Tag Archives: Loewe Pipes

Restoring a Sandblast Danish Shaped Loewe’s Cutlass 21 Bent Acorn


Blog by Steve Laug

This Loewe’s Bent Acorn is yet another pipe from a local pipe shop. It came from the estate of an older gentleman whose wife returned his pipes to the shop for restoration and resale. This one is a sandblast finished Loewe Danish Shaped Cutlass. The rim top is smooth briar and the bowl and shank are all sandblast. It is stamped on a smooth band on the underside of the shank Loewe Cutlass with the shape number next to the shank/stem junction it has the shape number 21. On the left side of the saddle stem is the Loewe’s brass box L logo. The pipe was very dirty with a thick cake in the bowl and some lava overflowing on to the rim top. It was hard to know what the inner edge of the rim looked like because of the lava and cake. The stem was lightly oxidized and had come calcification where a pipe Softee bit had been. There was some tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button. This was included in the pipes that I sent off to my brother for cleaning. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate his willingness to clean and ream the pipes for me. It allows me to move through the repairs much more quickly. When he received the pipe he took a series of photos of it to show its condition. He took photos of the rim top to show the thick cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava on the rim top.He took photos of the sides and bottom of the bowl to give a clear picture of the beauty of the sandblast finish on this old pipe. Under the grime there is some great grain peeking through.Jeff took a photo of the stamping to capture the clarity of it even under the grime. He also included a photo of the L square logo on the stem and the FRANCE stamping on the underside. The stem looked dirty and oxidized with the calcification left behind by a pipe Softee bit. The edges of the button had bite marks and there was some tooth damage to the surface of the stem next to the button on both sides.I have worked on quite a few Loewe pipes over the years but have never worked on one with this shape. Most of the others have been classic English shaped pipes. I have always enjoyed the shapes and the craftsmanship on each of them. It is well made and well-shaped. I turned to my usual sources to check out the particular “Cutlass” line pipe. First I turned to the pipephil site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-l5.html). I have included a screen capture from that site that highlights the line I am working on. In fact the pipe given as an example is similar to the one I am working on. I have enclosed the pipe in the photo below in a red box.I turned next to Pipedia to read some more detail of the history and see if there was more detailed information on the Cutlass line (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Loewe_%26_Co). There was no more detail or help in dating the pipe I was working on.

Jeff cleaned up the pipe for me. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean off the grime in the sandblast finish and the heavy overflow of lava on the smooth rim top. He cleaned up the internals of the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the oils and tars in the pipe. When it came back to Vancouver it a cleaner and better looking pipe. I took photos of it before I started the restoration. I took photos of the rim top and the stem to show their condition. Jeff was able to clean up the grime and darkening on the rim top. The inner edge of the bowl looked pretty good. The stem had light tooth chatter and some deeper tooth marks on both sides near the button. I was able to get a very clear picture of the stamping on the shank and the L square logo on the saddle stem.I polished the rim top and the smooth portions of the bowl and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The photos tell the story. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the sandblast finish on the bowl and shank and the smooth portion on the rim and underside of the shank. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it in with my fingers to get it into the sandblast finish. After it sat for a little while I wiped it off with a soft cloth. I buffed the bowl with a horsehair shoe brush to polish it. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I repaired the tooth marks with clear super glue. I set the stem aside to let the repairs cure. Once the glue cured I cleaned up the edge of the button and the repaired areas with folded pieces of 220 and 400 grit sandpaper until the repairs were blended into surface of the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I used the Before & After Pipe Polish to remove the small minute scratches left in the vulcanite. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the pipe and worked it over with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I lightly buffed the sandblast bowl. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem 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. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. There is something about the pipe that reminds me of a Stanwell shape and finish. The shape is very Danish and the restoration has brought it back to life. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 1/4 inches, Height: 2 1/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes online store shortly, if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this interesting and unique sandblast Loewe Cutlass 21.

Refreshing a Tiny L&Co. Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This is the final pipe of the lot of pipes I received from the pipe man in Eastern Canada who picked up an amazing lot an auction. The kind of price he paid makes me envious! This one is an older Loewe and Company graceful and diminutive pipe. It is stamped on the left side of the shank with L&Co. in an oval. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Loewe over England W.

