Sunday, December 25, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Featured Pipe Smoker: Captain Robert Falcon Scott

Robert Falcon Scott (1868 - 1912)

Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance, and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman.

These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale, but surely, surely, a great rich country like ours will see that those who are dependent on us are properly provided for.
Robert Falcon Scott was a Royal Navy officer who made two expeditions into Antarctica. During the last one, he reached the South Pole, but he and his four companions died while trying to return. Their bodies were discovered several months later, and left buried beneath a cairn of snow.

The above photo was taken during that expedition in 1911.

Link:  Captain Scott's final letter revealed for the first time

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

J.C. Leyendecker: Thanksgiving

Joseph Christian Leyendecker (1874 - 1951)

Illustrator famous for his magazine covers, especially for The Saturday Evening Post.  His style was an enormous influence on Norman Rockwell.  This piece was used for the cover of American Weekly of July 24, 1946,  and shows the artist painting a portrait of a sumptuous Thanksgiving feast while smoking a pipe and preparing his own meager meal of sausages cooked over a small cast-iron stove.

Thanks to PowerOfBabel.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

More news about the movie "Barquero"

I briefly mentioned Barquero once before.  The new news about it is that if you're a subscriber to Netflix's streaming service, it is now available for streaming!  If you're a fan of westerns, or Lee Van Cleef movies, or pipe smoking, or especially a western starring Lee Van Cleef who does a lot of pipe smoking, you should see it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ia R'lyeh pipe smoke ftaghn!

Great Cthulhu takes a break from driving artists and poets insane. I don't know how he manages to light a pipe under the ocean, but I suppose if he can get his fireplace to burn, then the pipe isn't much more difficult.

via Lovecraft eZine

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Here's what I've thrown together to smoke for the time being:

1 part Latakia
2 parts burley
4 parts Virginia
4 parts Perique

Nice, but I think I'll increase the latakia.

UPDATE: I changed my mind. The leaves are beginning to meld now and the latakia has asserted itself just a little. I'll have to give it a few more days before I make a decision on this blend.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Today's work

Today I made a trip to the only tobacconist in the city (that I know of): The Humidor on San Pedro Ave. I have run out of all my favorite bulk tobaccos and I don't wish to smoke too much of my "good stuff" all at once, so I bought some various bulk leaves to whip up some of my own concoctions.

I bought 2 ounces each of Virginia and Perique and 1 ounce each of burley and Latakia. Before leaving their parking lot, I whipped up a quick pipeful of Perique mixed with C&D's Gray Ghost for the drive home. I enjoyed it quite a lot, and it was a good, long smoke. I have smoked Perique straight before, and enjoyed it, although it isn't something I want to do too often. However--and I should preface this with in my experience--straight Perique is difficult to burn. It works much better with a little something extra to more or less serve as an accelerant. The Gray Ghost is on the dry side and worked very well.

I also purchased a bunch of bristle pipe cleaners and a small container of Zippo lighting fluid. This stuff is hard to come by around here. I used to be able to buy it just about anywhere, but now no one stocks anything but butane. I think I might get a butane lighter eventually but I want to make sure I get a really good one that will last a long time, so I'll have to start researching that.

Upon arriving home, I mixed another very small sample with some of all four leaves and am enjoying it right now. Later on I will mix bigger samples and allow them to meld for a while before smoking. Right now it's just nice to have some decent bulk tobacco again.

And finally, I dropped off a pipe that needs a stem replacement. It is a pipe that I rescued from an estate lot and have never smoked because the stem was so badly damaged, but when I get it back I'll be sure and write something about it--after I've had chance to smoke it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The end of an experiment

Some years ago I put up several batches of tobacco in vaccum-sealed bags, and eventually smoked all except one which somehow got pushed to the back of the cabinet and I overlooked it. Later I rediscovered it and decided it would be a good candidate to test long-term tobacco storage in vaccum sealed bags. So I put it back and decided to wait.

I did this because although I asked in different online forums about it, I got only replies such as, "I don't think it will work because..." or "it might not work because..." or "sounds like a good idea! let me know how it goes..." No one ever gave me an unequivocal yea or nay on the subject.

So let me now tell you, after 4 years and 3 months of storage: It does not work. So if you're thinking about this method for long-term storage, forget it. You will only waste your tobacco.

The tobacco in question was 2 ounces of C&D's Bayou Morning. Upon slitting open the bag, the tobacco had hardened into a near rock-like chunk. Small pieces could be chipped off which immediately fell apart into a nearly dust-like powder.

