Tag Archives: Ehrlich of Boston Sandblast Poker

Restoring a Petite Ehrlich Sandblast Poker

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on is an Ehrlich pipe. This one was petite Poker/Cherrywood with a bit of a Dublin flair and saddle stem. It had a perfectly clean and debris free bowl and rim top and showed that it had been lightly smoked. The sandblast finish was quite clean and the blast revealed some nice grain around the bowl and shank. The pipe reminded me in style and size of the Savinelli Bent Bob line of pipes. It was stamped on the left side of the shank on top of the sandblast and with a lens I could read Ehrlich. The right side of the bowl is stamped in the blast as well and is hard to read but I believe it reads Imported Briar. It has a thin vulcanite saddle stem that is lightly oxidized. The stem bears Ehrlich “E” logo on the left side of the saddle. I took photos of the pipe when I brought it to the work table.  I took photos of the bowl and rim top and the stem surfaces to show the condition of both. The bowl, rim top and edges look very good. The stem is also in great condition other than the light oxidation on the surface of the stem.I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable with a lens and a light as noted above. The stamping is on top of the sandblast which makes it less legible.The Ehrlich logo of circle E is on the left side of the saddle portion of the stem is also in good condition. The stamping on the underside of the stem reads FRANCE.I took the stem off the shank to show the look of the overall look of this interesting petite pipe. The briar was in great condition and was quite clean so I rubbed some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the pipe. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush because the product cleans, enlivens and protects the briar. I let the pipe sit with the Balm for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a soft towel. The Balm did its magic and the pipe looked really good. I set the bowl aside and did a bit of reading on the history. I have worked on quite a few Ehrlich pipes in the past and wanted to refresh my memory of the back story of the brand. I checked first on Pipephil (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-e1.html) and found photos of various pipes. The picture of the first pipe is stamped similarly to the one I am working on. The EHRLICH is stamped the same way. There are no photos of the SELECT. I am including a screen capture of the pertinent information. There was no other information in the sidebars.Then I turned to Pipedia and was more successful (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ehrlich%27s). I quote a portion of that article below that gives a bit of history and more importantly cleared up where the pipes came from for me.

The David P. Ehrlich story – Pipemakers and Tobacconists for a Hundred Years, 1868-1968.

The David P. Ehrlich Company has remained solely in the hands of one family during its century of business, yet it has had several firm names and locations. David P. Ehrlich went to work in 1881 at the age of twenty for Ferdinand Abraham, who dealt in cigars and tobacco and who had begun business in 1868 at 1188 Washington Street in the South End, but in 1880 moved to the center of the city, where the firm has been ever since. David Ehrlich married the boss’s daughter. In 1916 the name became the David P. Ehrlich Company and Mr. Ehrlich devoted the rest of his life to this business. Since David’s death in 1912 it has been owned by – his nieces and nephews including Richard A. and William Ehrlich.

Ehrlich shop has since 1880 had a predilection for historic sites. 25 Court Street was close to the spot where from 1721-1726 James Franklin had, with the assistance of his brother Benjamin, published The New-England Courant. In 1908 the firm moved a few doors up Court Street to number 37, on the opposite corner of the alley that is grandiloquently named Franklin Avenue. This new location was on the site of the one-time printing office of Edes and Gill, publishers of the Boston Gazette, in whose back room some of the “Indians” of the Boston Tea Party assumed their disguises. Soon after the end of World War II at which time the store was located at 33 Court Street a move around the corner to 207 Washington Street brought the shop diagonally across from the Old State House and onto the site occupied from 1610-1808 by the First Church of Boston. The demolition of 207 Washington Street in 1967 caused still another move to 32 Tremont Street, adjoining King’s Chapel burying Ground, which is the oldest cemetery in Boston.

The David P. Ehrlich Co. has not just occupied sites intimately associated with Boston history and institutions; it has in the past century become a Boston institution in its own right. It has specialized in fine cigars, pipes, and pipe tobacco. In addition to the retail business, the firm has long specialized in the manufacture of pipes, both from Algerian briar root…

That gave the history of the brand and was written in a way that fascinated me. I included a lot of it because of that. I knew that the pipe I was working on was stamped Imported Briar which generally points to a pipe made elsewhere for Ehrlich and brought to the US.

I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth impregnated with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine then gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. This lightly smoked, petite Ehrlich Imported Briar Sandblast Poker/Cherrywood with a Saddle Vulcanite stem looks really good. The sandblasted grain around the bowl and shank stands out with the contrasting brown stains. I put the pipe back together and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the wheel (being careful of the stamping on the stem so as not to damage that). I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple 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. The dimensions of this pipe are – Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is .74 ounces/21 grams. It is a great looking pipe and one that will be going on the rebornpipes store in the American Pipe Makers section. If you want to add it to your collection let me know via email to slaug@uniserve.com or by message. Thanks for walking through the cleanup with me.