered into negotiations to purchase the Wm. Demuth Co.’s pipe factory in the Richmond Hill section of Queens. It was agreed upon that Demuth would become a subsidiary of S.M. Frank and all pipe production of the two companies would be moved to DeMuth factory. New Corporate offices were located at 133 Fifth Avenue, NYC.

Demuth pipes continued to be made at the Richmond Hill plant till December 31. 1972. Then the Wm. Demuth Company met its official end as a subsidiary company by liquidation.

I came across an interesting advertisement on the same page on pipedia.com which shows the exact same pipe that I am now working on. It is the same pipe as the first pipe on the left. A close scrutiny of the picture confirms the following:

(a) The Gold Dot line of WDC pipes was offered sometime before 1941 as inferred from the bottom line of this flyer which encourages readers to “WRITE FOR NEW 1941 STYLE BOOKLET”, implying that this flyer was published prior to 1941!!

(b) The Gold Dot line of WDC pipes was at the time their top of the line product as it is the most expensive of all the pipes advertised in the flyer, retailing at $10!!Pipephil.eu too has the same pipe shown with shape # 77. Here is the link; http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-w1.html

From Paresh’s research I confirmed that this WDC Gold Dot was WDC’s top tier of pipes and was made in 1940s. It is definitely a good looking pipe. Armed with that information and a clearer picture of the original pipe I turned to work on the pipe on my work table. Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim edge lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better. I took photos of the pipe when I received it before I started working on it. I took photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem to show how clean they were. You can see the damage on the inner edge on the rear of the bowl. The stem looks clean of oxidation and the tooth marks and chatter are fairly light. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. They are clean and readable and read as noted above.    I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to show the overall look of stem, tenon and profile of the pipe. I noted that the tenon is metal and is made for a paper filter. I think it would fit a Medico paper filter.I decided to start my work on the pipe by addressing the damage to the heel of the bowl. I filled in the damaged areas with clear super glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and also began the polishing with 40o grit wet dry sandpaper. I turned to work on the rim top and the inner edge. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work on the inner edge to remove the darkening and bring it back into round. I cleaned up the beveled edge. It took a bit of work but I was able to remove the majority of it and the end product looked much better.I polished the bowl and rim with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I worked over the rim top and edge of the bowl with the pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris.       I used an Oak and a Maple stain pen to blend the repaired area on the heel of the bowl into the colour of the rest of the bowl. The match worked very well.I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm.  I worked over the light oxidation on the stem and blended the tooth marks into the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. At this point it is starting to look much better.  I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This beautiful WDC Gold Dot 77 Bulldog is a great looking pipe. The mix of brown stains highlights the mix of grain around the bowl sides, top and bottom. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the contrasting stains work well with the polished black vulcanite saddle stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished WDC Gold Dot Bulldog is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This pipe will be added to the American Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection send me an email or a message! Thanks for your time.