When I received the pipe I took the following photos of it to give you the big picture of this tiny pipe. The stem was in good shape but had the most oxidation of the lot that was sent to me. There were small tooth marks and chatter on the stem near the button on both sides. The finish was dirty but in decent shape. The rim was worn and there were some dents and dings on the top surface. The inner edge of the bowl was slightly out of round. Someone had reamed the pipe back to bare wood but the internals were very dirty. loewe2 loewe3I took a close up photo of the rim to show its condition. The finish was worn on the rim as well as darkened and dented. You can see the damage to the inner edge of the bowl as well.loewe4The next two photos show the oxidation on the stem. It is hard to see the tooth chatter and marks but they are present and will need to be dealt with.loewe5I also took some photos of the stamping. While not perfect you can read the stamps quite well and see the details that I mentioned above.loewe6I reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to clean up the inside of the bowl. The bowl had already been reamed and there were only slight remnants of a cake in the bowl.loewe7With the bowl clean I used a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad to smooth out the rim and take off the carbon buildup on top. It also worked to take off the scratches in the briar.loewe8I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the out of round rim and bevel that were present. It did not take too much sanding and it looked as good as new.loewe9I used a dark brown stain pen to touch up the rim. The colour of the stain was a perfect match to the colour of the stain on the bowl. I stained the bevel and the top of the rim.loewe10I cleaned out the inside of the mortise and the airways in the shank and the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. The pipe was quite dirty in these areas and took a bit of scrubbing to get the grit out of the airways.loewe11I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation and the tooth marks and chatter. Several of them were quite deep so I “painted” the tooth marks with the flame of the lighter to lift them to the surface of the stem. They all raised to the surface and a bit of sanding smoothed out the damage.loewe12I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads. I set the stem aside to dry.loewe13 loewe14 loewe15I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the minute scratches that still remained in the vulcanite and the finish of the briar. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and then hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This evening I packed the pipes and sent them Express Post back to the pipe man in Eastern Canada. I am hoping he enjoys his “new” pipes and adds them to his rotation. Cheers. Thanks for looking.loewe16 loewe17 loewe18 loewe19 loewe20 loewe21 loewe22 loewe23 loewe24

 

Getting Lazy – A Simple Restore on a Loewe Cutlass 10


Blog by Steve Laug

The last three or four pipes I have taken out of the refurbishing box have been very simple restorations. My brother sent me this Loewe’s pipe that is stamped Loewe over Cutlass on the underside of the shank with the shape number 10 at the shank stem union. In the photos he sent me it appeared to be in pretty decent shape. The finish looked dirty and murky but otherwise good. The rim had some tars and overflow from the cake in the bowl but not too bad. There were some nicks and dings in the rim but none too deep. The stem was virtually flawless with no tooth chatter or tooth marks. The boxed L logo on the stem was worn and almost illegible but with a lens it is clear.loewe1While I have heard of and enjoyed quite a few older Loewe’s pipes the shape of this one and the name were not familiar to me. Even the shape number was not recognizable. I looked on the pipephil site to see if I could find any information on this particular iteration of the brand and found what I was looking for. There on his site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-l5.html) I found a pipe with the same stamping but a different number. The one in my hands does not have a COM stamploewe2 so I do not know where it was made. I have included the photo of the stamping and the stem logo to the left from that site as it is parallel to the one I have. I have also included some information from the listing there.

The brand was founded 1856 by Emil Loewe and was first bought out by Civic. Eventually the brand became part of Cadogan Group along with BBB, Civic, Comoy, GBD, Loewe and Orlik in about 1979. Judging from the age and the stamping on this pipe I would surmise that it was made after that merger and is a Cadogan pipe.

I also did some reading on the history of the brand on Pipedia and include a short excerpt here that is pertinent to the age and stamping on this pipe: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Loewe_%26_Co.#Bottom_of_shank: “By studying the website of one UK dealer I was able to deduce that the present shape numbers (early 2003) mostly (probably all) differ from those used from 1967. For example, a Billiard is now a 28, a Lovat an 834, a Canadian a 296. Some shape numbers now have 4 digits. But even today, Cadogan will occasionally still stamp a pipe with a shape name instead of a number, though only on request.”

It looks to me that I am dealing with a pipe made around 2003 jusding from the change in shape numbers to a two digit numbering system at some level. Though there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the dating of Loewe pipes after the Cadogan buy out.

