Tag Archives: C.P.F. French Briar Bent Billiard

A Rare Find – an Unsmoked CPF (Colossus Pipe Factory) Diamond Shank Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the worktable is another interesting piece of pipe history that comes from the bag of old unsmoked and lightly smoked pipes that I have been working on intermittently. It is an interesting diamond shank Bent Billiard. The bowl is NOS and unsmoked. The stem is made of a yellow material that appears to be Amber but is not. On examination you can see casting marks on the shank end when the stem is removed. It has a threaded bone tenon and is in really good shape. There is a nickel band on the shank that is corroded and torn from all the shuffling that it went through in its long life.A short description would be that it is an unsmoked

A short description would be that it is an unsmoked Diamond Shank Bent Billiard with a nickel band and an Amberoid stem that is connected to the shank with a bone tenon. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads C.P.F. in an oval with the word French arced above the oval and Briar arced below the oval. 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. This is a NOS/ unsmoked pipe that will fit well into that collection. 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. is a real beauty. The rim top is clean but dusty and the finish obscures the grain that is on the bowl and shank. The gold stamping is clear and readable. The nickel band is corroded and does not have any marking. The stem is Amberoid (an early acrylic that was made to look like amber). There is some nicks and chipping in the surface but no tooth marks. It has an orific button (round airhole) on the end of the button. I took some photos of the pipe to show the condition 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.   I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top and the stem to show their condition. You can see the drilling is centered in the bottom of the bowl You can also see the clean briar of the bowl sides. There appears to be a small flaw on the rim top on the left inner edge. The stem looks very good. You can also see the heavy corrosion on the nickel shank band.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. You can see (even with the slightly out of focus photo) that it is clear and readable.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts to give a sense of the beautiful proportions of this nice little pipe. I think it will be quite stunning once it is restored.I removed the corroded band from the shank and wiped down the bowl with isopropyl alcohol to remove the old varnish coat. I repeated the process until it was removed and I could clearly see the grain around the bowl and shank. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads and dry sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad to check and make sure there was progress. By the end the bowl was taking on a natural shine and the grain really stood out. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes, then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out on the briar. Now it was time to deal with the band/ferrule. I cleaned off some of the oxidation and corrosion. It was badly pitted so it needed to be replaced. I had an interesting lacy looking nickel band that would work. It was the same size to I decided to give a try. I liked what I sawI glued it in place on the shank with an all purpose white glue. I cleaned off the excess with a cotton swab and water. I took photos of the newly banded shank. I liked the look of it a lot. I polished out the scratches in the surface of the Amberoid with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. The more I polished the stem the more I could smell the acrylic like odor of the stem material. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. It is an interesting piece of Amberoid in that it seems to have bubbles in the material along the edges. I really enjoyed refurbishing this old C.P.F. French Briar Bent Billiard because I love the final touches that make it sing. I put the bowl and stem back together to have a look at the whole with the newly fit band on the shank. I carefully buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the wheel. I gave it several coats of carnauba wax and 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 bowl looks like with the lacy shank band and the golden Amberoid stem. This richly finished Bent Billiard is light weight and it is clean and ready load up with my favourite tobacco (if I decide to smoke this 100+ year old unsmoked pipe). Have a look at it in the photos below. As noted above, Its measurements are Length: 4 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Diameter of the chamber: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 34 grams/1.20oz. 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.