For some reason I had not yet posted a picture of this exquisite handmade pipe by Gio, a Canada-based artisan who has so far been selling his creations only within a relatively closed circle. It is a mixed design between a distinguishable acorn shape and a pickaxe, both of which having a pleasing Nordic appeal to them I found genuinely pleasing. Apart from being the very first one of a kind pipe I ever owned, it is a precious reminder of the kind soul who sent it to me as a token of his appreciation. It is therefore impossible to enjoy the pleasant smoking experience it continues to provide without being invaded by a powerful feeling of privilege and of gratitude.
Above is what I would consider a reasonably unusual pipe decoration. It was found among a few Peterson and Big Ben models at the Havaneza House in Lisbon. Upon asking to inspect the pipe I found nothing but a number - possibly related to its shape - although no brand logo or designer name that would enable me to understand its origin. As the picture reveals, it lacks elegance to the point of seeming almost unfinished. Carved on one of its sides is a distinctive Freemasonry symbol known as the Square and Compasses, the most elementary utensils of the architect. Additionally, the G letter at the center is usually said to represent the greatest of all architects.
The presence of this pipe in this particular store and location becomes even more baffling when bearing in mind that, in recent times, several Portuguese newspapers pushed front page stories exposing some of the most notable masonic lodges in the country; as well as how some of the most important statesmen are associated to this seemingly harmless brotherhood of men. Conspiracy theories aside, I wonder what would become of me if I chose to smoke such a pipe while strolling through the Pombaline Lower Town.
For many years, my father and I wondered about the origin of this pipe. He obtained it when I was a young child, much to my dismay, as a part of a trade involving a pair of daggers I was particularly fond of. The inscription read Elliot stowe, vt. which, to us, wasn’t necessarily helpful. Recently I decided to find out more about the designer of this pipe who, as it turns out and against our educated guesses, turned out not to be an amateur but rather an evolving pipe designer from the United States.
Elliot Nachwalter is a craftsman based in Vermont. In the beginning of his twenty five year old career, he and his friend Andrew Marks worked together in a store located in the town of Stowe before starting their own Briar Workshop. The pipes they created were sent to retailers throughout the United States which explains how this piece may have been purchased in the first place. At present, he continues to design and sell pipes, his technique more evolved than ever before. Some of his recent creations can be found on his website.
Because the pipe was heavily damaged, namely on the plateau rim, my father eventually tried to restore it - a creative approach of sorts which resulted in its current decoration. A smoking pipe is, after all, a living entity that is subject to changes with the passage of time.
The film description reads:
Father the Flame will be a feature-length documentary about slowing down, embracing life, and learning something in the process. It’s also about tobacco pipes. We will delve into the modern world of the pipe culture, explore the historical journey of the tobacco pipe and show the making of a pipe from harvesting briar in Italy to a finished pipe made by a craftsman in a corner of Michigan. Through interviews, narration, and cinematic imagery we will explore the timeless and transcendant nature of pipes.
It’s not everyday that we find a documentary celebrating this our treasured pastime - to many, including myself, a life pursuit. Even though Chad Terpstra, the director, may be adopting a perspective and style that may not suit the preferences of each individual smoker, I believe this is a significant effort that will undoubtedly provide us all with moments of sheer delight; perhaps even an inspiring document that we may leave for future generations who may one day inquire themselves as to why pipe smoking was so highly valued by so many men and women before their time. Bearing this in mind, I humbly invite all those interested in seeing this project come to life to make a contribution, however small. Thank you so very much.
The case of Savinelli is that of an enduring and thriving family business whose enviable reputation has endured for well over a century. Presently the largest pipe factory in the whole of Italy, the secret behind their success may very well consist of their readiness to adopt new formats and introduce new designs so as to suit the widest audience possible. Italian pipes, whose popularity is particularly high in the United States, are known throughout the world for the choice of quality briar as well as for their coherent shapes. Adopting both the latest industrial practices and preserving the tradition that earned their country this enviable notoriety, Savinelli continues to innovate pipe smoking every year and preserve their production at the highest standards. This blend of old and new, of manual and industrial, is what I believe defines this outstanding brand.
My newest pipe, got the picture off the website cos I’m having trouble uploading mine.
It’s a straight stem, Missouri meerschaum, legend corncob and unlike most people I do not use this or any of my pipes for drugs, purely tobacco.
Such a clean smoke, love it <3