Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the worktable is an interesting piece of pipe history. It is an unsmoked Gourd Calabash with a porcelain cup, gourd bowl, nickel band and an amberoid stem that is connected to the shank with a bone tenon. What makes it unique is the stamping on the band which reads C.P.F. in an oval with three faux hallmarks over that logo stamp. I have a collection of C.P.F. pipes here that I have worked to build up over the years in all different sizes and shapes as well as a variety of materials. I have had gourd calabash pipes that I have rebuilt and restemmed in this brand but I have never seen a New Old Stock (NOS) unsmoked one. I wrote a blog a few years ago on the brand that gives a clear history and defines the meaning of the C.P.F. stamp. Here is the link to the blog and a pertinent quote that I am including below. (https://rebornpipes.com/2013/04/14/some-reflection-on-the-historical-background-on-cpf-pipes/).
From my research I believe that we can definitively assert that the C.P.F. 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.
This unsmoked C.P.F. calabash is new/unsmoked and it has some features that have been missing from the other smoked calabash C.P.F. pipes that I have worked on. The porcelain bowl is quite clean other than the dust of age. The rim top/cap of the cup is glazed with a few spots of the glazing running into the edge of the bowl. It is also a little rippled from the glazing process they use on the bowl. The underside shows the casing marks on the edge that I have not seen before. The underside of the cup is clean and is a white untarnished porcelain. The gourd itself is also very clean but has the debris left behind from the seeds that were in the uncut gourd – kind of stringy material. The bone tenon is unblemished and new looking. The nickel band is also unmarked with stains. The stem is probably a Bakelite material or even and amberoid material and does not have tooth marks, chatter or staining in the airway. It is truly an unused pipe. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he processed it. Jeff took some photos of the gourd to show the condition of the pipe when we received it. It was dusty, dirty and had some grime worked into the surface of the briar from sitting unused in someone’s collection.He took photos of the band and stamping in the nickel. It is clear and readable. The C.P.F. logo is very clear and readable.Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe to clean up the dust and debris on the gourd and in the ceramic bowl. 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 carefully scrubbed the exterior of the gourd with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit. He scrubbed the porcelain cup the same way. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights the patina in the meerschaum and the gold of the gourd. He cleaned the internals of the stem with alcohol and carefully scrubbed the Bakelite with Soft Scrub to remove the grime on the stem. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed that it looked so good. I took a photo of the parts of the bowl and stem. I took photos of the bowl and the stem to give a sense of the condition of both. The porcelain bowl looked really good. It was undamaged and the glaze on the rim top was flawless other than the normal wrinkles of a glaze. It is a nice looking bowl. The stem looked to be in great condition. The nickel band looks clean and shiny.The stamping on the nickel is very readable. I took the pipe apart and took photos of the parts. It is really a beauty.The calabash was quite dry so I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish with my finger tips. The product cleans, protects and enlivens the surface of the material that it is rubbed into and in this case it really enhanced the colour on the gourd. I greased the cork gasket with Vaseline Peteroleum Jelly to enliven the cork. It makes the cork flexible and pliable again and enables it to solidly hold the porcelain bowl in place.Once the Vaseline been absorbed into the cork and the cork was pliable I put the bowl in place in the gourd. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process. I really enjoyed refurbishing this pipe because I love the final touches that make it sing. I put the Gourd Calabash back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the gourd and 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. It is fun to see what the polished porcelain bowl looks like with the smooth finished gourd and the golden amberoid stem. This richly finished Gourd Calabash is light weight and the porcelain bowl is clean and ready load up with my favourite tobacco (if I decide to smoke is 100+ year old unsmoked pipe). Have a look at it in the photos below. As noted above, Its measurements are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 3 inches, Diameter of the porcelain cup: 1 ¾ inches, Diameter of the chamber: 7/8 of an inch, Depth of the chamber: 1 ¼ inches. The weight of the pipe is 54 grams/1.90oz. This is one will be joining other C.P.F. pipes in my personal collection of the brand as it is a unique addition. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.