And that's that.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Featured Pipe Smoker: Lord Nibbler of Eternium (fictional)

Lord Nibbler of the planet Eternium is a fictional character from the animated series Futurama. He is a member of a very cute and adorable race with voracious appetites who are extremely long-lived (having lifespans of thousands of years).

"Nibbler" is only the cutely ironic nickname that his human companions have given him, ironic because he is capable of swallowing animals whole that are several times his own size. His real name is never given, because as he once said, "in the time it would take to pronounce one letter of my true name, a trillion cosmoses would flare into existence and sink into eternal night."

Throughout most of the series he appeared to be a semi-intelligent being who made simple animal sounds of chattering or warbling, would purr like a cat when his fur was stroked, and had a litter box for pooping. His feces are made of dark matter, "each pound of which weighs over ten thousand pounds," and was originally able to power space ship engines, although later on dark matter was rendered inert and could no longer be used as such. It is unknown if Nibbler is actually not potty-trained or if he simply prefers pooping in his diapers.

Later in the series, he revealed himself to be the extremely hyper-intelligent alien that he is, and when he desires to do so, can communicate with his human companions in a very deep, booming and well-modulated voice.

It was Nibbler who had the main protagonist, Philip J. Fry, cryogenically frozen so that he would be present in the 31st century because Fry was the only being in the universe capable of defeating a race of hyper-intelligent brains who were going to destroy the universe.

His race is called the Nibblonians by his human companions, and he and his kind also refer to themselves as such for the sake of convenience. The Nibblonians are the oldest race in the universe; at the time of the Big Bang they were already 17 years old.

In the episode from which these screen captures were taken, Nibbler discovers that the cats of Earth are actually a race of intelligent aliens who are going to destroy the Earth in order to save their own planet. He and his human companions succeed in foiling the cats' plan, although after they save the Earth they discover that the planet now rotates opposite from its original rotation, meaning that the sun would be rising in the west. This, they decide, is "close enough."

In the last picture above we see that Nibbler's pipe allows him to retain a quiet dignity even while having his diaper changed.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Vintage Ad (1942): Bond Street

Here we have a man enjoying his pipe, only to be accosted by what I assume is a rabid werewolf. Knowing that his life is about to end, the man cranes his head backward, exposing his throat in the vain hope that it will bring about his death as swiftly and painlessly as possible.

Bond Street does it again.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The game explained

From Gin Rummy, 1949. Illustration by Arthur Ferrier. Via Vintage Scans.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I just noticed that my old blogroll has vanished due to changes at Bloglines, which I no longer use and my account is no longer active. So if you have a pipe blog and would like it listed here, please leave a comment. I'll have to rebuild the blogroll from scratch.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Vintage Ad (1946): Bond Street/Revelation

I have a sub-sub-hobby. Main hobby: pipe smoking. Sub-hobby: vintage pipe ads. Sub-sub-hobby: vintage ads featuring creepy Bond Street guys.

Bond Street seemed to have a knack for disturbing imagery in their ads. This guy isn't nearly as creepy as the official Creepy Bond Street Guy, but it's still pretty creepy.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I don't know what this is about

Just something I came across. If anyone knows anything about this, let me know. Otherwise, feel free to caption it.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mr. Pudgins

"Wild and wacky things happen when Mr. Pudgins comes to sit for John, Pete, and Jane. Strangely enough, they only happen when Mr. Pudgins smokes his pipe."

Sent to me by my friend Brer, who also says "at the end of the book he blows smoke bubble Christmas ornaments that commemorate their adventures!"

I think this was published in 1951.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Edinburgh Pipe Club

If you live in the middle of nowhere and don't get around much (like I do/don't), you might not know that there is a national pipe museum in Amsterdam. Yes, that Amsterdam. The Edinburgh Pipe Club clues us in.

Peter also covers cleaning an estate pipe, something which is near and dear to my own heart, as you probably know if you've read this blog long enough.

Click, and go read!

This post is for the Pipe Smoking Bloggers event #1.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Some fragmentary pipe fiction

I thought I'd post something a little different in honor of reaching 50 followers. Back when I used to sell lots of refurbished pipes on eBay, at one point I got bored with writing dry, unimaginative descriptions of the pipes I was selling, and this happened. Someone found the auction and posted a link on alt.smokers.pipes, and it got the most traffic of any auction I ever held. The auction was, of course, for a Falcon. I think it sold for $8.

