Daily Archives: December 18, 2021

Look at this!! A Beautiful Unsmoked Pipe in my bag of Older Pipes yet to be Restored

Blog by Steve Laug

This afternoon I was going through some of the older pipes that I have in a bag to filter into the queue of work to do. The case on this one intrigued me and I could not remember what was inside of it. The leather cover on the case was in decent condition and looked to be older. There was some wear on the edges of the case but the hinges and lock worked very well. I took it out of the bag and turned it over in my hands getting more excited by the moment.Don’t you want to know what is inside of the case? Is it an older meerschaum pipe? Is it an amber stem pipe? Is it just a great case with an ugly pipe inside? Well… I will get there. I took it to my desk and laid it on the pad I use for work. I really had no idea what was inside. I slowly opened the case and this is what I saw.I was stunned at what I saw. It was an absolutely beautiful looking older pipe. The briar was pristine and the gold coloured filigreed rim cap and shank ferrule were undamaged and in perfect condition. The stem was amber and there was not a mark or a break in it. It was flawless. When I removed the bowl it was also UNSMOKED or New Old Stock (NOS). I was flabbergasted at what I was looking at – a pipe from the late 1890 or early 1900s. Furthermore the pipe and case linked two of the brands that I have worked on a lot over the years and set up a sub collection of in my cabinet. The case has a gold stamped Three Stars [over] G.F.B. in a logo on the inside of the green fabric lid. The shank of the pipe is stamped with Three Stars [over] Manhattan in an arch underneath. Have a look at the photo of the case and pipe below.I turned to first to a couple of the blogs that I have written on the restoration of G.F.B. pipes in the past. I reread them and have included a link to one of them below. I was able to identify that the G.F.B. stamp stood for Genuine French Briar (https://rebornpipes.com/2013/11/21/restoring-an-older-gfb-three-star-horn-stem-bent-bulldog/). I have included a catalogue page on the brand below for you to see. The description fits the rim cap and ferrule of mine. It says “Beautiful Rolled Gold Plate Mountings and Real Amber Bits.”So far I had found and read several blogs on the G.F.B. stamp that was on the inside of the case. Now it was time to do a bit of reading on the Manhattan stamping on the pipe. I again turned to a blog I have written on the brand below (https://rebornpipes.com/2017/07/24/another-interesting-piece-of-pipe-history-manhattan-canted-dublin-with-a-horn-stem/). I quote from that blog what I found on the brand.

I thought it would be interesting to see if there was any new information online regarding the brand. Of course, I checked on the Pipes, Logos and Stampings – PipePhil’s site. There was a listing for Manhattan pipes but there was not any new information and what was there was inconclusive. I turned to Pipedia to see if there was a new article. I was surprised to find that there was one, I do not know if it was new or not, but I do not recall seeing it before. The article was called The Manhattan Briar Pipe Company. It is an interesting read so I have included the article in its entirety as well as the advertisement from 1913 that showed a Manhattan pipe…

The Manhattan Briar Pipe Co. was organized in October, 1902 by the American Tobacco Company, under an agreement with the owners of the Brunswick Briar Pipe Company, as a New York corporation. Its initial address was 111 5th Avenue, New York City, and the value of its stock in 1902 was $350,000.00. American Tobacco Company had itself been founded in 1890 by J. B. Duke through a merger between a number of U.S. tobacco companies, and was one of the original twelve members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 1896. It was commonly called the “Tobacco Trust”.

The majority of the stock in Manhattan Briar Pipe Company was immediately acquired by the American Tobacco Company after the company was organized, but the prior owners retained a controlling minority interest for some years. In October, 1906, however, the American Tobacco Company acquired the remaining shares of stock, and from that point on Manhattan Briar was the pipe making branch of American Tobacco. By 1911, however, American Tobacco had been dissolved in anti-trust litigation, and Manhattan Briar Pipe Co. became a separate concern.

Manhattan Briar Pipe Co. had started operations in 1905 in Jersey City, New Jersey, having taken on a lease for a ten year period in 1905, and maintained a factory at Marion, New Jersey, where the pipes were made. By 1913, former American Tobacco pipe department chair John Glossinger was the president of Manhattan Briar Pipe Company, and began a significant advertising push for high grade pipes, using the slogan “Don’t spoil good tobacco by using a poor pipe”. It appears from cases having appeared on the estate market that Manhattan also sold meerschaum pipes, most likely rebranded articles originally made by European craftsmen.

After the expiration of the Jersey City lease the Manhattan Briar Pipe Company maintained offices and a factory at 415-425 Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn, New York beginning in 1915, evidently under the direction of W. C. Bastian, who had been granted a patent for a chambered pipe stem otherwise seemingly identical to a Peterson P-Lip in 1910. An employee of the company, one J. Gianninoto, was granted a patent for a device meant to permit the emptying of a cuspidor without the mess in early 1918, and the company continues to be listed in local directories through 1921. In 1922 Manhattan Briar was purchased by S.M. Frank and merged into that company. https://pipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan_Briar_Pipe_Co.

