Tuesday
Apr082014

Have pipes. Will travel.

In just over three weeks, I’ll travel to the Chicago Show. This year, getting there has posed a few unusual challenges because I’m exhibiting my Comoy Blue Riband collection at the show.

Originally, I planned to drive. Although it is a 750-mile trek, when I have a lot of stuff to transport—pipes, cameras, lights, tripod, computer, Passion for Pipes merchandise, and sometimes even furniture—driving is the only sensible option.

However, this year my work schedule makes driving impossible; I have to fly there and back. So, I had to find a safe and secure way to transport my collection and exhibit pieces. Thanks to my friend, Neil Flancbaum at Smokin’ Holsters, I discovered CasesbySource.com where I was able to purchase a smart solution.

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Wednesday
Mar262014

Obama Administration renders all ivory-decorated pipes worthless.

If you own any pipes with ivory decorative insets or flocs, these pipes are effectively rendered valueless within the United States. An executive order issued by the White House and the Department of the Interior bans the sale, resale, import, and export of ivory. According to “The New York Times,” the order will take effect this summer, but with its announcement, it has essentially already done its damage.

This order was created to strengthen the Endangered Species Act protection for African elephants. Ironically, it will continue to be legal to import two freshly killed elephant trophies (with ivory tusks) per year into the United States, but selling Grandma’s Steinway piano could land you in prison.

This order renders valueless teacups, knives, snuff boxes, dice, pool cues, pianos, musical instruments, pipes, tampers, guns, walking sticks, chess pieces, netsuke, boxes, jewelry, and other items too numerous to mention.

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Monday
Mar172014

Pipe Photo Contest at Tobacco Days

My friend and fellow pipe-blogger, Tobacco Days’ David M, recently announced a fun photo contest. Winning photos will be exhibited at the Chicago Show, and on pipe websites around the world. First-, second-, and thirdplace winners will earn themselves $500, $300, and $200 credit toward pipes or tobaccos at leading tobacconists around the globe. One thing I love about this contest is that there will be TWO honorable mentions, as well.

As photo contests go, this one has a worthy goal: to encourage contestants and contest-followers to more fully appreciate and express their own and their fellow pipe-aficionado’s creativity, be they pipe-smoker or pipe-maker. As somebody who loves photography, I’m looking forward to seeing the submissions. How someone takes a photo reveals things about how that person sees and experiences the world. It’s interesting and stimulating to have the opportunity to experience the world through another person’s eyes.

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Friday
Mar142014

Einstein's Last Pipe

When it comes to the 20th Century and those people who make up humanity’s landscape of the times, there are a few people who towered above everyone else, who not only defined their own time but also the times to come. Albert Einstein was most certainly one of those people. His was truly an Olympian perspective.

I find this photograph tremendously evocative. It is a picture of Einstein’s desk at the time of his death. Nestled among his papers and notebooks we see his pipe and tobacco humidor. Captured here is a pipe-smoker’s place, a revelation of penultimate moments within which we see a man of ideas who loved his pipe.

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Friday
Feb282014

The Escape Pipe

An Escape Pipe assembledIt is a common misconception that all pipe manufacturing ceased during World War II when most pipe factories were repurposed to support the war effort. It is true that many factories were repurposed. For example, Comoys made blades that went into engines for the propulsion of aero engines. Civic made canvas items that included webbing for parachutes. But some pipe factories, for example Oppenheimer, continued to make pipes.

In fact, pipe-making was a protected industry during both World Wars I and II because soldiers smoked. Although the war effectively eliminated most makers’ ability to source briar, the Briar Pipe Trade Association allocated available briar stocks to manufacturers during the wars so that pipes could continue to be made for British forces. Some of those wartime pipes were special, indeed.

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