Daily Archives: November 16, 2021

This one is strangely beautiful – a Smooth Bowled Brial System Pipe

Blog by Steve Laug

This particular style of system pipe always reminds me of the tadpoles we used to catch when I was younger. We would get a jarful and watch them become frogs. The pipe has that same look to me. Or you might compare it to an inflated puffer fish. Either way it is an odd pipe and yet there is something strangely beautiful about it. We purchased this smooth bowled one from an antique mall on 10/28/17 in Bozeman, Montana, USA. I have worked on one other of these Brial pipes and have found them hilariously interesting. The base tube that receives the stem is made to be stuffed with wads of toilet paper or tissue to filter out the moisture in the smoke. The one I had before still had that in it. Fortunately, this did not as it is quite smelly and messy. This one had a fairly thick cake in the bowl  and some dings in the rim top and light lava on the inner edge of the bowl. The briar bowl was dirty with ground in oils and the tubular shank was dusty and dirty as well. The brass coloured ends of the tube were also lightly scratched and dirty. The tube has two small bumps on the bottom that act as feet making the pipe a sitter. The stem had tooth chatter and marks on both sides. I think the stem is a plastic product rather than vulcanite. It is quite different feeling and the marks in it are much like what I have seen on Medico pipe stems. The brass end plate on the stem end of the tube read Brial [over] Pats Pend. When removed there was a nickel nut on the inside holding the stem in place and a wire to wrap the tissue paper filter around. Jeff took these photos before he started his clean up of the pipe. Jeff took some photos of the rim and bowl to give a sense of the cake and lava situation. You can also see the nicks and scratches in the briar. It is still a nice looking piece of briar. The stem is also shown. You can see the tooth marks and chatter on the surface. Even the marks look different than the ones that are in vulcanite or acrylic. Jeff took a photo of the side of the bowl to give a glimpse of the grain on the briar. It is quite nice. He also captured the etching on the brass stem end of the tube. It reads as noted above.I mentioned above about the earlier Brial pipe that I had worked on. I turned to that blog now and reread the information that I had gathered on the brand. Here is the link to the blog if you would like to have a look at it (https://rebornpipes.com/2017/07/17/a-messy-cleanup-on-a-brial-system-pipe/). I quote the section from the blog on the brand itself. It is quite interesting.

I remember when I first started looking at getting a Brial pipe I Googled and found a write up on the brand on the Smoking Metal Website. It was that brief description, the photos and printed advertisement that hooked me and set me on the hunt to acquire one of them. I have included that write up for you. If you wish to read it on the website here is the link – http://www.smokingmetal.co.uk/pipe.php?page=70.

The BRIAL pipe is basically an alloy cylinder to which the briar bowl is screwed through the base of the bowl. The front end is permanently sealed with an alloy endpiece. The cylinder is filled with a tissue to act as an absorption media. This can be tamped in or extracted by means of the probe attached to the mouthpiece plate.

To enable the pipe to stay upright on a table, two dimples have been made in the underside of the cylinder to act as ‘feet’ as shown in my photos.

Brials were available in natural aluminium, brass anodized finish or black… The pipe was patented and manufactured by Salimar Oden in Jefferson Historic District, Muskegon, Michigan. It is believed he continued to market them until his move to Florida in 2000.

