Just as smells so easily evoke memories of people, places and things, pipes can have an attachment for the smoker, and for different reasons. Many years ago, I had a Bari squashed tomato that had a stem that fit my bite so perfectly well that I abused the hell out of it, building up a cake in a month (most of the time, because of frequently rotating my pipes, it takes me three to six months to do it). I loved that pipe, which I misplaced during a move, and I was never able to find a similar replacement. I miss it to this day.
In the seventies, Kriswill made a pipe called the Navigator, which was a thin-walled pick axe with a half-bend and a pencil-thin shank and stem. I bought one on my honeymoon in 1978 and it became a favorite very quickly. It was so light that I could keep it in my mouth all day. The unfortunate aspect of lightweight pipes is that they tend to break easily. That happened to mine about five years after I got it, and it broke where the shank meets the bowl- no way to repair it.
About six years ago, I was at the Newark Pipe Show, and walked past a table with a pile of estate pipes when something made me stop short. There was a smooth finished Navigator, in nice shape, with the original stem…for $10. Needless to say, the bill almost caught fire because I pulled it out of my wallet that fast. So, of course, I dropped it a few weeks later and broke the shank in exactly the same place. Three years after that, I found another one in a brown sandblast finish, again for $10, and I bought it. It now resides in an anti-gravity magnetic containment field surrounded by a force field, but I’m sure that I will find a way to break it anyway.
Probably, though, my favorite memory is of a pipe I still have. During the late seventies, I was the assistant manager of two stores owned by a chain of tobacco shops. I wanted to expand my rotation, so I was always looking for bargain pipes that I could buy with my discount to fit my budget. One day we received a shipment of pipes that looked okay and were fairly priced. They were smooth finished briars with meerschaum linings and noticeable fills, but I decided to buy a Canadian from that shipment. The first thing was that the bit was amazingly thin and comfortable. I loaded it and lit it up and was amazed at how dry and cool it smoked. I have owned this pipe for around 35 years and it has never, I repeat, never had a bad smoke from it.
If you’ve been a pipe smoker for any length of time, you probably have a similar story. Join in and leave your tale in the comments section to share with everyone. Thanks.