Category Archives: Pipe Related Essays

Short and not so short essays on pipes and tobacciana

One of those Antique Mall finds that makes you catch your breath


Blog by Steve Laug

This past weekend my wife and I took some much needed R&R and checked into a nice hotel about an hour and a half from home. We needed a break, as both of our work schedules have been heavy and my travel schedule has been quite demanding. It was great to be together and spend the weekend without a ringing phone and the ever-present work demands. We had plans for Saturday morning until about noon. However, we were absolutely free on Saturday afternoon and Sunday. We used the afternoon to visit one of our favourite spots. It has great restaurants, brewpubs and many different kinds of shops. One shop that we always check out is an antique mall. Irene always seems to find something there and so do I. She was happy to have found an older hard cover cookbook to replace one she had given away. I could not believe what I found. It was in the last row of the stalls in the mall, in almost the last booth. I looked in a cupboard thinking I might find something. There in the middle of the cupboard there was an old style tin of Capstan Medium Strength Navy Cut tobacco.

The label covered the lower part of the tin and goes about half way up the tin. The tin itself was oxidized and discoloured but did not appear to be punctured or compromised. The label on the front side of the tin reads; Medium Strength “Capstan” Navy Cut over W.D. & H.O. Wills, Bristol & London. You can see the layout of the label in the photo to the left. I could not believe what I was seeing. This looked like an old timer. I have handle a lot of old empty tobacco tins in my hunt for that full tin hidden among the tobacciana memorabilia. Many have looked like they had something in them. Some were empty or at best half full of old dried and rattling tobacco that was beyond its life. The difference was that this tin had a hand written tag from the seller that said that it was unopened. It was hard to tell through the glass of the cupboard what the seller meant by unopened. I purchased a “sealed” tin of older Balkan Sobranie that was open under the metal top cap once I opened it at home. The tobacco had dried out. Even rehydrating it did not bring the true depth of flavour of the tobaccos. So I was dubious about this “unopened tin”. I was hopeful that it was; and if so then the price of $25 was not a lot to pay for aged Virginia tobacco.

With a bit of “optimistic pessimism” I went to find the clerk to open the cupboard for me so I could check out the tin. I am one of those “got to have it in hand and check it out” kind of guys. I wanted to give it a light shake to see if it rattles. When the clerk opened the cupboard and handed me the tin I lightly shook it. Instead of a rattle, there was a thud as the contents moved from top to bottom. I looked at the sides and bottom of the tin and it appeared undamaged. I pried of the top and underneath the top of the tin was intact! I did not let the clerk see my enthusiasm at this point I just wanted to pay for the tin and take it to the car to check it out more thoroughly. I paid the $25 plus the extraneous taxes here in British Columbia and she wrapped the tin in newspaper and handed me the bag.

When I got to the car, I took it out of the wrapping and checked it out more carefully. The tin had a slight bulge on both the top and the bottom. It was sealed tight and there appeared to be no rusted areas or punctures in the tin surface. I was excited. I took photos of the top and the bottom of the tin. The photo to the left shows the top of the cap. The second photo shows the cap removed and the sealed tin. The third photo shows the bottom of the tin.

The embossed lettering on the top of the can reads, “To open the tin remove lid and press “V-Cut” until the point is directly downwards. Replace lid, press slightly and turn.” This gives simple and clear instructions on how to open the can. In essence the can has its own built-in can opener on the cap. The lettering on the underside of the can reads, “NAAFI Stores for HM Forces” in a circle around the outside with a CM in the centre.

The last tin photo below shows the back of the tin and label. The label on the back of the tin had same light and dark blue colour scheme as on the front of the tin. It reads Grand Diploma of Honour over a series of coins/medallions that span the top of the label. In a small banner centered under the medallions, it read Antwerp 1885. Under the top banner, there was a rectangular box with a star and the word Trade Mark in a square on either side of the rest of the label. In the remainder of the rectangle, it read Cut Cake Tobacco manufactured from specially selected Leaf. Being perfectly air tight and easily opened, this tin is the best package for preserving Tobacco in fine condition in all climates. At the bottom of the label it read, Capstan (Navy Cut) is supplied in the following grades and strengths: Mild – Yellow Label, Medium Strength – Blue Label, Full Strength – Chocolate Label.

I had no idea what NAAFI Stores was when I read the bottom of the tin. I understood the CM probably stood for Capstan Medium.

I also understood the HM Forces to mean Her Majesty’s Forces. This gave me a starting point to try to date the tin. I looked first on Wikipedia to learn about the NAAFI stamp. Here it the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navy,_Army_and_Air_Force_Institutes#NAAFI_is_Born  In reading that I learned quite a bit. I quote that in part below.

After the First World War the Expeditionary Force Canteens (EFC) and the Navy and Army Canteen Board (NACB) did not return to the gratitude of the Nation. This was because EFC had made a large amount of profit from the sales of goods to the troops and opinion was divided as to what should be done with the money.