Smoking Metal also had a copy of this advertisement sheet on their site. Personally, I love the wording and descriptions on these older advertising flyers. The way they speak of the pipes and what they deliver always gives me cause to laugh. This one is no exception. I include it below. Make sure to give it a read.I posted a note on the Facebook Metal Pipe Smokers Group asking about information on the pipe and potential patent information. One of the members, Cody Easom posted some pictures of a new old stock, unsmoked Brial with the various inserts that came with the pipe. The first photo shows the new pipe with the box and the insert. The second photo shows the insert itself. The third and fourth photos show the inside of the new pipe. Now, the goal is in front of me – to get the old pipe on my table to look like this one. My brother did an amazing job cleaning out the inside of the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and took the cake back to bare briar. He cleaned out the inside of the tube/cooling chamber and the airway in the screw in the bottom of the bowl and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. He scoured out the inside of the chamber with steel wool, cotton swabs and alcohol until the inside shone. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He rinsed it with warm water to remove the excess Deoxidizer. When I finally brought it to my work table I took photos of the pipe. The black matter chamber is very nice with a few small nicks on the sides. The briar bowl is very nice.    I took some close up photos of the bowl, rim and stem surfaces to show how well it had cleaned up and what would need to be addressed. The bowl looked very good. There was some darkening around the inner edge of the bowl and some burn damage on the back side. The stem had a lot of tooth marks and chatter on both sides and looks very different from its vulcanite counterparts with tooth chatter.I took a photo of the stamping on the brass end of the barrel. It is clear and readable as noted above. The brass is in great condition. I took the pipe apart and took photos of the parts. The first one shows the stem removed from the shank and the wire that holds the tissue filter paper. The others show all the parts. I started my work on the pipe by addressing the darkening and burn damage on the inner edge of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out and give it a light bevel. I decided to polish out the nicks and scratches with the micromesh sanding pads and to leave behind what remained as a part of this pipe’s journey. I polished the briar bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The bowl and rim began to take on a rich shine by the end of the cycle. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar 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 touched up the nicks in the matte black finish of the sides of the barrel with a black Sharpie pen. It worked surprisingly well.I rubbed the finish down with some Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the finish and let it sit for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth. It looked really good.With that finished I turned my attention to the plastic/nylon/strange material stem! I sanded out the tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I spent more time than usual with the wet dry sandpaper as the stem material was very porous looking and I wanted to smooth it out.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet 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.This is one that I am excited to finish the restoration on. Metal pipes can be a bear and painted ones even more so. But, this Brial Pat Pend System Pipe was actually an exception. I put the pipe back together and gently buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the polished  matte black shank tube and the black stem. This is truly beautiful in a very odd way. It actually feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 50 grams/1.76 oz. It is an interesting pipe and one that will be added to the American Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

An Anton Partsch Crafted Austrian Glazed Clay Long Pipe

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe has been here for quite a while and it is one that I have repeatedly looked at and passed over. I am guessing that it is an old timer from possibly the early 19th century. It has a red clay bowl that is unsmoked and the outside has been fired with a glaze that looks very good. It has gold paint on all eight of the angles of the octagonal bowl. The base of the bowl is a clam shell that holds the upright chimney of the bowl. There is a nickel rim cap and hinged wind cap on the bowl. There is a nickel band on the shank end with a ring for a piece of string that originally went from there to the top of the horn stem. The pipe has two embossed stamps on the left side of the bowl. The one on the bowl is an eagle with outstretched wings and the one on the base reads Partsch. Both have been embossed with gold. The shank has a corked end on the long cherry wood barked branch to keep it in the bowl end. The top of the cherry wood is capped with a polished horn ferrule and is threaded to receive a bent horn stem. There was some worm damage to the stem. The amazing thing about the pipe is that it has never been smoked. The pipe is quite large with an overall length from the front of the scallop to the tip of the stem of 12 inches. The parts of the pipe are even longer when apart – the cherry wood shank is 9 inches long, the bowl is 2 inches long and the stem is 2 inches long. The bowl is 3 inches tall to the rim top with the wind cap adding an extra ¼ of an inch.

I took some photos of the parts of the pipe to give a better picture of it. The first one below shows the wind cap. You can see that the diameter is quite wide. The cap has some dents and scratches that I will probably leave as is rather than risk damaging it. The second and third photos show the horn ferrule and stem. The worm damage is on the right side of the stem at the button end. The other end is threaded and there is an extra ring where the cord and tassels were attached.The next photos show the stamping on the inside of the wind cap and the side of the bowl and base. The inside of the cap reads ECHT NICKEL which translates Genuine Nickel. On the right base side it reads PARTSCH in a gold rectangle. On the side of the bowl is an gold oval with an Eagle with extended wings.I took the cherry wood shank off the glazed clay base and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the proportions and size. The cork is in such good condition that I am almost certain that it has been replaced.That is the pipe as it stands before I did anything to it. Remember it was unsmoked so it would not be an intrusive or intensive restoration. Rather it would be a polishing and shining up an already beautiful pipe without doing any damage to the antiquity of the pipe. But before I started on that process I wanted to learn more about the brand. What, where and who made this red fired clay pipe. It was time to do some research and dig out what I could find out about the brand.

I turned to my usual sources to dig out any information that I could find and there was nothing on either Pipephil’s site or Pipedia. Both came up empty. I expanded the search to a general Google search for the Partsch label to see if I could find anything listed. That was a much more fruitful search. The first site that came up was picclick.co.uk and it had some information on the brand. I quote from the site below. https://picclick.co.uk/Partsch-red-tobacco-pipe-with-original-stem-Smoking-172799026344.html

Partsch red tobacco pipe with original stem. Partsch red tobacco pipe with original stem. A fine antique Partsch German long clay pipe. This beautiful long pipe has a red brown bowl with a nickel cap. The cap is stamped underneath ‘echt nickel’. The bowl is marked Partsch and has also an impressed Austrian eagle. This also appears to have its original cherry wood stem and original mouthpiece. Dimensions: 28.5cms long. Height of the bowl from cover to base 8.5cms. Cross section of the bowl 2.5cms x 2.5cms and bowl aperture is 2.1cms.Weight: 85gms Condition: Rare to get a pipe with all original parts.