Further digging led me to a link on the S.M. Frank Co. & Inc. history page. Reading through the history of the company I found that S.M. Frank not only purchased the Manhattan Briar Pipe Company but also purchased WDC or William DeMuth & Company – two of the older brands that I enjoy working on. Here is the relevant section from the link: In the year 1900 Sam Frank Sr. started his own business, selling pipes and other tobacco items. His original office was located at 20 W. 17th Street, NYC. He was also closely associated with the sales staff of Wm. DeMuth & Co., selling their line of pipes. It was at this time that Mr. Frank first met Ferdinand Feuerbach and formed what would be a lifelong friendship. Mr. Feuerbach started working for the DeMuth Company in 1897 and by 1903 had become the production manager. In 1919, when Mr. Frank needed an experienced pipe man to run his pipe factory, located at 168 Southern Blvd., in the Bronx, he persuaded his old friend Ferdinand to join him. Mr. Feuerbach is credited with developing DeMuth’s popular Royal DeMuth and Hesson Guard Milano pipelines. In 1922, when S. M. Frank purchased the Manhattan Briar Pipe Co. the company incorporated.  http://www.smfrankcoinc.com/home/?page_id=2

That link led me to me to some further information including an advertisement and a shape chart on Chris Keene’s Pipe Pages http://pipepages.com/mbpc2.htm. I have included them here with acknowledgement to Chris Keene. I always enjoy reading the old copy of these advertisements as they take me back to place where the pipe was an acceptable part of the life. Now I had a pipe that linked the G.F.B. Brand (Genuine French Briar) with the Manhattan Pipe Company and it was a new unsmoked pipe. I carefully took the pipe out of the case and turned it over in my hands. It was indeed unsmoked and pristine. It was almost as if it had been sitting in the pipe case since it was made. I wrote Jeff to ask where we had picked it up. He wrote back that it had been bought off eBay back on December 3, 2017. It had come to us from Kunkletown, Pennsylvania, USA. The fact that it came to us on eBay is hard to believe because what we paid for it in 2017 would not even begin to capture what we would have paid for it today if we could find one. I took some photos of the pipe as I saw it. I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim top to show the unsmoked, pristine condition of the bowl and flawless rim cap. I also took some photos of the amber stem to show how it looked. There were no nicks, chips or tooth damage to be seen on this flawless stem.I took a photo of the Three Stars stamped over the arched Manhattan logo on the left side of the shank. You can also see the rolled Gold Plated Ferrule on the shank end in the photo. It is really a beautiful looking piece of pipe history.I unscrewed the stem from the shank to see an unblemished threaded bone tenon. It was free of damage and had not been over or under-turned in the shank. It was as pristine as the rest of the pipe. Can you tell how excited I am about this pipe.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and amber stem with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar and amber. 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.With the Restoration Balm applied to the briar bowl and the amber stem I was finished with the preservation of this G.F.B. Manhattan Bent Diamond shank Billiard. I carefully hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to raise and deepen the shine. It really a beautiful pipe that is over 100 years old. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 4 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is .88 ounces /25 grams. This G.F.B. Manhattan Bent Billiard was a great find that links the G.F.B. and Manhattan pipes that I have restored in the past. This is a pipe that will hold a special place in my collection. It is a pipe that has the capability 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 my revelry on this great find.

Breathing Life into a Stunning Charatan Mountbatten Royal Made in London England 209 Pot

Dal is experimenting with a stainable wood putty in this blog. I thought it would be an interesting read for rebornpipes readers. Give the blog a read. Nice work Dal.

The Pipe Steward

The Mountbatten Pot shape on the worktable came to me in December 2018 when my son, Josiah, came upon a lot of pipes for sale in an antique shop in St. Louis where he was studying.  He sent me a picture of the ‘St. Louis Lot of 26’ with the proposal that he would split the purchase price with me to benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria on the one condition that I choose one of the pipes for myself.  This pipe would be his Christmas present to me. This was an offer I could not refuse.  The St. Louis Lot of 26 was secured and I made my choice of a Christmas pipe of 2018.  The box was wrapped and placed under the tree in Denver, where our family gathered that year.  When the gifts were distributed, my name was on the wrapped package from Josiah.  After unwrapping it, the…