In March 1920 Winston Churchill, then Secretary of State for War, set up a committee to advise on the kind of organisation which would be needed for the Armed Forces in the future. The findings were unanimous; there should be one organisation to serve all three Services, it should be permanent and it should be able to rapidly expand or contract at times of war or peace. The Navy, Army, Air Force Institutes was therefore established on 6 December 1920 and started trading as NAAFI in 1921

As a not for profit organisation, with no shareholders to reward, NAAFI was asked to run the catering and recreational establishments needed by the armed forces. It had to make a profit for the good of the NAAFI customers – the men and women of the British Armed Forces- and so in addition it undertook to sell goods to servicemen and their families over and above those that were initially provided by the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC). The servicemen would benefit directly by getting cash rebates and discounts on purchases and indirectly through surpluses given back as a whole from each year’s trading.

For the first time the troops overseas were able to buy the same things in the canteen abroad as they could at home. NAAFI first saw overseas service in Ireland in 1922. Six years later NAAFI would have a presence in Bermuda, Ceylon, Germany, Gibraltar, Iraq, China, Jamaica, Malta, and the Middle East.

The NAAFI’s greatest contribution was during the Second World War. The Chairman & CEO during the war years was Sir Lancelot Royle and by April 1944 the NAAFI ran 7,000 canteens and had 96,000 personnel (expanded from fewer than 600 canteens and 4,000 personnel in 1939). It also controlled ENSA, the forces entertainment organisation. In the 1940 Battle of France alone, the EFI had nearly 3,000 personnel and 230 canteens.

From this I learned that NAAFI was formed by a committee set up by Churchill post WWI. The acronym NAAFI meant Navy, Army, Air Force Institutes and was formed in December of 1920 and began trading in 1921. It operated as a catering and recreation non-profit to sell goods to servicemen and their families. It was a discount store for servicemen. Its greatest contribution was during WWII growing from a small organization to a large one by 1944. This gave me a bit of a clue regarding the age of this can. Is it possible that this tin of tobacco remained unopened that long? Could it truly be from the time period of 1921-1945 with the close of WWII? I am not sure but that would date tin to the 1940’s. Is that true? Is that the correct period for this type of tin? I don’t really know. Perhaps some of you may be able to pin down the dates on this tin.

I close with an advertisement from the time period that I found while researching dates for this tin of tobacco. I love the language and the promises that are given in advertising from this time period. Things just seemed so much simpler in many ways – notice I said simpler, not better. Thanks for reading this blog.

 

It captured my attention: a beautiful Rinaldo Titania Lithos YY Author


Blog by Steve Laug

I don’t know if you have had this happen to you. But you probably have if you have been a pipe man for long. Today on my lunch hour I was browsing the Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Society (GPSS) on Facebook. I was honestly just taking a break from a morning of phone calls and meetings. I just wanted to have a quiet time. I shut the door of my office and quietly ate lunch and browsed through the feeds on GPSS. Then it happened. I saw a pipe that Neal Yarm was selling. Now Neal is selling a bunch of unsmoked pipes – Castellos, Ardors, Rinaldos and others. But this one – a Rinaldo Tatiana Lithos YY Author grabbed my attention. I have never had a Rinaldo on my work table or in my collection. But I liked the way this one looked. I clicked on the photos and enlarged them so I could look the pipe over. I went through every photo he included – they weren’t enough for me, I wanted more. But ultimately I had to admit no amount of photos would change the reality. I wanted this pipe; it ticked off all the boxes for me. It was unsmoked and came with the original pipe sock and box. What more could I ask for. I sent Neal a private message, he sent me the invoice, I paid the bill and the deal was done. Now I await it arrival.I know next to nothing about Rinaldo Pipes so I took some time to remedy that during the rest of my lunch hour. I googled the brand to see what I could find. The first thing I read was a quote from one of my favourite author’s on pipes and pipe brands – José Manuel Lopes. In his book, Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, he writes that Rinaldo is the Italian brand of the Sicillian artisan brothers Elio & Guido Rinaldo, who left for the continent at an early age and settled in Pesaro. At 15, Elio started working for Mastro de Paja, with Guido joining him shortly after, in 1974. Now I had some basic information. It was Italian (which I already knew) and it was made by two brothers in Pesaro.

I continued through the google listings and found a link to Smokingpipes.com. They sell new Rinaldo pipes and often in their introductory remarks to a pipe or a brand there is a lot of helpful information. In this case there is some repetition to the information from Lopes but also some expansion. I quote their entry from their online store in full.

Rinaldo pipes are made by two brothers, Elio and Guido Rinaldo in Pesaro, Italy. Elio began making pipes when he was only fifteen, and his younger brother, who worked with precious metals for jewelry, began making pipes when he was sixteen. There are few families of pipes being made these days, and these two gentlemen work in perfect harmony in their shop. They initially worked for a large pipemaking company, but branched off to work for themselves in 1987 when they started Rinaldo pipes. Because of his jewelry background, Guido is responsible for making all of their silver bands and accents on-site. They use acrylic stems and finish their pipes either smooth, sandblasted, or rusticated. Working together, the brothers produce around 1,500 pipes annually. https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/new/rinaldo/I read the next google entry which was Pipedia https://pipedia.org/wiki/Rinaldo. I read briefly there and saw that it cited Steve Monjure’s website – Monjure International. I followed the link to that site and read further http://www.monjureinternational.com/rinphist.htm. I looked through his interesting information on the Rinaldo brand and its history. He gave more detailed information on the brand that added to my knowledge base. I quote his introductory comments first and then the section on history.