It had been a slow day and a slower night. I locked up the office and in the chill of the sunset walked down the block to a low-slung bar, the kind where you have to duck your head to go through the door. The kind where drinking is mandatory and smoking is recommended. The kind that has every song the Texas Tornados ever recorded in their jukebox. That kind of bar.

I chose a stool near the back where a couple of old guys were playing backgammon and talking in Spanish. I tried eavesdropping, and understood just enough to know they weren't talking about much of anything in particular. So I gave up and stopped sipping a lukewarm whiskey long enough to pack my pipe. Like I said, it was a slow night, so I took my time, sizing it up, tapping the bowl to settle the leaves, anything to kill some time. I finally decided it was worth putting a match to, and after the smoke settled around me I realized I had company.

I had seen her around a few times, and seen her kind a million times. She had an off-black coat slung over a dress that once might have been red, and once had probably fit better. She had eyes as blue and faded as pipe smoke and hair of pale auburn, the color of a well-stained and well-worn briar.

"I like a man with a pipe," she said.

I don't know what brought her to my corner of the bar that night. Maybe it was the smell of my pipe. I puffed a wreath of smoke that smelled like some kind of antediluvian fruit fermenting on the bottom of a Louisiana bayou on a hot August night. Just the way I liked it.

"You should see my Kaywoodie," I said back.

"Oh," she touched the rim of my glass with a finger, "Is that what they're calling it these days?"

"So what brings you out on a night like this?" I asked. It was cold out there, cold enough to make the dogs sleep with the cows.

" know." She touched my pipe with a fingertip and pulled back quick, but not too quick. "It's hot," she said.

Yeah, I knew what she was selling, but I wasn't buying. I offered to buy her a drink. Whatever you're having, she said.

So I bought her a straight bourbon in an old-fashioned, and she sipped it long and slow, making it last. We talked about the weather, we talked about whiskey, we talked about the latest war. We talked about nothing.

"So what's your name, anyway?" she finally said.

"Most folks just call me Falcon."

"Oh? Are you a hunter, Falcon?"

"Sometimes." I grinned. "But not tonight."

She finished her whiskey, polishing off the last drop without even tilting her head back. Just like a real lady. Or just like someone who had a lot of practice with finishing off glasses of whiskey.

"See you around, Falcon." She sidled across the room. I glanced at her once as she walked away, then shook my head. I was saving myself for a one-night-stand that wouldn't cost me anything in the morning.

She sat down in a booth with some other guy, another pipe smoker. I had never seen him before but I wasn't in the mood to pay attention anyway. A few minutes later they left. I saw the soft silvery glint of aluminum in front of his face as he ducked his head to go out the door. It was the last time I saw her alive.

* * * * *

McCloskey was an okay guy, for a cop. Now and then he'd steer a case my way. Now and then I'd get some information for him, the kind of information that's hard for cops to get, but not quite so hard for a P.I. who wasn't too particular about the rules. So when he called me before sunrise the next morning I listened instead of just hanging up.

"Meet me at the county morgue," he said, without much of an explanation.

"What's in it for me?" I wanted to know.

"Jail time, maybe," he answered shortly. "Or maybe just something to keep you from getting too bored."

Jail time, okay. I figured the morgue was as good a place as any to fight a hangover, so I said I'd be right there.

McCloskey didn't say much at the morgue. He never said much anywhere. He pulled open the drawer and flipped back the sheet. "You seen her before?"

There she was, more relaxed in death but yeah, I knew her. In the harsh florescent light of the morgue, and in spite of the bruises around her throat, I realized that once, a long time ago, she had probably been a real knock-out. And longer ago than that, she may have even been pretty.

"Yeah, I've seen her."

"We got a witness says you were with her at Cantina del Alamos last night."

"Yeah, we chatted," I answered. "Bought her a drink. So?"

"Just following the trail," he said. "Last person to see her alive, and all that."

I knew the routine. I also knew that I wasn't the last one to see her alive, and told him so.

"Can you describe him?"

"Sure. Average height. Average build. Wore a coat and hat."

"Gotcha. A real stand-out. Nothing else?"

"Only one thing," I added. "He smoked a Falcon--it's a pipe with an aluminum stem and a briar bowl."

He let me go then, with the standard warnings not to leave town and so forth. Right. Like I had anywhere else to go.

On my way back to the office I stopped at the tobacconist and spent my lunch money on a tin of Escudo. I needed cheering up.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A momentous occasion...

I would like to announce that this blog now has 50 followers!

