Like many of my pipe-enthusiast friends, I started smoking a pipe when I was 19. I guess I thought that it made me feel look older and more distinguished. I’m sure that the principal effect I created was to look ridiculous - like some tousle-headed kid trying to walk around in his dad’s shoes. Nonetheless, between bouts of turning myself green from smoking tobacco that was way too strong or smoking syrupy, over-sugared aromatics - I discovered that I enjoyed smoking a pipe. And unlike most guys my age who smoked pipes, it became something I pursued in private as opposed to something I did to craft a newer, more improved image.
Looking back, I now know that my pipes were better than most of what my friends smoked. I didn’t have many pipes, but those I had were good pipes: Charatans, Sasienis, Savinellis, and massive, over-imagined Ben Wade freehands. I still have most of those pipes and still occasionally smoke them.
A decade or so ago, I got serious about collecting pipes. At the time, I was primarily smoking cigars - and because I liked good cigars like Padron Anniversarios, Fuentes Virgin Sun Growns, Bolivars, and Partagas Series D, No. 4s – I somehow got the crazy idea in my head that starting smoking pipes again would save me money. I look back on that notion and wonder about my judgment and my sanity.
It wasn’t long after that I started collecting pipes in earnest. In those days, the North American artisan-made pipe movement was just gathering steam. I was pretty impressed with the young turks whose work I saw – people like Jody Davis, Michael Lindner, and Todd Johnson – so I decided to collect their pipes. In those days, their work was a much better value than their Danish and German counterparts, so I thought I could get beautiful American-made pipes and save some money while I was at it.
It wasn’t long before I was disabused of my assumptions about saving money, but I kept on collecting North American carver-made pipes anyway. Today, the majority of my collection is comprised of pipes made by North American carvers, though sadly I cannot afford to collect many of those pipe makers I started collecting. I was right about how good their work was and wrong about my ability to sustainably collect their work. I’m still collecting North American-made pipes, but I now focus more on those who I think will emerge into important stature.
I began writing A Passion for Pipes some four and a half years ago when I was vacationing with my wife at her parent’s beach house in Ocean City, Maryland. I wanted to learn more about social media strategy - especially mens’ consumption and use of social media - so I decided to combine my love of pipe collecting with my desire to develop a good blog. I have long believed that one of the most important factors in making anything successful is one’s heartfelt love for the subject. I have loved and been curious about pipes, fine tobaccos, and tobacciana for decades now, and I was counting on that passion to fuel my interest indefinitely. That’s how A Passion for Pipes was born.
Developing this site has been quite a journey. The site and the blog have evolved and so have my interests. Today, I am a lot more interested in vintage tobaccos than I used to be. My love of pipes - especially pipes as an American craft - has continued, but my focus has diffused somewhat. I have become much more interested in vintage factory pipes, specifically Comoy Blue Ribands and pre-World War Two Dunhills. The artisanal pipes of which I am interested are smaller and represent what I consider aesthetic and functional innovations in the craft of pipe making.
I hope that you enjoy your time on this site.