The Rinaldo brand began in 1987. It produces 1500 pipes a year — mainly classic shapes, but with a more rustic design than the majority of similar Italian brands — and has its main markets in Italy, Germany, and the US. It uses briar from Liguria, and Lucite stems. The pipes are stamped: RINALDO. Grading: from one to four Y and Fiammata. Symbol: stylized Greek letters ρ and ι

From the history of the brand section I quote: http://www.monjureinternational.com/rinaldo.

Elio and Guido Rinaldo began their work with briar in 1974 at the very young ages of 16 and 14 respectively. At this time they were employed by a well known pipe factory. In the beginning they were involved with the design, modeling and finishing. After years of study, hard work, and hands on experience, Elio and Guido mastered their art. This knowledge combined with their sensitivity allowed them to answer the burning desire they had to express themselves in their own way. Their dream to create a pipe with their own mark became a reality.

In 1987, the two brothers founded “Rinaldo Pipes” with the intention of creating fine handmade (fatta a mano) pipes with highly personalized lines fitted with silver and gold treatments that distinguish their exquisite pipes from the vast panorama of pipes. Their production is very limited since Elio and Guido are the sole ones to make the Rinaldo pipe. This has been their wish from the very first day the factory was started. Because of this loyalty to solely crafting their pipes, the smoker is guaranteed that each phase of the work is being maintained by skilled and expert hands. Each Rinaldo pipe is made from the very best Mediterranean briar and Elio and Guido select each briar block for its compact texture and regular veining. The acrylic mouthpieces are perfectly balanced and studied for optimal dental grip. This attention to detail results in a mouthpiece that has a pleasant and “easy hold” and is truly a “work of art”.

The Rinaldo pipe is currently offered in the following finishes: Lithos(Rustic) – Sahara(Sandblast) – Triade(Smooth). The Rinaldo pipes are divided into three lines: Briar Line(All Briar) – Silver Line(Silver Ornaments) – Gold Line(Gold Ornaments). There are five grade levels: Y, YY, YYY, YYYY, and Fiammata(Straight Grain). All Shapes are available in the regular size bowl and the “Titania” which is a bowl of greater dimensions.

The pipe I had purchased is stamped on the underside of the shank Titania over Lithos YY, Hand Made in Italy, Rinaldo. From the above information I learned that the pipe was Rusticated (which I could see from the photos), it was graded YY (which is the second grade), and it was a Titania (which is a larger bowl). I also learned that the LITHOS hand made pipes came in three inishes – Rustic Tan, Brown or Black.The article went on to describe the detail and care that goes into each pipe that the brothers craft. Here is how the website describes it:

Each Rinaldo pipe is offered for the pleasure of beholding its classical and liberal forms. Elio and Guido Rinaldo’s passion for crafting the finest pipes available is evident in each piece. Elio and Guido Rinaldo are currently producing approximately 1,500 pipes per year. When it comes to hand-made (fatta a mano) Italian pipes, two brothers in Italy, Elio and Guido Rinaldo are raising eyebrows around the world and are proving that high quality doesn’t always come at a high cost. In 1987 they started the business that bears their name although they actually started making pipes back in 1974 when they were only in their teens. They use the finest Mediterranean briar and their pieces not only are expertly designed and easy to hold, but they use fine balanced acrylic mouthpieces to insure a pleasant grip and ease on the teeth. Although some pipe manufacturers employ a body of carvers to create their designs, the two Rinaldo brothers are the sole carvers of their company. They create pipes in three different finishes (smooth, sandblast, and rusticated), several different sizes, and line their pipes with briar, silver, and gold ornaments.

The Monjure International Website includes an article on Rinaldo pipes in Pipes & Tobacco Magazine. Here is a link to that article; it is well worth a read if you are interested in reading about the brothers and their pipes. http://www.monjureinternational.com/rinaldo_articleP1.htm

Now that I had educated myself regarding the brand I was even more excited for the arrival of my new pipe. I could not wait to have it in hand and examine it up close. I wanted to look over all the hand made details and care that had gone into its design. I don’t often buy a new pipe; my tendency is to buy estates (as those of you who read rebornpipes have already figured out). They are already broken in and after a bit of cleaning can pick up where the last pipe man laid them down. But in this case I have to tell you, I am looking forward to giving this one a go and breaking it in myself. Once more thanks for sharing my excitement on this one. It is good to know that others are inflicted with the same “disease” and enjoy pipes along with me… I know that my wife and daughters only word for this is, “Another pipe? Do you really need that?” And to those comments I nod a yes, make no excuses and share my excitement with each of you. Cheers!

