Blog by Troy Wilburn
Troy originally posted this to the Dr. Grabow Collectors Forums. You can read the original post and the responses to his work at the following link: http://drgrabows.myfreeforum.org/sutra129300.php#129300
I picked up both of these rare early 20th Century (I would guess just after WW1 to mid-20’s) LHS pokers made for companies to advertise their services and goods. I imagine few of these survived as they were given away to the public and most likely company employees. They were smoked until they were worn out or broken and then thrown away.
The first poker model is one that I have seen before on an old post from 2010 on Tamp and Puff (http://tampandpuff.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1119). I have drooled over that for a couple of years now hoping to find one and I did . Mine is not as nice as that one but happy to have it just the same. I have not found any more pictures of or posting of another before or since. When this one came on EBay I knew I had to have it. Luckily there wasn’t much interest because of the way the seller posted it.
The first poker is marked Warner Sand Gravel Lime Products Est 1794. The shank is stamped Italian Briar (mine is double stamped) with LHS logo.
More pics of the pipe as it arrived to me. Worst condition problems of pipe were bad tooth marks on the stem and shank’s stampings are worn. It was also really greasy and dirty but not caked up and in otherwise good shape with no major damage.
It’s missing its unique stinger that luckily was still in the other poker I acquired. With the rarity of the pipe I decided to preserve what I had and do little more than just a good cleaning. The pipe really had a lot of grime and greasy feel. I gave it a good cleaning inside and out and removed most of the rim scorching with Oxy Clean and Scotch Brite pad. It could have used a slight topping but I decided not to as I’m preserving the pipe not restoring it. Plus I was afraid it would mess up the symmetry of the pipe rim design. I also gave the rest of the bowl several scrubbings with mild detergent and a soft bristle tooth brush. Wiping it down after with paper towels till the paper towels wiped clean afterwards.
I gave the stem a good scrubbing as well Oxy Clean and water as I dipped the end of the tenon in alcohol to test it and it acted like it would melt the rubber. After cleaning I dipped the button end of stem in very hot water to raise the tooth marks best I could. I then filed the stem to get rid of almost all the tooth marks without compromising the structure of it. After wet sanding stem to sand out file marks I sanded rim and stem with 2500 grit and mineral oil and wiped rest of pipe down with mineral oil as well. After some light buffing and wax.
The second Poker is marked Bird Archer Co. NY. It’s a company that sold chemicals that was used in water for steam locomotives. They were in business from around start of 20th century till end of WW2. Shank stamped same as other – Italian Briar over LHS logo.
This one has the unique stinger. I can tell you it made cleaning the shank and stem a breeze as most all the tar was in the stinger. It runs from the bottom of the bowl to about center of the stem. The pipe pretty much got the same cleaning treatment as the above pipe with less work on the stem as there were not bad tooth marks. When I buffed the pipe I did not use the buffer on the embossed stampings but instead hand buffed to avoid causing any damage to them. Finished Bird Archer pipe.
I had been looking for an all original LHS poker for a long time and to find both of these original ones at once was very lucky.