G. L. Pease
As I put the finishing touches on this edition, I’m sitting on the back porch, enjoying a beautiful, cool but sunny almost-spring day. Birds are singing, bees are busy gathering pollen and nectar, and legions of chorus frogs are on the prowl, devouring insects and looking for love. Between my teeth is a small 1918 Keystone billiard filled with a long aged mixture, its fragrant smoke softly dissipating in a very gentle breeze. This pipe was a lucky find; and I got it for a price much lower than so much enjoyment should cost. When it arrived in the post, there was little doubt it had been, shall we say, enjoyed rather a lot, but its restoration was relatively painless, and the result was well worth the efforts. It is a wonderful old pipe with many stories to tell. At nearly a century-year old, it’s still looking pretty darn good, smokes beautifully, and is a delightful testament to the enduring quality of the classics.
Throughout the history of the pipe, there have been many explorations of aesthetics, of technology, of materials, but here we are, nearly 160 years after the supposed discovery of briar, most of us smoking pipes that aren’t much different from what our grandfathers or great-grandfathers would have smoked, and in some cases, we’re smoking those very pipes. In so many ways, today’s pipes are yesterday’s pipes are tomorrow’s pipes. Nihil sub sōle novum. Each time we light a bowl, we hold something timeless in our hands, something very rare in today’s world of disposability. That’s pretty special.