 

A VIRTUAL PIPE HUNT – A new way to experience the joy of a pipe hunt


Blog by Steve Laug

To me there is nothing quite like the thrill of a pipe hunt to get my blood running. The anticipation of finding something that I had not found or seen before is always a prologue to the actual hunt itself. When I walk through the door of the “hunting ground” there is a new anticipation – what lies in store for me in the aisles and booths of the shop. I have found that some shops/malls are organized and have all of the tobacciana in one spot in the shop but the majority are not that systematized. Something about walking through a large or small shop with a focused objective makes the pleasure even more intense. When I find pipes – be it just a few or a box full – I get a solid rush as I work my way through the box and see if anything special is hidden in the lot. I have found Dunhill’s hidden in cans of junk pipes so I always work through the lot individually. I have to tell you that there are very few times that I come home from a hunt empty handed.

On Friday evening my brother Jeff called me from Montana. He and his wife had driven there to visit her parents. Along the way they had of course stopped at several antique shops and looked for pipes. In one of the shops he struck “gold”, the shop had a motherlode of pipes. He had talked with the owner and she told him she bought a box of pipes. He bought a few of them from her and then went back to the hotel and gave me a call. He showed me the pipes he had picked up and they were old ones. He had some nice pipes. He then told me the story and an idea he had.

His idea was brilliant really and quite simple. We both have iPads and use FaceTime to chat back and forth about pipes that he is looking at. He thought, why not bring the iPad to the antique shop and take me on the pipe hunt with him. That way we could look through the many pipes that were available in the shop and it would be like I was present experiencing the discovery of each one. We made a plan and set the time for the hunt. I was looking forward to checking out the place.

The next day after lunch my iPad showed that Jeff was calling on Facetime. I answered and in a moment I was inside the antique shop with him. We walked over to the corner of the shop where the display case was. The owner opened the case and Jeff brought out a rack of pipes at a time. He brought them to the counter where the iPad was sitting. He took each pipe out of the rack and we looked at the stamping on the shank and the condition of the mouthpiece and bowl. We looked at the stem material and determined what it was made of. We guessed the age as best as we could, given the brand and the style of the bowl and stem. We went through over forty pipes that way and spent the better part of an hour and a half.

He captured two photos of the iniside of the shop that showed what we saw when we were on FaceTime. They show a display case and the area where the pipes were in the store from two different angles. He gathered the pipes together and took them to his hotel room. He spread out the pipes on the bed and took some photos of the lot. There really are some unique pipes in the lot. I can’t wait to get them in Vancouver and work them over. There were many CPF pipes in the bunch that are different from others I have worked. The first is a photo that gives a big picture of the pipes we picked out from the shop.He also took some close up photos of sections of the lot. Here are those photos. They give you an idea of some of the unique pieces we found at the shop.The next two photos is a close up of the pipes on the left toward the top of the first photo.The next two photos show closer looks at the pipes in the middle and on the right side of the first photo. You can see from the photos that there are some interesting pieces that we found. I could not believe that we picked up 30 pipes and one case. There were 11 unique CPF brand pipes, 1 Manhattan, 1 Twisted shank horn stem, 1 Borlum, 1 Superior, 1 Hilson, 2 WDC, 1 Kaywoodie All Briar, 1 Imperial, 2 Italian Briar, 1 Hooker, 1 Stanwell Majestic,  1 London Thorn Drucquer pipe, 2 Meerschaums, 1 carved bulldog, 1 Seville, 1 Frank Bakelite and a RBC empty pipe case. He sent me a list of the brands on the pipes. I have grouped together to give a sense of what was present in the lot.

  1. CPF military mount Oom Paul
  2. CPF The Remington, French Briar, (Miliatary mount)
  3. CPF French Briar with Hallmarked band and horn stem. Filigree carving around bowl
  4. CPF Pullman with Horn Stem
  5. CPF Siamese with twin horizontal stems
  6. CPF Cromwell with twin vertical stems
  7. CPF Briar Bowl Sitting on Petals- Horn Stem
  8. CPF French Briar Bulldog with Horn Stem
  9. CPF French Briar with tarnished metal band and a Horn Stem (looks like mini-Wellington)
  10. CPF French Briar Horn Shaped Pipe with metal band and Horn Stem
  11. CPF Colon French Briar with Black Meer Bowl and Amber stem
  12. Briar pipe with twisted shank going into a twisted horn stem
  13. Borlum Italian Briar (Unbreakable Bit)
  14. Hilson Bolero, Made in Belgium, #8
  15. Superior with filigree metal band around shank and bowl- red bakelite stem
  16. Manhattan with Horn Stem
  17. WDC Monitor
  18. WDC Campaign with Briar unscrewable bowl
  19. Kaywoodie AllBriar 50B (All-imported Briar)- chewed off wood stem
  20. Imperial De Luxe, Made in London England (Mini-churchwarden)
  21. Italian Briar bulldog with red dot on stem
  22. The Hooker- with screw cap next to bowl on top of shank- Patented May 17,1910- Horn Stem
  23. Stanwell Majestic 64, Made in Denmark
  24. London Thorn, Drucquer & Sons, Berkeley
  25. Carved bulldog with yellow Bakelite stem
  26. Seville Filter, Imported Briar Italy
  27. Heavily Rusticated Italian Briar with wrong stem
  28. No-name Meerschaum Bowl and shank without stem- with spikes on bowl and shank, brown to black
  29. Large Meerschaum Capped Pipe with horn stem and cherry wood shank
  30. Frank Bakelite (EP Silver)
  31. RBC Genuine French Briar , Red-lined small Black Case

