At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Follows an account of the most recent assembly at Telfords in Marin. Meetings of the Golden Gate Pipe Club are the first Thursday of every month.

I realize that many of my readers will find this uninteresting,and I apologize.
If it helps, please imagine me doing this as an interpretive dance.
What I am wearing while doing so is entirely up to you.
This is a family blog, so keep it clean.


6:45 PM
Several members in attendance, and a number of pipes and tobaccos present.
Seven smooth finishes, three sandblasts - one smoker abstaining.
GLP Quiet Nights, Condor, Savinelli Aromi, McClelland's Arcadia, Wilderness, Frog Morton On The Town, Cornell & Diehl's Yahoo! Mixture, Dunbar.

The master at arms (Michael) explains the format.
[We're rectangular!]
27 members, including Prometheus.

I'm smoking a Charatan's make bent bulldog, pre-Lane era, which had an interior buggered-up by the previous occupant. It's being brought back to life with prize Virginias to build the bottom cake.

William presents a chat about fire in the history of planet earth.
Eruptions, cyano-bacteria, anaerobic, botulism.
Galactic hitchhiker sets forest fire 420 million years ago.
Cooked food=Better for you. 10,000 BCE pottery. 8000 BCE agriculture.
5000 BCE cleansing by burnt fragrances, inhaling smoke, trance state.
New World: Tobacco. Old World: Cannabis.
[Insert burning witch metaphor]

Mike gives a disquisition on Kaywoodie.
In 1900, 80% of tobacco smoked in pipes, 12% as cigarettes. By 1940, 45% in pipes, 45% as cigarettes.
Cigar smoking statistically not very significant.
Comoy began in 1825 as a clay pipe maker in France, first briars in 1850, French briar by 1856.
In 1851 KBB (Kaufman Bros & Bondy) was founded, manufacturing smoking equipment out of clay and meerschaum. This is the company that would become the largest pipemaker in America: Kaywoodie.

For comparison:
1863 Charatan founded.
1865 Kapp and Peterson.
1876 Savinelli.
1907 Dunhill Motorities.
[Note: first Dunhill pipe made in 1910, first shell briar in 1917.]

In 1851 the Consolidated Pipe Factory came into existence, which would eventually be purchased by Kaywoodie in 1883.
Various house brands manufactured in the early years: Paragon, Yello-bole, Dinwoodie.
The Kaufman brothers retired by 1898, but the company stayed in the family, opening a factory in 1915 in Union City, New Jersey.
The trademark 'Kaywoodie' dates from 1920, at which time the interior system was further developed - all manufacturers at the time produced system pipes, including Dunhill, hence the patent and patent pending stamping on many briars - and other brands produced by KB&B had their own systems, for instance the Silverleaf.  By 1924 the company was incorporated as KBB (the ampersand dropped away), and the "drinkless" screw-in came into being.
1928 Easily taken apart to clean. Sincro stem screw-in. 1930 head office moved to the Empire State Building. 1931 patent granted. 1935 over 500 employees. 1936 moved corp. offices to Rockefeller Center. 1938 opened office in London. 1937 flame grain introduced. 1955 company sold.

Mike showed a number of pieces from his collection, many of which were beautiful. Brian Telford brought out an unsmoked Kaywoodie four pipe set that is worth committing mayhem for.
I cannot stress enough how lovely those pieces are, especially the bent bulldog.


At the end of the evening, during the restrained buying frenzy that always occurs when we're at the store, I saw an estate pipe that seemed hugely underpriced.
A long squat bulldog, of classic shape, with fine grain and no fills.
Why on earth was it so cheap?
While attempting to remove the mouthpiece for further investigation it snapped at the tenon.
Written small on the price tag was the notation "do NOT remove stem - glued in".

Naturally I bought it. Brian suggested that I send it away for repair, but I'm an impatient man, and I remembered the last time I had new stems made. It took over three months to get the pipes back, the pipe-fixer had done a lousy job and charged an arm and a leg. He didn't read the clear and concise instructions I had provided, and had buffed the berwillickers out of the briars to boot.
I have not smoked them since.


I removed the tenon and all the glue from the shank, cleaned out the tar, and discarded the insert that had occluded the drafthole and prevented the former owner ever cleaning it. A suitable stem blank was carefully fitted (had to reduce the tenon diameter by hand), and the excess carbon rubber shaved down to leave a seamless transition between the parts. Sandpapers of progressively finer grit, then finished with polishing compounds.
Less than two days after I had a broken pipe in my hands, a restored and fully functional pipe was smoked for the first time in what may very well be half a century.
Yeah, I know what I'm doing. And I've got a good eye.
It's a beauty.

The name 'super delicious' is what's stamped on the shank. That's what Wally F. Frank Ltd called that range of pipes. Wally Frank was a famous tobacconist in New York that existed till the late fifties or early sixties. They had various reputable manufacturers make pipes for them which they marketed under their own brand names.

As a final note, I now have enough Rattrays to last at least three years. 
Bought several aged cannisters of tobacco in addition to the pipe.

FYI: this evening is the second "pipe friendly Sunday" at the Occidental Cigar Club in San Francisco. They are always pipe friendly, but Thomas wants to make pipe-smokers feel more welcome.
I have always felt welcome.
It's a great place.


NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.



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