Thanks, everyone!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Vintage Ad: Kaywoodie (1944)

Another World War 2-era home-themed ad from Kaywoodie. Unfortunately I don't have a hardcopy of this one and this scan from the internet is the best I could find. Artwork, once again, by Rudolf Wetterau.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Featured pipe smoker: Stanley Baldwin

Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley (1867-1947)
To me, England is the country, and the country is England. And when I ask myself what I mean by England when I am abroad, England comes to me through my various senses — through the ear, through the eye and through certain imperishable scents ... The sounds of England, the tinkle of the hammer on the anvil in the country smithy, the corncrake on a dewy morning, the sound of the scythe against the whetstone, and the sight of a plough team coming over the brow of a hill, the sight that has been seen in England since England was a land ... the one eternal sight of England.
Stanley Baldwin was born in Worcestershire, England and was first cousin of Rudyard Kipling. He served as Member of Parliament, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Leader of the Opposition, and finally as Prime Minister (1935-37).

He was an advocate of partial disarmament in the years before Germany initiated the second World War, and some hold him partly responsible for England's ill-preparedness when war began. But then, it's easy to criticize those in the past from our own vantage point, and many people didn't want to recognize what was brewing in Europe during the 1930s. I know only what I have read about him online and in a few books relating to WW2, and I don't consider myself knowledgeable enough to comment any further.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Vintage Ad (1942): Friends tobacco

A very small reproduction that I captured from eBay at some time in the past. Captions read (to the best of my ability):

All you pipe lads, Ahoy! [I think]
Here's a smoke you'll enjoy!

Not a trace of tongue-bite,
This new mixture is right!

Give your pet pipe a lift--
At a dime, it's a gift!

Ask for Friends, don't forget!
Friends, you'll like it best yet!

Hmmm...yes, well, perhaps advertising poetry has come a long way since then.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Featured Pipe Smoker: A. A. Milne

Alan Alexander Milne (1882-1956)

"One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries."

British author of plays, novels and poetry, he is best known for being the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh.

As for pipe smoking, here is an excerpt that I found some time ago which someone had posted on an online forum. It is from a newspaper article titled "Not That it Matters," from 1920.
However, it is the pipe rather than the tobacco which marks him as belonging to this particular school. He pins his faith, not so much to its labor saving devices as to the white spot outside, the white spot of an otherwise aimless life. This tells the world that it is one of the pipes. Never was an announcement more superfluous.

...Whereas men of an older school, like myself, smoke for the pleasure of smoking, men of this school smoke for the pleasure of pipe-owning--of selecting which of their many white-spotted pipes they will fill with their specially blended tobacco, of filling the one so chosen, of lighting it, of taking it from the mouth to gaze lovingly at the white spot and thus letting it go out, of lighting it again and letting it go out again, of polishing it up with their own special polisher and putting it to bed, and then the pleasure of beginning all over again with another white-spotted one. They are not so much pipe smokers as pipe keepers; and to have spoken as I did just now of their owning pipes was wrong, for it is they who are in bondage to the white spot.

...You may be excused for feeling after the first pipe that the joys of smoking have been rated too high, and for trying to extract your pleasure from the polish on the pipe's surface, the pride of possessing a special mixture of your own, and such-like matters, rather than from the actual inspiration and expiration of smoke. In the same way a man not fond of reading may find delight in a library of well-bound books. They are pleasant to handle, pleasant to talk about, pleasant to show to friends.But it is the man without the library of well-bound books who generally does most of the reading.

So I feel that it is we of the older school that do most of the smoking. We smoke unconsciously while we are doing other things; they try, but not very successfully, to do other things while they are consciously smoking. No doubt they despise us, and tell themselves that we are not real smokers, but I fancy they feel a little uneasy sometimes. For my young friends are always trying to persuade me to join their school, to become one of the white-spotted ones.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Vintage Ad: (1923) MM Pipes

No information on this one, except that I noted it was from 1923.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Vintage Ad: Philip Morris English Mixture and Cut Plug (1911)

I thought I'd get back to having a little more activity on the old blog and start posting vintage ads and some featured pipe smokers again, so here's the oldest I currently have in my "found somewhere on the internet" collection.

I will attempt to include any information on these ads that I can, rather than just posting them as found. I was not able to find any information about the specific blends advertised here, but I was able to determine that this ad appeared on page 125 of volume XLIV (July-December 1911) of The American Review of Reviews. Click to link to go to Google Books, where you can read or download the entire volume (and many others) for free.