When Jeff returned home, he removed the stickers and tags from the pipe and laid them out on his kitchen table. The photos below give another look at the pipes – sans price stickers and tags. I would say we had a good day pipe hunting. I have never seen that many CPF pipes in one spot and the number of pipes of that age is unique as well. I think we will have to do some more of these virtual pipe hunts because it transcends borders and space and gives the experience in real time. The only thing missing to me was the actual handling of the pipes in person. The experience was really good and I was able to feel like I was in the shop itself as we looked at each pipe and discussed the pros and cons before buying them. You might consider this kind of pipe hunt if you have a good friend who enjoys the hunt as much as you do and has an iPhone or iPad. If you happen to try it out or have already done so in the past post a comment below. Thanks for looking.

 

 

 

 

Pipe Smokers’ Laws – Borrowed with Appreciation


Blog by Robert M. Boughton

Member, International Society of Codgers
Member, North American Society of Pipe Collectors
Member, Facebook Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Society
Website Roadrunner Restored Pipes
Blog RRP
Falderal About Me
Photos © the Author except as noted

For once I have a contribution to make, which I am so grateful to have chanced upon while surfing the Web for something I no longer even remember (and said forgotten search therefore being of no consequence), that needs no opening quote or official introduction.  I have no idea what category this offering falls under but doubt the change to my typical format will be met with anything less than approval and pleasure by the majority of this forum’s readers and contributors.  My  only request – call it a suggestion, if you prefer – is that the following list, courtesy of the Ozark Pipe Smokers of Rogers, AR, USA, be given a thorough reading with all due sobriety and gravity.  And I hereby move for its formal adoption by all pipe clubs, everywhere.  Anyone wishing to second the motion may do so by commenting below.

An Old Sealed Package of Eight Brothers Long Cut Tobacco


Blog Steve Laug

I was visiting my brother in Idaho and we went pipe hunting to see what we could find in the various antique shops and malls near by his home. One of the places we went was closing and they had some junk pipes for sale, a boxed set of bowls for a Koolsmoke metal pipe and a few tobacco tins that they were trying to sell out before the shop closed forever. Everything was 50% off so I was hooked to do a bit of looking at things I don’t normally buy. I picked up the Koolsmoke pipe bowls, an old tobacco tin the read Allen & Ginter’s Genuine Louisiana Perique, Made in Richmond, Virginia on the top and sides and a cellophane sealed pouch of Eight Brothers Long Cut Tobacco. I have seen the brand advertised before and I have seen it sold back in my early years or so I thought! I have no idea what it is or what tobacco is in the pouch. I don’t know if it was a Virginia, Burley or even a Latakia. I can’t seem to find any information on the contents of the tobacco. I decided to do a bit of research and see what I could find out about the brand.

I started my search on Google with the name “Eight Brothers Long Cut Tobacco”. I found lots of empty tins for sale and thought that was a dead end. But it was not! I started to notice that the tins had different company names printed on them. Some were marked Swisher International Inc., others were marked Schmitt Brothers Tobacco Works, Penn Tobacco Company, Bloch Brothers Tobacco Company, Helme Tobacco Company, General Cigar & Tobacco Company and also Culbro Co. I had no idea of the historical line of the brand and where it started. I did not know which company came first and which came next, etc. I just new that the package I found read General Cigar & Tobacco Co. a Division of Culbro Corporation. So my work was cut out for me.

Here is what I found. (Throughout this blog I will use pictures I found on the web for this tobacco. The tins show the various iterations of the tobacco through various manufacturers.)

On the US Trademark website (http://www.trademarkia.com/eight-brothers-71539750.html) I found out that the brand was first owned by Swisher International, Inc. (Helme Tobacco Company). Here is what I read on the site: On Friday, October 31, 1947, a U.S. federal trademark registration was filed for EIGHT BROTHERS by Swisher International, Inc., JACKSONVILLE 32206. The USPTO has given the EIGHT BROTHERS trademark serial number of 71539750. The current federal status of this trademark filing is EXPIRED. The correspondent listed for EIGHT BROTHERS is JUDITH D. COHEN of KANE, DALSIMER, SULLIVAN, KURUCZ, LEVY,, EISELE AND RICHARD, 711 THIRD AVENUE, 20TH FLOOR NEW YORK, N. Y. 10017 . The EIGHT BROTHERS trademark is filed in the category of Rubber Products . The description provided to the USPTO for EIGHT BROTHERS is SMOKING AND CHEWING TOBACCO.