My brother took the first and the following photos of the pipe before he did the cleanup. What follows are a series of close up photos of the stamping, the rim and bowl and the sandblast look on the bottom of the bowl. In the bowl bottom photo you can see the dust and debris in the grooves of the blast.loewe3 loewe4 loewe5My brother cleaned out the internals – the mortise and the airways in the shank and stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol. He scrubbed the externals with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap and was able to not only remove the grime from the finish but most of the finish also. When it arrived in Vancouver the pipe looked like virgin briar. The stem is acrylic so there was no oxidation on it. The next photos show the pipe when I brought it to my work table. The blast on the briar is quite shallow and shows mixed grain.loewe6 loewe7I took some close up photos of the rim and the stem to show their condition. My brother was able to remove the tars on the rim. There was some slight rim darkening on the inner edge but other than that it was clean. The scratches and dings were also raised. The photos of the stem show how clean it was as well when it arrived.loewe8 loewe9I sanded the inner edge of the rim with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out and remove the darkening and light burn marks. I also sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads to remove the scratch marks left behind from my sanding.loewe10I wiped the bowl down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove any remnants of the previous finish and the dust from sanding. I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain cut 50/50 with isopropyl alcohol. I flamed it and repeated the process until the coverage on the bowl was even.loewe11I hand buffed the bowl and took the photos below to show what it looked like at this point in the process.loewe12 loewe13I gave the bowl and stem several coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This one will also soon be on the rebornpipes store. If you are interested in adding it to your rack let me know through email at slaug@uniserve.com or by message on Facebook or a comment here. Thanks for looking.loewe14 loewe15 loewe16 loewe17 loewe18 loewe19

Dating Loewes by Periods – Martin Farrent


Blog by Martin Farrent

I read this awhile back on the web and wrote Martin for permission to post it on the blog. I find his work helpful in dating Loewe pipes and a pleasure to read. I received his permission last evening so here is his article.

Loewe is one of the haunting old names of British pipe-making, characteristic of an almost vanished upper middle class” of the trade, which also incorporated makes such as BBB, Orlik, Comoy’s and GBD. Along with these brands, Loewe has long dwindled into pseudo-existence, becoming little more than a logo occasionally used by the Cadogan factory in Southend-on-Sea. But owners of older Loewes treasure them as superb, featherweight smokers, excellently crafted and with grain characteristics superior to those of many contemporary Dunhills.

The Frenchman Emil Loewe founded the company, both shop and workshop, in 1856 at the Haymarket 62, London. He is said to have been the first to make briar pipes in England. Richard Hacker maintains that theatre people from the West End were among the shop’s heyday aficionados. Loewe’s spigots are especially well regarded by lovers of elegance today – they were originally introduced for practical reasons, to facilitate the production of replacement stems for customers abroad.

Loewe pipes

The firm and its facilities were later taken over by Civic, well before becoming a fully integrated part of the Cadogan group sometime in the final quarter of the twentieth century. As with other brands belonging to this group, it is not easy to pinpoint a date marking the end of Loewe’s independence and singularity. This is partly due to Cadogan’s own development from a cooperative to a monolithic entity.

In 1979, a German paperback said that the Loewe brand had been discontinued two years previously, but that the pipes themselves were due to reappear as high-end GBDs. Interestingly, the year of publication coincided with the year in which the Loewe trademark became Cadogan’s, who by this time already owned GBD. From today’s point of view, the author appears to have been working on confused, but partly true information. If there were ever really plans to fully amalgamate the two lines, they were dropped. Also, a two-year break at this time seems impossible, since we have hallmark evidence of Loewes made in 1978 and 1979. However, there are firm indications that Loewe shapes were later marketed as Comoy’s (another Cadogan brand). There may also have been a phase of dissolution regarding location. The reported appearance of French Loewes in the early 1980s is a sign that Loewes were being produced in more than one place at some stage before the Cadogan-era proper.

From what I can gather, Cardogan’s various brands continued to be made in separate facilities throughout the1970s. It was the purchase of Orlik in 1980 that enabled the Cadogan group to consolidate all manufacturing in that company’s new factory in Southend-on-Sea. Whether or not this transferal was a gradual process and when it affected Loewe is unclear. We hear that, as a company, Loewe was not formally wound up by Cadogan (the successor to Civic) until the late 1980s. Of course, today’s ‘Loewes’ are definitely made in Southend – though, according to Cardogan, the trademark is no longer used very much.

