Saturday, February 9, 2008

Smokemaster rusticated bent billiard

Here is the third pipe that I purchased from the Blue Ridge place mentioned in the previous post. They had several Smokemasters in their catalog; I've also seen a few on eBay now and then. Smokemasters come in a variety of shapes and finishes. In my regular postings of vintage pipe ads on my other blog I often talk about what I call "gimmick pipes." By which I mean pipes that have some sort of odd gimmick that's supposed to improve flavor, reduce tongue-bite, cool the smoke, etc., etc. The Smokemaster has a gimmick stem. The stem on this pipe is not original.

The stem of the Smokemaster has an special aluminum insert. The gimmick is that you take a standard-length pipe cleaner, bend it exactly in the center, and stick the ends up into the aluminum insert so that the pipe is using a pipe cleaner for a filter. Sounds good in theory, at least to a novice, but perhaps someone more experienced (such as myself, I add humbly) will tell you that this sounds like a really good moisture trap and will actually make the smoke wetter and more likely to bite.

I did smoke this pipe as it was intended until I decided that it was just a waste of good pipe cleaners, then I just smoked it without. Until one day I accidentally sat on it and broke the stem. So I had it replaced with a plain old traditional stem. The original stem was a taper; as you can see, this one is a saddle bit. I think it looks better this way.

I began smoking this pipe with aromatics many years ago, but when I dropped aromatics I gave this one the salt treatment and switched it to latakia blends. Since then I have used it for both latakia and Perique blends without any qualms. It's just a good pipe. I keep this one in my truck most of the time and it's part of my regular rotation, but it's about time to give it a good stem bleach and buff & wax, because it's starting to look a little dingy. The above scanner photo was taken a few years ago after such a cleaning.

1 comment:

  1. I bought a straight BARD at an estate auction. It didn't have the original metal insert you described, either, so I wager the previous owner discovered the same thing you did... that it smokes better with a normal stem.