It seems that the blend was sold to Schmitt Brothers Tobacco Works. This was an independent tobacco manufacturer, which was later bought by the Penn Tobacco Company of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Tins were printed Penn Tobacco Company during that time frame. In the photo below it reads Penn Tobacco Company and underneath it reads Successors to Schmitt Brothers Tobacco Works.I also found one that was printed Bloch Brothers Tobacco. From what I could find out on the web Bloch Brothers purchased the brand from Penn Tobacco Company and moved it to Wheeling, West Virginia. The tin below bears the name of Bloch Brothers and underneath reads Successors to Penn Tobacco Co.In 1969 Bloch Brothers/Penn Tobacco Co was sold to the General Cigar and Tobacco Company, which became a division of Culbro in 1978. The tin below is printed with the name General Cigar & Tobacco Co. I did some reading on the Culbro Company. Here is a link to the their website and specifically to the section on their history. http://www.culbro.com/about-us/our-history.html

Quoting from their site:

The Cullman family has a long history in all parts of the cigar industry. In 1961, Edgar Cullman, Sr., son of a tobacco grower and grandson of a tobacco merchant, entered the business of cigar manufacturing with the purchase of General Cigar, then a large maker of mass market cigars in the US. Under Edgar’s leadership, General Cigar entered the premium cigar industry and over time became the largest manufacturer and marketer of premium cigars in the US. Its leading brands include Macanudo, Partagas, Punch and Hoyo de Monterrey.

The cigar business was the core of General Cigar, but in the 1970s and 1980s, as cigars were experiencing declining consumption, the company diversified its holdings and changed its name to Culbro Corporation. During those years, it acquired, managed and sold a large number of businesses including Ex-Lax, a laxative maker, Bachman Foods, a snack food company, The Eli Witt Company, a wholesale distributor, Centaur Communications, a publishing company, CMS Gilbreth Packaging Systems, a manufacturer of packaging and labeling systems, and Bermas Plastics, a plastic cigar tip manufacturer. Culbro Corporation also formed a real estate development corporation which, when combined with Imperial Nurseries, ultimately became Griffin Land & Nurseries, Inc. and invested in HF, which subsequently became Doral Financial Corporation. Both of these companies were public spin-offs.

In 1997, when interest in cigars had resumed, Culbro once again took General Cigar public and split off the other businesses. A few years later, public markets lost interest in cigars, and General Cigar went private with the assistance of Swedish Match, a multiline tobacco business. Five years later Swedish Match acquired the whole business.

Culbro, LLC was formed in 2005 to bring the financial and operating experience of acquiring and managing businesses to bear in the private equity industry.

The label on my package is printed with the General Cigar & Tobacco Co. of Wheeling, West Virgina label. I know then that tobacco was manufactured between the dates noted above 1961-1969. 1969 was the date when Bloch Brothers Tobacco Co./Penn Tobacco Co. sold the brand to General Cigar & Tobacco. The other article note is that in 1961 Edgar Cullman, Sr. of Culbro Co. purchased General Cigar and tobacco. I believe that the package I have was made sometime during the 1960s (1961-1969).

A cellophane sealed Yellow Eight Brothers Tobacco package. Black print reads “Eight/Brothers/Mild Smoke/8 Brothers” over a circle that reads “ Mild Smoke on the top of the circle and “Pleasant Chew” on the underside. I the centre is an 8 over the word BROTHERS. Underneath the circle it reads “Long Cut Tobacco”. Both front and back are the same. On one side it reads “General Cigar & Tobacco Co.” with the following address: Wheeling, West Virginia. Underneath it has a CULBRO logo and reads “A Division of Culbro Corporation. On the other side it reads  “Union Made” and has a bar code.Now I have a decision in front of me – do I open the pouch and fire up a bowl or do I leave it as a historical pouch from 50+ years ago. What do you think?

A friend on the Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Group on FaceBook posted the following link for more information. https://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/549 What follows is an interesting addition to the above information.

“Jesse Bloch was president of the company from 1937 to 1947. During his tenure, the company expanded by acquiring the Pollack Crown stogie and the Penn Tobacco Company. Jesse’s son, Thomas, continued as head of the company, adding the firm of Christian Peper Tobacco Company and its line of pipe tobacco products to the mixtures being made in Wheeling. Bloch Brothers was sold in 1969 to the General Cigar and Tobacco Company, which became a division of Culbro in 1978. The company was acquired by the Helme Tobacco Company in 1983 and now uses the name Swisher International. Mail Pouch, described by tobacco chewers as drier and not as sweet as some other chewing tobaccos, remains a popular product.”

 

 

 Coming home to an amazing surprise


Blog by Steve Laug

I was in India and Nepal for work through most of the month of January returning to Canada on the first of February. While I was traveling, I got an email from a woman in Ontario, Canada saying that she was the daughter of a fellow pipe smoker and an Anglican minister that I had talked to over the years. I knew him as Fr. Dave (his online name). Her father and I had many conversations over the years about our common work and love of pipes. We emailed, chatted on the forums and shared phone conversations. I had repaired, refurbished and sold quite a few of his pipes over the years for the benefit of an online forum that we both frequented and where we had met. I have several pipes in my collection that were gifts from David and whenever I smoke them, I think of him and our conversation.

