Blog by Steve Laug
I have finished restoring all of the Barclay-Rex pipes in the collection of pipes that we purchased from the older gentleman. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. You have seen many of the pipes that he had. These included Dunhill, BBB, Orlik, Barclay Rex, a cased Ben Wade, an H. Simmons all briar, Hardcastles and some Meerschaums. There were also some assorted others that I will get to in the days ahead. It was a great collection.
Now it was time to work on some of the single pipes that he had. The first of these is a beautiful little Prince that is stamped L& Co in an oval on the left side of the shank and LOEWE [over] LONDON W. on the right side of the shank. On the underside of the shank it is stamped CAPTANIDE. The band on the shank is a Sterling Silver repair band put on when the crack on the topside of the shank was repaired.
Jeff took some photos of the LOEWE Captanide Prince before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential and what appears to be some great grain under the grime and debris of the years. Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the thick lava on the rim top. The rim top and both inner and outer edges looked good. He took photos of the top and underside of the vulcanite stem showing the oxidation, calcification, tooth marks, chatter and wear on the stem and button. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the beautiful shape and the grain on the bowl even through the dirt and debris of many years. Jeff took a photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank to capture the readable stamping. As is my habit I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-l5.html) on the Loewe brand. I have included a screen capture of the information that is shown there. I quote from the sidebar on the site below as it gives a good summary of information.
Brand founded 1856 by Emil Loewe. First overtaken by Civic the brand became part of Cadogan group (BBB, Civic, Comoy, GBD, Loewe, Orlik) about 1979.
I also quote from what I found previously on Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Loewe_%26_Co.).
Loewe is one of the haunting old names of British pipe-making, characteristic of an almost vanished “upper middle class” of the trade, which also incorporated makes such as BBB, Orlik, Comoy’s and GBD. Along with these brands, Loewe has long dwindled into pseudo-existence, becoming little more than a logo occasionally used by the Cadogan factory in Southend-on-Sea. But owners of older Loewes treasure them as superb, featherweight smokers, excellently crafted and with grain characteristics superior to those of many contemporary Dunhills.
The firm and its facilities were later taken over by Civic, well before becoming a fully integrated part of the Cadogan group sometime in the final quarter of the twentieth century. As with other brands belonging to this group, it is not easy to pinpoint a date marking the end of Loewe’s independence and singularity. This is partly due to Cadogan’s own development from a cooperative to a monolithic entity.
In 1979, a German paperback said that the Loewe brand had been discontinued two years previously, but that the pipes themselves were due to reappear as high-end GBDs. Interestingly, the year of publication coincided with the year in which the Loewe trademark became Cadogan’s, who by this time already owned GBD. From today’s point of view, the author appears to have been working on confused, but partly true information. If there were ever really plans to fully amalgamate the two lines, they were dropped. Also, a two-year break at this time seems impossible, since we have hallmark evidence of Loewes made in 1978 and 1979. However, there are firm indications that Loewe shapes were later marketed as Comoy’s (another Cadogan brand). There may also have been a phase of dissolution regarding location. The reported appearance of French Loewes in the early 1980s is a sign that Loewes were being produced in more than one place at some stage before the Cadogan-era proper.
From what I can gather, Cardogan’s various brands continued to be made in separate facilities throughout the1970s. It was the purchase of Orlik in 1980 that enabled the Cadogan group to consolidate all manufacturing in that company’s new factory in Southend-on-Sea. Whether or not this transferral was a gradual process and when it affected Loewe is unclear. We hear that, as a company, Loewe was not formally wound up by Cadogan (the successor to Civic) until the late 1980s. Of course, today’s ‘Loewes’ are definitely made in Southend – though, according to Cardogan, the trademark is no longer used very much.
The Frenchman Emil Loewe founded the company, both shop and workshop, in 1856 at the Haymarket 62, London. He is said to have been the first to make briar pipes in England. Richard Hacker maintains that theatre people from the West End were among the shop’s heyday aficionados. Loewe’s spigots are especially well regarded by lovers of elegance today – they were originally introduced for practical reasons, to facilitate the production of replacement stems for customers abroad.
The article also included a link to a shape chart which I have included the pertinent portion to the left for ease of reference https://pipedia.org/wiki/Loewe_Shape_Chart).
The pipe I am working on is a shape that is called a Captanide which is the town name for the Prince shape. (I did a bit of searching on Google for Captanide as a town in England and came up empty-handed.) The shape is listed in the chart to the left as having a 1/8 bent stem. That was helpful information as I was not sure what the Captanide stamping meant.
With the information from Pipedia I knew that I was working on a pipe from Loewe & Co. that was made before 1979 when Loewe was bought out by the Cadogan Group and joined many other of the old brands that were purchased – BBB, GBD, Comoys and Orlik. The old gentleman that we bought the pipes from intimated that he purchased it at the Manhattan Barclay-Rex store. I was unable to pin down any information regarding the date this pipe was made. Now it was time to work on the pipe.
Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights grain of the briar. The rim top looked good with some darkening on the top and damage to the back outer edge of the bowl. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and scrubbed it with Soft Scrub to remove the remnants of oxidation. He also cleaned and polished the silver band til it glowed. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The top and inner and outer edge of the rim look very good. There is some slight darkening around the inner edge of the rim but otherwise no damage. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button. The stem top had tooth marks ahead of the button on both sides. I took a picture of the stamping on the left side of the shank and it was faint but readable as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. I started my work on the pipe by addressing the darkening on the rim top and edges of the bowl – inner and outer. I worked over the rim top and edges with 220 grit sandpaper until the darkening was minimized.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth after each pad. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” it with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth dents in the vulcanite on both sides. I sanded what remained smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend them in the rest of the stem surface. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful L&Co. (Loewe & Co.) Captanide Prince back together and buffed it on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It really is a great looking sandblast. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 1.59 ounces /44 grams. This L&Co. Captanide Prince is another great find in this collection. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. If you would like to add it to your collection let me know. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.