The description of the pipe associates the ‘Echt Nickel’ stamp with German and identifies the pipe as a German made long clay pipe. I was not sure of that so the hunt continued.

The next mention on the Google hunt was to a pin on Pinterest. These often are unproductive so I was not overly hopeful regarding information, but I was wrong. I quote from the description on the pin below (https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/25051341664836403/).

This is a fine antique, long handle, smokers pipe that has been well used and well loved. It was made in Austria by Anton Partsch and bears the stamp “PARTSCH” as well as the “Austrian Eagle Crest” on its bowl. The bowl has a clamshell relief pattern at its base and is in a terra-cotta red glazed clay. The hinged metal wind cap has two slots and a turned down ball clasp for closure. There is a cord loop on the metal band around the shank but no cord. I believe the reddish bark coloured wood is cherry…

From that information I learned that I was dealing with a pipe made by Anton Partsch and that the stamps on the side were indeed what I thought they were. What was really helpful was the author identified the Eagle with outstretched wings as the “Austrian Eagle Crest”.

The next link provided more information. It was a pipe that was for sale/sold on Worthpoint and the description added new information to my growing understanding of the brand. (https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/partsch-schemnitz-pipe-bowl-antique-1855443319) I quote below.

The vast majority were finished in subdued solid colors of carmine, terracotta, brown, and black, the last two being the most common. and occasionally found in mottled, marbled, or dappled green and blue. These early, paneled bowls were mass-produced in the town of Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia, Selmecbánya (Hungarian), Schemnitz (German), or Chemnitz (English), once the largest and most famous mining center of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. These pipe bowls are often identified in literature as hard stone, or stoneware, because of their highly polished and transparent-glazed surface finish, but they were not of a hard stone composition; they were fired, containing a mixture of white clay for strength and red clay for sheen.

This was the most detail of the area that the bowl came from in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and that they were made of a mixture of white clay from strength and red clay for sheen. They had a glazed surface that gave them the look of stone but were not made of that. Fascinating how the picture is growing.

The next piece of the puzzle came from a discussion on Pipesmagazine.com forums. I quote some of the pertinent parts of the discussion that added to my understanding. The initial poster refers to an article on Facebook that is no longer available. You can click on the link and read the discussion in its entirety if you so choose (https://pipesmagazine.com/forums/threads/antique-schemnitz-austro-hungarian-clay-pipe-rarity-age.36245/).

…The article says they’re most common in black and brown, less so in terra-cotta and red, and “occasionally” in blue or green. I found some closed auctions on eBay and posts elsewhere showing terra-cotta, mottled brown, and black ones. They usually seem to have a scalloped metal sleeve on the bowl with a hinged wind-cap, and some have a metal band around the end of the shank, presumably to prevent cracks.

…The bowl is glazed in cream color with softly-dappled green swirl patterns, the cream becoming a sort of buttercream yellow behind the green areas. The shell bottom and shank are black, with a tiny hint of gold on the scallops. The wind-cap has eight slots around the edge and a nice curled clasp that snaps down; I’ve seen photos of very plain bands on the bowl, solid with a scalloped lower edge, and some very ornate pierced ones, and this is somewhere in the middle, plain with a fancy, pierced border. The inside of the cap has “ECHT NICKEL” (genuine nickel) stamped in big block letters…

The maker’s mark, stamped into the shank and gold-glazed, is “PARTSCH,” which that article tells me is Anton Partsch. There is also, up on the lower part of the bowl, a gold oval stamp with a soft pattern in the center, I assume the maker’s company sigil. The shank has a plain metal band, with a loop for a cord…

…It has a bark-covered wood stem, with a cork-and-reed tip on the bottom and a turned horn ferrule (which has a tiny age crack) on top and a wooden mouthpiece (on closer examination just now, the lip is translucent under a very bright, focused light, so I think this must also be horn). The stem is kept with the bowl by a brown string or cord, tied around the mouthpiece and ending in two tassels, like many of the German wood and porcelain pipes…

I have highlighted the information that fits my pipe in bold in the quotes above. I did find from the conversation that the Terra Cotta version I have is a bit rarer to find than the black or brown versions of the pipe.