I knew that he had struggled for a long time with a degenerative spinal disease and other health issues. I had not talked to him for some time. The last time we spoke, he let me know that he was coming near the end of his life. We had enjoyed a good conversation, laughed and reflected on the brevity of our lives together. We said good-bye but I had no idea that it would be the last of our conversations. The email from his daughter informed me that she was cleaning up his estate and that he had specified that the last box of his pipes should go to me because I would do what was necessary for them to be usable. She wanted to know if I wanted them. She was uncertain as to what they were in terms of brand other than they were probably his personal smokers. She did not know if they were worth anything or if I would even want them.

When I received his daughter’s email, it saddened me that David was gone. I knew that his struggle had been long and painful and now that it was over. I was glad for him regarding that and because of our common hope, I looked forward to the day that we would connect once again. I wrote back to her from Kathmandu, Nepal and thanked her for her email. I passed on my condolences regarding her dad and sent my regards to her mom. I let her know that it was an honor to have the opportunity take her father’s pipes. I would gladly do whatever it took to make sure that they would continue to be used by pipe smokers.

I received another email from her while I was in Hong Kong waiting for a connector flight back to Vancouver that the package had been shipped. She said that surprisingly the box had over 60 pipes in it. From my calculations, I figured that the package and I would arrive in Vancouver at roughly the same time. She asked that I let her know once it arrived and what I thought about the contents. Now my curiosity was peeked. I could not wait until I got home. I had to wait 11 hours for the connecting flight in Hong Kong and then another 11+ hour flight to Vancouver before I would see the box. I was excited to see what she had sent me.

I am sure I am probably strange, but during that time I mulled over what I thought might be in the box she sent. I had worked on enough of David’s pipes over the years that I had some ideas. I knew that in the later years he has smoked small pipes that were lightweight and easy to clench or hold. I knew that these would probably be small. I had no idea with regard to brand or shapes might be in the assortment she had sent. I knew that whatever was there I was in for a treat when I unpacked it and reflected on David and our talks. It made my wait and the trip go by much quicker.

I took a cab from the airport home and my daughter met me at the door. The rest of the family was at work for a few more hours. The first thing she said after our greetings was that I had a package on the dining room table. I put my bags aside and went to look at the box. It was from David’s daughter. It was far bigger than I expected from our emails. It was a computer paper box about 10×12 inches wide and long and 12 inches tall. I carried it into the living room and opened it with a knife. When I took the lid off the box I was really surprised. She had packed the box full with pipes. Each pipe was individually wrapped with paper towels so I had no idea what was hidden inside them. There were also two books and a plastic box in the top of the package. I took these out first. They are shown in the photo below.remembranceThe books were the Perfect Smoke by Fred Hanna and Pimo’s Guide to Pipe Crafting at home. There were three pipe rests – two made of pieces of leather and one a wrapped iron contraption. I opened the plastic box and inside were a few surprises. There were pipe stems and parts for a Lepeltier ceramic pipe. There were envelopes of powdered alcohol based stains. There were two pipe reamers – a Castleford and a Senior Reamer. There was a needle file and a dowel with sandpaper. The last item was a tube of pipe stem polish from Savinelli. There were also four pipe bowls and some stems. They were apart so I had no idea if they went together. I sorted through the stems and found that all had stems. This must have been David’s workbox because all of them had been reamed and cleaned. All of them were small Peterson’s pipes.

Now I was curious as to what the rest of the box held. I carefully unwrapped each paper towel covered package and made a pile of the pipes. I counted the pipes as I unwrapped them and put them in the pile. I was like a kid opening his Christmas presents. Each new package revealed another beauty and my daughter laughed as she heard my ooohs and ahhhs. The pipes were all quite diminutive. Many were brands I had heard of but even among those were lines I had not heard of and shapes that I had not seen before. Some brands were new to me while others I had heard of but had not seen before. The pile of paper towels and the pile of pipe both grew as I unwrapped each pipe. When I was finished, there were seventy-three pipes in the pile.

I sorted the pipes into piles for each of the brands that were present. The first pile included forty-three Peterson’s pipes and pipe socks. The photo below shows the assortment of shapes – princes, billiards, apples, pots, bulldogs, Canadians, Lovats, Zulus and system pipes. There was a Pete Meerschaum, a barrel and a tankard. All were in decent shape and would be easy cleanups. I was surprised at this lot.

