I’ve been around pipes, tobaccos, and tobacciana for four decades now so it’s easy for me to assume that I’ve seen it all. Whenever I get to this point, it never fails that someone shows me or sends me something that sets me right back into my chair.
This happened yet again last Friday night when I met my friend Warren for a pint of Guinness and some bar snacks at Againn, a pub in Rockville.
“Bruce (Weaver) sent me something that he wants me to give to you,” Warren intoned with no little mystery in his voice. “He said he wants me to see and describe your face when you see this.”
Needless to say, my curiosity was more than piqued. I couldn’t imagine what surprise lay in store for me. I mean….I LITERALLY couldn’t imagine what lay in store for me. This thing pinned the weirdness meter so hard that it might have broken the indicator needle right off at the spindle.
I am delighted to introduce you to the Phil-o-matic. Yessir, the Philomatic – a device so bizarre as to beggar the imagination.
I’ve tried to do some research on the Phil-o-matic, and I can tell you that I found absolutely no information whatsoever on this thing. All I know is that one sold once on eBay. Worthpoint provided this useless nugget. I also know that Bruce Weaver has one, too. So, we know that there are at least two of these devices extant in the world.
What you are looking at is an automatic pipe filler. One removes the spring-loaded tobacco piston from its flexi-plastic reservoir in order to fill the reservoir up with a nice shag or ribbon cut tobacco.
To load the device, one releases the piston, creating a space wherein the tobacco will gather adjacent to the piston. One then pushes the piston plunger, ejecting the tobacco through the Phil-o-matic hole, presumably into the pipe’s tobacco chamber, assuming that the user has properly aligned the pipe with the tobacco orifice. I leave it to your imagination to conjure the metaphor I experienced while watching the tobacco load excreted into the bowl.
Just how lazy might someone have to be to be motivated to purchase this auto-pipe loader? I mean, how much trouble is it to pinch a bit of tobacco from a pouch and push it into a pipe’s tobacco chamber?
The only use I can imagine for this device is to be able to load a pipe one handed while clinging to a sailing mast during a pitching storm. I wondered, “Does it come with a Zippo?” Or might a Zippo be too much work. You DO have to roll your thumb over the striking wheel.
You can see from the still-attached price tag that this device sold for a whopping three Simoleons when it was marketed. I think it was during the 60s based on the box design and lack of ZIP Code, but who knows?
The most attractive aspect of this device is its color. It has a sunny personality what with all the gold, yellow, and cream coloring.
And for the person who strongly desires to appear even more nerdy than a guy with a fully loaded pocket protector in his short-sleeved shirt pocket, one need only carry this.
I wonder where Weaver got this. I am not at all sure it isn’t from some other planet or parallel dimension where inventors still smoke pipes.