Because of the Italian Renaissance of the pipe is in its full, PipeSMOKE made a pilgrimage to Italy. We started in Rome and continued a peregrination around the country northward to visit the industry saints or sinners (depending on whom you ask), and hand carvers in smaller workshops, as well as large factories. But, with so many pipe manufacturers and an enormous range of stylistic variations, we decided to acquaint or readers with the pipe culture of Italy and look at the "schools" of pipe making. Rather than trying to list everyone or trying to establish hierarchies we tried to find some unifying ideas to help understand this recent phenomena. Because it is nature and nurture in Italy to argue ones opinion vehemently and passionately, but without personal animosity, we must emphasize that the ideas expressed below are those of the individuals interviewed and not necessarily those of this magazine.
When briar was first used in pipemaking, the shapes and models hardly differed from those made from other materials. But by the time the briar pipe industry was, fully established in 1855-1860, pipe makers had realized the flexibility of the material, and briar pipes began to acquire their own characteristics. As a result, the demand for briar pipes grew very quickly and a basic range of popular shapes and models was developed. These shapes still form the foundation for current models on the market. To help both the new and experienced pipesmoker understand the myriad shapes and sizes available in the world of pipes, PipeSMOKE presents the following guide.
One of my dearest friends since my college days comes to our country house for a weekend, packing more than I take for a two-week trip to Europe. His pipes accompany him, in a purpose-built attaché case that holds a dozen of his favorites. I frequently travel on business and carry a spare suit, a few shirts, and other amenities of a man’s life, with two pipes nestled in my briefcase and one in my jacket pocket. Who is right, and who is wrong? That, ultimately, is for the reader to decide, as each approach is a reflection of personal tastes and perception.