Here is a cursory list of the stampings: Shamrock, Kapruf, Aran, Kilarney, Sterling Silver, Kapet, Kildare, Wicklow, Flame Grain, Galway, System, Donegal Rocky, Emerald, Barrel, Premier, Tankard, Special, Sports, Dublin 2, Dublin 3 and Meerschaum.remembrance1There were five Brigham pipes of different shapes and bearing different numbers of dots. There was a 2 Dot Lovat, a 1 Dot Prince, a ¼ bent 1 Dot Dublin, a straight 2 Dot Bulldog and a Sportsman 5 Dot bent Dublin. I have worked on a lot of Brigham pipes over the years but I do not know enough about them to be able to identify the era of the pipes but Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes is my go to guy for that kind of information. I will be contacting him with the stamping on each one and try to gather more information on them.remembrance2There was a Trypis semi rusticated bent billiard with original box and pamphlet. That would be a fun historical piece to clean up and restore.remembrance3There was an old clay pipe that was darkened and worn looking. I can see markings on the shank and the bowl that were cast into the clay. The pipe should clean up nicely and give me a chance to play around with a method of cleaning old clays that I have read about and wanted to try out.remembrance5The next photo shows the remainder of the pipes. They were a mix of brands and shape – from basket pipes to English Made to hand made Danish. Before I list them for you see how many you can identify from the photo. There are some nice old pipes in the lot that should clean up nicely.remembrance4How did you do in your identification? I will give you the brand names in no particular order and see if you can match them to the photo and also see how you did.  Here is the list: Missouri Meerchaum Spool, London Made Lovat, Royal Prince British Made Billiard, Chateau Bruyere Sandblast Prince, Radiator Apple, Royal Captain Apple, Corvette Bent Dublin, Goldstar Holiday Rustic, Kiko Pigskin Safari 343, Irish Second Bent Dublin, SC Special 18 Filter Billiard, WO Larsen Handmade Super Tan 65 Brandy, Mackenzie LeBaron Bent Dublin, Bent Billiard no name Meerschaum, Premier Deluxe Bent Billiard, Dr. Grabow Omega, Kiko Meerschaum Prince, Elsinor ¼ bent Dublin, No name Sandblast Volcano sitter, Coronation Meerschaum lined Bulldog, Croydon Bent Billiard, Ropp Supreme Cherrywood, Ross Arundel England 37 Lovat.

This is one of those occasions where I was able to remember a lot of my conversations and correspondence with David. It brought a mixture of gratitude for his kindness in thinking of me with these pipes and of sadness that our conversations would be no more. In the months ahead as I clean up the pipes and post them on the blog I will try to include some of those memories in the write ups.

Rest in Peace David, I suppose I can say that I will see you one day in the not too distant future as the years roll by for me. I lift a bowl of nice Virginia tobacco in your memory in a pipe you gave me and pause to think of you and give thanks. Thank you also to your daughter for following up on your wishes.

When he opened the Sterling Hall Hand Made Pipe box I did not see what I expected


Blog by Steve Laug

Sometimes you are hunting for pipes in antique shops, antique malls or even thrift shops when you come on a box like the one below. I don’t know about you but my first reaction when I see a box like this one is to walk away. I have found that they are often empty or at best holding worn out pipe that is cracked, chewed or both and certainly one I don’t want. Well I have tried to instill that habit in my brother but he is a better hunter than me! He opens the boxes to see what is in them. Now, understand, I used to do that but I have gotten jaded over the years of finding next to nothing or worse in these old pipe boxes. He opened this one and found something he was not expecting. When he showed me the box on Facetime I fully expected it to be useless even though he assured me I would be surprised.sh1He opened the box and showed me what was inside – well it was not a Sterling Hall Hand Made nor was it a useless worn out pipe. Instead it was a WDC Wellington that through the camera looked remarkably good. The finish looked good, the stem looked good, the nickel ferrule looked good. I was hooked. Okay so it is a Wellington I said – we have cleaned up quite a few of these system style pipes so I was still not that impressed. It so far appeared to be a nice looking old pipe in the wrong box. Heck, there was even a Sterling Hall pipe sock in the box along with the pamphlet included with every Sterling Hall pipe.sh2 sh3 sh4He just laughed and held the pipe up to the camera and rotated it from side to side so I could see the grain and the stem. It looked really good. The grain on both sides was nice and from the front and the back it also looked good. The stem was shiny black and bore the WDC in a triangle under the Wellington logo on the topside. In fact it appeared to be almost flawless but I still felt that there was something that he was not telling me. What was it with this Wellington pipe he had found in the Sterling Hall box?sh5Finally he turned the pipe bowl toward me. The bowl was unsmoked! It was unsmoked and clean! It was not worn or damaged or…. You know that feeling when you are looking at a New Old Stock (NOS) pipe? Yes he had found a new unsmoked old stock WDC Wellington in flawless condition. The fact that it had been kept in the wrong box had probably preserved it. There was no oxidation on the stem and it was like the day it had left the WDC factory.sh6I honestly could not believe my eyes. I don’t think I have ever seen a unsmoked new Wellington in my life. It was a first for me and I have to guess that it will probably be the only one that I ever see. He shipped it to me in the last shipment of pipes and I took the pictures above to let you see what I saw when it arrived. I have also included photos of the brochure that was in the Sterling Hall box for your reading enjoyment. Look at the prices of the pipes and quaint descriptions of how to break in and care for a pipe. Look also at the variety of shapes that were available in the Sterling Hall line. These pipes were made by Briarcraft in New York and were one of their higher grade lines. Enjoy the read and thanks for walking with me in the unveiling of this pipe hunt find!sh7 sh8 sh9 sh10