The message of this ad was that the tobacco was good enough to pay $2.00 per pound for, which adjusted for inflation would be about $46 per pound today, which I think is a little more expensive than most bulk blends.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pipe lore: No Smoking

[Albert Lewis, C. S. Lewis' father] was a master of the anecdote, a fund of improbable stories, many of which for him epitomized the tragicomedy of what it meant to be Irish. One of the more bizarre 'wheezes' (as he habitually termed these stories and observations) concerned an occasion when he was travelling in an old-fashioned train of the kind which had no corridor, so that the passengers were imprisoned in their compartments for as long as the train was moving. He was not alone in the compartment. He found himself opposite one other character, a respectable-looking farmer in a tweed suit whose agitated manner was to be explained by the demands of nature. When the train had rattled on for a further few miles, and showed no signs of stopping at a station where a lavatory might be available, the gentleman pulled down his trousers, squatted on the floor of the railway carriage and defecated. When this operation was complete, and the gentleman, fully clothed, was once more seated opposite Albert Lewis, the smell in the compartment was so powerful as to be almost nauseating. To vary, if not to drown the odour, Albert Lewis got a pipe from his pocket and began to light it. But at that point the stranger opposite, who had not spoken one word the entire journey, leaned forward and censoriously tapped a sign on the window which read NO SMOKING. For C. S. Lewis, this 'wheeze' of his father's always enshrined in some insane way a truth about Northern Ireland and what it was like to live there.
--A.N. Wilson
from C.S. Lewis: A Biography

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pipe lore: Slow talker Eero Saarinen

Eero Saarinen was a Finnish architect who lived from 1910-61.
Saarinen, an exceptionally slow talker, was being interviewed for a television program. The allotted time was rapidly running out, and the anxious interviewer ventured to ask Saarinen if he could speak just a little faster. "No, sir," replied the architect, casually lighting up his pipe. "But," he continued, more slowly than ever, "I could say less."
Compare to Philip Marlowe in thoughtful when you are not thinking.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I submit for your examination

This corncob pipe is on display at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas. According to the museum's display notes, this pipe actually belonged to Douglas MacArthur.

As you were.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Pipe lore: Israel Putnam and the powder keg duel

Israel Putnam was an American army general during the U.S. Revolution, and previously served at a lower rank during the French and Indian Wars.
During the French and Indian War Putnam was challenged to a duel by a British major whom he had insulted. Realizing that he would stand little chance in a duel with pistols, Putnam invited the major to his tent and suggested an alternative trial of honor. The two men were sitting on small powder kegs, into each of which Putnam had inserted a slow-burning fuse. The first to squirm or move from his seat would be the loser. As the fuses burned, the major showed increasing signs of anxiety, while Putnam continued to smoke his pipe with a casual air. Seeing the spectators gradually disappear from the tent to escape the impending explosion, the major finally leaped from his keg, acknowledging Putnam as the victor. Only then did Putnam reveal that the kegs contained onions, not gunpowder.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cigar lore: Count Gottlieb von Haeseler in good company

This isn't actually a pipe story, but cigar. Still, I liked it and I'll include it. Von Haeseler was a German general who lived from 1836-1919.
Count Haeseler was sitting in a railway waiting room, enjoying a cigar. The room's other occupant, a young lieutenant, was not quite so comfortable. "You shouldn't be smoking that cabbage-leaf of yours in good company," he said, offering Haeseler one of his own cigars. The count accepted it, slipped it into his pocket, and continued to smoke his own. "Sir, why are you not smoking my cigar?" demanded the lieutenant angrily. "I think I'll wait, as you suggest, until I'm in good company," Haeseler replied.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pipe lore: Leonhard Euler's last words

Leonhard Euler was a Swiss mathematician who lived from 1707-83.
After having amused himself one afternoon calculating the laws of ascent of balloons--on his slate, as usual--Euler dined with Lexell (a mathematical colleague) and his family. "Herschel's Planet" (Uranus) was a recent discovery. Euler outlined the calculation of its orbit. A little later he asked that his grandson be brought in. While playing with the child and drinking tea he suffered a stroke. The pipe dropped from his hand, and with the words, "I die," Euler ceased to live and calculate.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I think I overdid it...

Today I stopped by the local shop (The Humidor on San Pedro) and bought a couple ounces of Perique to mix with my Grey Ghost (from C&D) to make more of my hybrid creation which I call Don't Tread On Me. I didn't bother to weigh the mix, I just slapped some together. I think I put in too much Perique.

Ha! Just kidding! There's no such thing as too much Perique!