Blog by Steve Laug
A fellow Vancouver Pipeman named Alex has been keeping me busy with working on the pipes he is picking up. He has picked up some interesting American and English made pipes. The next of those pipes is forward canted Dublin. This Dublin is quite a stunning pipe. Front what I can see it is a flawless piece of briar. The grain is mixed around the bowl and shank. The pipe is stamped on both sides of the shank. On the left side it reads F&T in a Diamond followed by Bruyere. On the right side it reads Made in London [over] For Abercrombie & Fitch Co. [over] New York. On the underside of the shank it is stamped with the shape number 45. There was a thick cake in the bowl (heavier in the bottom half of the bowl) and some darkening on the rim top. The rim top has some scratching and dents and some damage on the inner edge of the rim. The finish was very dirty with grime and oils ground into the surface of the bowl and shank. The vulcanite taper stem does not have any stamping on the top or sides. The stem was calcified, oxidized, dirty and had tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. Here are some photos of the pipe when I first received it. I took a close-up photo of the rim to show the condition of the rim top, bowl and the inner edge of the bowl. You can see the thick cake in the lower half of the bowl. It also looked as if someone had started to ream the bowl and stopped. The stem had tooth damage and chatter on the button edges and the stem ahead of the button. The stamping on the sides of the shank is shown in the photos below. It reads as noted above. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the flow of the pipe. The pipe was really going to look great once it was cleaned and polished.I turned to Pipephil’s article on Fribourg & Treyer London Made pipes because I recognized the F&T Diamond logo (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-f4.html). I did a screen capture of the write up on the brand.I turned to the article on the brand on Pipedia to gather information and history of the makers (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Fribourg_%26_Treyer). I have copied an illustration of the shop and included the article from Pipedia below.
Although FRIBOURG & TREYER’s closed in the 1980s and has been gone for many years, their pipes and related products continue to command the respect of pipe smokers around the globe!
FRIBOURG & TREYER’s was one of all LONDON’S GREAT OLD PIPE SHOPS established in 1720! Their primary shop was located in the HAYMARKET DISTRICT of London where they catered to the rich and famous including Royalty for nearly 300 years! While most collectors are familiar with the “Royal Appointment” accorded certain well-established businesses in England (most commonly seen on Dunhill packaging) FRIBOURG & TREYER’s not only held an identical appointment by the King of England, but they also had a similar “Royal Appointment” by the King of Belgium! From their well-known Haymarket Shop with its picturesque Bay Windows, the tobacconists blended their own line of tobaccos and snuff (and became known as “Britain’s premier snuff chandler”)! Like Astleys in London and famous American landmarks like Bertrams and Leonard’s, Fribourg & Treyer had their pipes manufactured by various unnamed pipe makers. But because of the quality of their clientele, they demanded and received the very choicest pipes!
The success of Fribourg & Treyer saw them expand to other “upper end” locations and at the height of their success they also operated shops in the equally famous Burlington Arcade as well as at Oxford and Cambridge! In the 1970s they were acquired by Imperial Tobacco and as “urban legend” has it, they could not afford to renew their lease at the Haymarket so they moved to a new location on Regent Street in London. However, that was short-lived and this famous old shop was permanently closed and its snuff and tobacco recipes sold.
Today Fribourg & Treyer is remembered primarily for its snuff and tobaccos! They supplied tobacco to pipesmokers around the world, and much like Drucquer’s in California and Garfinkel’s in Washington, D.C., their oldest blends are still vigorously pursued by knowledgeable pipesmokers today whenever they make a rare reappearance on eBay or elsewhere! (However, Fribourg and Treyer snuff and tobacco are still readily available throughout the world made by other tobacconists.)
This pipe was made by Fribourg & Treyer in London for the Abercrombie & Fitch Company in New York City. I would assume that pipe was sold by Abercrombie & Fitch along with fine tobaccos and other sundry smoking items in their Flagship Store on Fifth Avenue.
Now it was time to work on the pipe itself. I reamed the thick cake back to the walls with a PipNet pipe reamer using the first two cutting heads. I followed up – cleaning the remnants of cake on the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. The final step for me to assess the condition of the walls of the bowl is to sand it with 220 grit sandpaper on a piece of dowel. I sanded the walls smooth. I was happy with the condition of the inside walls of the chamber. I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap to get the grime and debris out of the briar. I rinsed it with running water and dried it off with a towel. With that the outside was clean… progress! I cleaned out the mortise, shank in the briar and airway in the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and 99% isopropyl alcohol. The pipe was dirty with lots of tars and oils. I worked on the damage to the inner edge of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper to remove as much of the damage as possible and bring the bowl back to round. I took a photo of the rim top after the cleanup to show the progress in cleaning up the edges. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. The grain is really beginning to stand out and the rim top is blending in quite well. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I am very happy with the results. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I painted the tooth marks in the stem with the flame of a lighter to lift them to the surface. It worked quite well but there were a few small tooth marks left in the surface. I repaired the tooth marks in the vulcanite and rebuilt the edge of the button with Black Loctite 380 Adhesive. Once the repairs had cured I used a needle file to recut the edges of the button and flatten out the repairs. I sanded the stem surface and button with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs and blend them into the surface. I also worked to remove the remaining oxidation on the stem surface. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads and wiping it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished the stem with Before & After Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I wiped it down a final time with Obsidian Oil when I finished. This Fribourg and Treyer (F&T) Bruyere Dublin with a vulcanite taper stem turned out to be a real beauty. The carver at F&T really maximized the grain with the shape of the pipe. Everything about the pipe – the finish, the rim top and the cut of the briar work well to highlight the grain around the bowl. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel and the finish just popped and came alive. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The pipe took on life with the buffing. The rich brown finish works well with the polished vulcanite stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The F&T Dublin made for Abercrombie & Fitch New York will back in the box of pipes that I am working on for Alex. I am looking forward to what he will think of this one. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another estate pipe.