Blog by Steve Laug
I purchased this facsimile/reproduction catalogue of 28 pages on EBay a bit ago. It cost approximately $20 USD and the seller had quite a few available at the buy it now price.
They printed a run of 200 copies and this one is 010 of 200. It is copyrighted by Jesse Silver. There is an email address included inside the cover should you want to order a copy of the catalogue email@example.com
Included with the catalogue is a print of the Barling’s Factory. The inside is nicely done and indeed looks vintage. The type is in two colours – a reddish brown and a black. There are also nice etchings of the various pipes. Each page shows four pipes, each one number and named. The names are quite catching. Here are a few for interest sake: The Goodwood, Birkenhead, Savernake, Aberdeen, Nymph, Bent Army, Corinthian, Sydney, Elegant, Trojan and Victorian. The names don’t always reflect the shape of the pipe but sometimes do as in the Bent and the Straight Army. Some of the short chubby pipes also have unique names: The Gordon, Sporting, Hunt, Jap are just a few of the names. The overall feel of the book is like a trip back in time to a simpler and quieter era. The catalogue opens with the words: these are just a few of the many shapes that are available in Barling’s Celebrated Pipes.
I wanted to include the opening page of the catalogue for your reading pleasure. It is a note from B. Barling & Sons, London and reads as follows:
“We have much pleasure in presenting our New Catalogue illustrating some of the principal shapes and specialties in our celebrated EB/WB Briar Pipes.
Our pipes being so well and universally known (without artificial aid of advertisements), we will not here dwell on their perfection, but would ask you to kindly peruse this book, which will no doubt introduce to you some new patterns.
If you are not already a smoker of our pipes, we hope that it will lead to your giving them a trial and thus testing their quality and workmanship, we ourselves being confident of your ultimate judgment and satisfaction.
Every department of our factory being under our own practical and personal supervision, ensures every pipe turned out by us coming under our direct notice. This fact, coupled with the excellence of the materials used in their manufacture, has given our pipes a reputation second to none in the smoking world, a reputation we firmly intend to maintain and strengthen.”
I find the introduction to the catalogue a fascinating read and one that has proven to be true even in our day over 150 years later. Barling’s Pipes are still seen as quality pipes that deliver a great smoke. I have Pre-transition, Transition and Post-transition pipes and though there are certainly differences in quality of workmanship in the later pipes they nonetheless are good smokers. The pages of the catalogue are full of information both in the form of the photos and shape names and numbers but also in the stampings on the pipes and the linking of certain shapes to others with a note on the size. For instance, the Hunt, No. 344 a diamond shank billiard, is a parallel shape to shape #324 which is larger and shape #566 which is smaller.
After the main shapes portion of the catalogue the pages turn toward specialty items such as Crocodile and Morocco cases which are noted to be “unsurpassed for durability and finish” and can be obtained for any Barling pipes as a Single or a Companion case. There are several pages o of pipes with unique covers – with shapes from flat to domed, with hinges and with chains holding them in place. These are truly beautiful looking pipes. Something I was unaware of was that Barling’s made Meerschaum lined pipes as well. They show three examples with a note that they can be made for any shape of Barling’s pipes. I had to laugh at the note (so contrary to much I read today on the forums regarding meer lined pipes) that “Our Meerschaum Lined Pipes we can recommend for cool and sweet smoking. They are suitable for hard smokers and also for those who do not like briar…”
The catalogue ends with what for me has become a bit of a wish book – Specialties in Companions and Cased Amber Briars. These are the beautiful cased singles and pairs of pipes – one with a vulcanite stem and one with an amber stem on matching pipes. Others have a bent pipe and straight pipe with a military bit with two sets of stems – vulcanite and amber. Some have stem extensions made out of albatross wing bone and others have three pipes in a case. These cases are the Crocodile and Morocco cases spoken of above. The economy of size and shape make these great pocket cases for the pipes they contain. I am forever on the prowl for a set like these to add to my collection.
If you want to have a piece of history in the form of a catalogue that gives you a real feel for a time long gone you could not do better than pick up a copy of this facsimile. It is a treat for the Barling’s pipe collector and smoker and would also be a great piece for anyone who wants a nostalgic glimpse at the past.