Collectibility

As with most brands now owned by Cadogan, the collector’s emphasis is on finding pieces made before the consolidation of the group’s production in the Southend factory. It is generally agreed, for example, that the loss of a separate identity spelled the end of GBD’s excellence. Likewise, the once celebrated name Orlik means little to the buyer of new pipes today. But finding an ‘original’ on the estate market often involves blind trust in a vendor’s word — or in one’s own ability to assess a pipe’s quality from a couple of photos on Ebay.

Mounted Loewes are thus the most valued, since the hallmarks on their silver bands offer an indication of age. Other pipes bearing the ‘L&Co’ logo are impossible to date as exactly as older Dunhills or even Charatans, where frequent changes to stamping patterns have been well documented. By contrast, the various owners of the Loewe trademark appear to have adhered to the original patterns rather consistently.

With help from members of the pipe-smokers’ newsgroups ASP and DAFT (Germany), I have looked into ways of rectifying this situation. We have come a little closer to dating Loewe pipes — or at least assigning them to a period, but there are gaps. One method is to correlate stamps with the hallmark information on pipes with bands, giving an idea of the exact stamp used in a given period. However, for a complete dating guide we would need to have examples from years clearly marking the beginning or end of a certain stamping policy — and also more insights into ownership and location issues.

To an extent, Cadogan have been helpful with information, but they have not answered historical questions. Also, their stamping philosophy really adds to the confusion. For example, they still use a London stamp, though production has been on the Essex coast for well over a decade, possibly two. The results of our collected research are still not comprehensive and the hope remains that someone will provide the information necessary to fill in the blanks.

Aspects of Dating

The period of transitions — and therefore of interest, here — begins some time after 1960. Around that year, the pipes were still being made in the Haymarket building, though – of course – no longer by the late Emil himself. Civic was running the business, apparently having taken over from the founder or his successors under a mutual agreement many years previously. There is no indication that the pipes made under Civic ownership at this time were any less highly regarded than earlier Loewes.

Based on information rendered by owners of hallmarked Loewe pipes, the stamping from 1920
(or earlier) to 1967 (or slightly earlier) appears as follows:

Lowe2

* The first series names to be used appear to be ‘CENTURION’ and ‘ORIGINAL’ and ‘OLD ENGLISH’. According to catalogues, they denote grades. Centurions were allegedly made of wood over 100 years old. Grading was not introduced until some time between 1956 and 1964, as one Danish owner of Loewe catalogues reports. Additional, probably later, grade stamps include ‘MOUNTED’, ‘SPIGOT’, ‘STANDARD’ and ‘STRAIGHT GRAIN’. There are certainly no grade stamps on pipes made up to 1920. There were also none on the sandblast pipes advertised as Ripple Grains in 1950. That year’s catalogue also lists a pipe called the “Process”, with a natural finish and a processed bowl requiring no breaking- in. Both the Process and the blasts were missing in 1956.

During the 1960s, still under the Civic regime, the original premises were lost to development schemes, and Loewe pipes were made in various, (possibly successive) locations all over London (Hammersmith appearing to be one of them).

Also, at some stage before 1968, shape names were replaced by shape numbers, apparently all incorporating three digits and beginning with a 9. For example, a 910 was a billiard. We know that these numbers, stamped on the right side of the shank (under ‘LONDON W.’), were still used in 1983, though there is some confusion about this. We do not know exactly when the switch from names to numbers took place. It could have been as late as 1967, but may have occurred a few (not many) years earlier. A shape name appeared on a new pipe bought in the USA in 1967, yet a pipe bearing that year’s hallmark on its band already displays a number, rather than a name. It’s also worth noting the recollections of one Danish smoker, who remembers that W.O. Larsen only imported Loewes to Denmark until 1968.

Manfred W. Resag has a page on 9xx numbered pipes, with photos of pieces made from 1978 to 1982 (with one possible exception — an unbanded and therefore undateable pipe):
http://perso.wanadoo.fr/nautor/Loewe.htm

By studying the website of one UK dealer I was able to deduce that the present shape numbers (early 2003) mostly (probably all) differ from those used from 1967. For example, a Billiard is now a 28, a Lovat an 834, a Canadian a 296. Some shape numbers now have 4 digits. But even today, Cadogan will occasionally still stamp a pipe with a shape name instead of a number, though only on request.