I found two scholarly articles. I have included the link to the first one below. It is a PDF on pipes made in Theresienfeld (Davey 2010 Theresienfeld pipes.pdf). I quote a portion of the paper on the PARTSCH pipes. It is very interesting and confirms the stamping.

These pipes bear a PARTSCH relief stamp in a rectangular  frame  on  the  side  of  the  socket  and  an  oval SCHUTZMARKE  relief  stamp  at  the  base  of  the  funnel  in which the legend surrounds the upper part of an eagle with spread wings.

The next information came from a Master’s Thesis for Oregon State University. I included the link and the identifying information below. I quote tow paragraphs that help give information on the Partsch pipe I am working on.

An Abstract Of The Thesis Of – Oregon State University

AN ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS OF Diane Zentgraf for the degree of Master of Science in Applied Anthropology presented on December 14, 2018.

Title:  Mid-Nineteenth Century Clay Smoking Pipes from Fort Hoskins (35BE15) and Fort

Yamhill (35PO75), Oregon.

 …Reed stem clay pipe manufacturing began in the Austro-Hungarian Empire during
the last quarter of the 17th century (Gačić 2011: 31), utilizing local clays in Northern and
Western Hungary (Gačić 2011:31, citing Ridovics 2009:64). During the 19th century, the
pipe making was concentrated in Wiener Neustadt, Theresienfeld and Pernitz, in the
southern section of Austria, with strong connections to production centers in Hungary

Twenty pipe making workshops have been identified by Bielich and Curny (2009: 342-
348), including pipe makers S. Boscovitz, Anton Partsch, Jacob Reinitz, S. Seiler, Károly
Zachar, Anton Ress, Michael Honig, M. Amstätter and Joseph Schmidt.

The Hapsburg dynasty required pipes be marked with a maker’s mark in the early 19th century (Bielich and Curney 2009:358).  In the literature these are termed Austro-Hungarian pipes and are characterized by a consistent form that was repeated with very little change (Gacic 2011:54).  The most common pipe form is termed a Schemnitz pipe and is described as made of good quality clay in molds and having a narrow “tall cylindrical head (with either round or polygonal cross-section) profiled like a shell at the bottom” (Gacic 2011:54). These pipes were popular and often copied (Figure 21) 49 (Morgenroth 2001:56), and are described as having muted colors, reddish to black in color, marbled black-grey color, often mixed with white clay.

I am pretty certain I have found the last piece of information I needed. It seems that there were many pipe making workshops in the early 19th century concentrated in three areas in southern Austria – Wiener Neustadt, Theresienfeld and Pernitz. It is in those areas that Anton Partsch is said to have been a pipe maker. It is also clear that during the Hapsburg Dynasty all pipes had to be marked with the maker’s mark in the early 19th century. That further locks the date down for the pipe I am working on.

Now that I had gathered a bit of an education on the maker and pipe it was time to do some polishing on the pipe. I polished the horn ferrule with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil. The horn took on a lot of life and depth from the polishing It is a nice looking piece. I rubbed the bark of the cherry wood shank piece with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the bark, cork and horn with my finger tips. It works to clean, preserve and protect wood. I let it sit for 15 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth. The bent horn stem had some worm damage on the right side near the button. I filled it in with some clear CA glue and built up the damaged area. I reshaped the button as well as it had some nicks in it. I sanded the repaired area with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out and then started polishing the horn with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. It looked better. I polished the horn with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each pad with some Obsidian Oil. I gave it a final polish with Before & After Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it another rub down with Obsidian Oil. The horn really began to shine as I finished the polishing. With the stem repaired and polished I was finished with my work on the pipe. I wiped down the nickel plated rim and wind cap as well as the nickel plated shank end cap with a jewelers cloth to remove the moderate oxidation and to protect it. I did not want to remove the dents in the wind cap as it could actually ruin the value of the pipe. I gave it a coat of Conservator’s Wax and a hand buff with a fluffy cloth to raise the shine. This Anton Partsch Red Glazed Pottery Bowled Long Pipe came out looking quite amazing. The horn ferrule and stem polished nicely as did the cherry wood shank. It all came together well. To think that the pipe is at least 200 years old and never been smoked is quite unbelievable. The dimensions of the pipe are, Length: 12 inches, Height: 3 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is; 92 grams/3.25 ounces. I really enjoyed working on this beauty and felt a sense of touching the past in a tangible way. The pipe will stay in my own collection to be enjoyed and savored. I don’t think I will ever fire up a bowl as it has not been smoked since it was made and there is something unique about that. But then again, the right day may come and I will fire it up. We shall see. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me. As Paresh always says, “Stay Safe”.