View original post 3,739 more words

Working on Hardcastle’s Special Quality Sandblast Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen to work on was purchased from an antique dealer on 02/23/18 in Naples, Florida, USA. I have worked on a lot of Hardcastle’s over the years but most of them have been Jack’ O London and other lower end ones. This is a Sandblast Billiard that is quite nice. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads SPECIAL QUALITY [over] BY HARDCASTLE. That is followed by the stamping Made in London [over] England. The stamping is clear and readable and there is no shape number evident. The taper stem also bears the Hardcastle’s “H” logo on the left side. The bowl had a thick cake and there was a lava overflow on the rim top filling in the sandblast. The inner edge of the rim was damaged and slightly out of round. The stem is oxidized, calcified and has tooth marks and chatter on both sides at the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up. Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top. The bowl had a thick cake that overflowed in lava on the inner edge and rim top of the bowl. I am hoping that the thick lava coat protected things underneath it from damage to the edges and top. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching, calcification and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button. Jeff took a photo of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the beautiful shape and the deep sandblast on the bowl even through the dirt and debris of many years.Jeff took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. You can see that it is clear and readable as noted above. I turned first to Pipephil’s site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-hardcastle.html) and found a pipe with the same stamping as the one that I am working on. There was no extra information in the side bars but it was good to see the same stamping.I turned to Pipedia to try and place this pipe in the timeline of the brand and was able find some helpful information which I have included below (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Hardcastle).

Hardcastle was founded in 1908 by Edmund Hardcastle and built itself a good reputation among the numerous British mid-graders. In 1935 Dunhill started to build a factory next door to Hardcastle in Forest Road, Walthamstow, London E17. The family owned Hardcastle Pipes Limited sold 49% of its equity to Dunhill In 1936.

Along with closing down its pipe factory in Notting Hill in 1946 Dunhill bought the remaining shares, turning Hardcastle into a 100% Dunhill subsidiary. As members of the Hardcastle family continued as executives in the company’s management Hardcastle retained a certain independence.

This ended in 1967. Dunhill merged Hardcastle with Parker (100% Dunhill as well). The new Parker Hardcastle Limited also absorbed the former Masta Patent Pipe Company. Hardcastle’s Forest Road plant was immediately given up and the production of Hardcastle pipes was shifted to Parker’s nearby St. Andrews Road factory – now consequently called Parker-Hardcastle factory.

In fact this put a definite end to Hardcastle as an own-standing pipe brand, and none other than Edwin Hardcastle, the last of the family executives, spoke frankly and loudly of Hardcastle pipes being degenerated to an inferior Dunhill second.

Today Hardcastle pipes use funneled down bowls that are not deemed suitable to bear the Dunhill or even the Parker name (as well as obtaining briar from other sources).


  • 1903: Edmund Hardcastle establishes the brand
  • 1936: Family sells 49% of the Hardcastle Pipes Limited shares to Dunhill
  • 1946: Dunhill buys the remaining shares, but the family continues to manage the company
  • 1967: Dunhill merges Hardcastle with Parker. The new Parker-Hardcastle Limited company absorbs the Masta Patent Pipe Company also.
  • After 1967 it is speculated that Hardcastle became the brand for “Parker Seconds”

John Loring states in “The Dunhill Briar Pipe – ‘the patent years and after'” that in the absence of sales receipts, or other items of provenance, Hardcastles cannot be accurately dated. Loring further states that he knows of no way to distinguish the briar source when looking at Hardcastle, Parker, or Parker-Hardcastle pipes. We should not expect to find any actual Dunhill production in these lines, and while one might be there, it is doubtful we will ever be able to determine it…

With the information from Pipedia I knew that I was working on a Family Period Pipe and one that was stamped Special Quality. It appears that it can be dated between 1903-1946 when the company was sold in full to Dunhill. 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 damage to the inner edge of the bowl and some colour loss to the outer edge. Jeff soaked the stem in bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. He worked it over with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner to remove any remnants of oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver and I finally started my work on it 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 inner edge of the rim was out of round on the back right side. The outer rim showed some colour loss during the clean up. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button. There was some remaining oxidation near the shank and the tooth marks and chatter were evident near the button on both sides.I took a picture of the stamping on the shank sides and it was all clear and readable as noted above. I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe with the stem. It is a good looking pipe and very unique. The stinger apparatus is damaged and fell out when I removed the stem.I started my work on the pipe by addressing the damage on the inner edges of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work over the inner edge to bring it back into round and clean up the damage. I restained the outer and inner edge with a Walnut stain pen to match the surrounding briar.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush 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 surface of the vulcanite. I was able to lift all of them. The rest would polish out with micromesh pads. I used some white acrylic fingernail polish to touch up the white stamped “H” on the left side of the stem. I rubbed it into the stamp with a tooth pick. I scraped off the excess and buffed it with a cotton pad and a 1500 grit micromesh pad. There was still oxidation that was quite deep and the stem was dull. I scrubbed it with Soft Scrub Cleanser on a cotton pad and was able to remove the remaining oxidation. It looked much better at this point. 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 Special Quality By Hardcastle’s Billiard back together and buffed it on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel and then 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 a nice looking sandblast highlighted by the combination of walnut and mahogany stains. 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 1.34 ounces /38 grams. This Special Quality By Hardcastle’s Billiard was a great find. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the British Pipe Makers section 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.