It would appear that both older pipes with shape names and pipes using the 9xx numbers were made in London, before the move to Southend. My guess is that only the pipes made prior to the introduction of numbers were carved on the original Haymarket premises, with the graded shanks (series names) probably indicating pieces carved after 1956.

Murky issues

To go some way towards verifying this theory, we would need to know the exact year of the move from the Haymarket, but also more about the stamps on pipes made between 1960 and 1966/67. All those smokers who followed a call for information in ASP and DAFT and reported dateable (hallmarked) pipes owned pieces made before or after these years, which almost certainly encompassed the loss of the Haymarket workshop.

Cadogan has not answered questions concerning this or the later move to Southend. However, from the evidence contributed by readers of the first version of this article, I would say that the second event occurred by or in 1982, the year in which a Danish collector has reported buying a Canadian with the new 296 shape number.

This is notwithstanding the fact that several people own Loewes with the 9xx stamps — pipes I would attribute to the late London days — yet with hallmarks from 1982 or even 1983. There are several conceivable explanations for this. The most obvious is that there may have been a few months of overlapping production in two or more locations. One could even raise the question of whether the later London years saw any consolidated product ion at all — or whether some (or all) Loewes were being made to order by other firms. The Danish collector mentioned above has records of being offered both London-made and (cheaper) French Loewes in 1982.

Moreover, it is also reasonable to assume that some pipes began life in London and were stamped there, but only completed in Southend. In a few cases, it even seems clear that the lapse between conception and completion was several years. For instance, one German smoker owns a 908 with a 1983 hallmark. It was from a strange batch of spigots offered by a German dealer in the late 1990s, with shank bands hallmarked in the early 1980s and stems made a dozen or so years later. The dealer remembers that they were the last Loewes ever offered to him. Curiously, some of the Loewe shapes from the 1970s and early 1980s apparently reappeared as Comoys (now also made by Cadogan), later on. Indeed, Comoy spigots were among the new series introduced after Comoy’s full integration into Cadogan. This was in line with Cadogan’s branding hierarchy, which put Comoy’s at the top of the pyramid at some expense to the prestige of the other names. So an educated guess says that the bowls of the strange Loewes in question
were made in London, were among the inventory moved to Southend and fitted with stems years later, when someone remembered or discovered them. The stems were available, because they were still being produced for the new Comoy pipes.

One final note on the transition period regards the desirability of Loewes made between the Haymarket days and the move to Southend. I have yet to hear a complaint from an owner of one of these pipes. I have a fine mounted Rhodesian myself with excellent, almost straight grain. It is a superlative smoker.

Prices

In 1926, the wholesale price for an unmounted Loewe was 11 shillings and three pence. 24 years later, it had doubled and such a pipe retailed for 50 shillings. At this time (1950) an ounce of pipe tobacco or a 4lb loaf of bread cost an average of a shilling in London. In 1982, one dealer was offering Loewes (London) for 19.50 pounds. A batch of 9xx Loewe spigots made in the early 1980s and sold towards the end of the century cost around 200 Euros each in Germany. In early 2003, one British website advertised Loewe-Kaywoodies for 18.50 to 65.00 pounds sterling (about 27 to 95 Euro/$). These were Cadogan pipes, of course. At the same time, some ‘antique’ pieces were fetching up to 175 Euro or US $.

Early Loewes were available with a variety of options, such as amber stems and solid silver or gold mounts at a surcharge. Interestingly, the 1926 catalogue prizes the pipes’ “natural finish”, but adds that an attractive dark tan was available at no extra charge (!).

Acknowledgements and note

This article grew in the making, following requests for information on Usenet and the publication of a first version, which almost immediately hastened new input from readers. My thanks to Asp’ers Kevyn Winkless, Stephen Bozle. Greg Pease, Chris Keene, Manfred Resag, Sonam Dasara, Jorgen Jensen and Jesper of Danpipes for contributing information and ideas to this article. Valuable details were also reported by DAFT (German newsgroup) members such as Klaus J. Pfeifer, Manfred Arenz, HaJo Oestermann, Jörg Eichelberger, Rainer Duesmann, Joachim Acker and Michael Karrengarn.

Finally, though I include my e-mail address here, it is not really intended for queries, since I lack the knowledge to answer them. I am simply an admirer, but no expert on Loewe pipes and have included every last scrap of evidence I have accumulated in this article. So ideally, the address is for those able to contribute additional information in order to make this text more satisfactory, some day.

Martin Farrent March 2003
martin@farrent.de