Ben Wade by Preben Holm

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cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,543
151
United States
Does anyone know anything about these pipes that were made by Holm? I am looking at one that is beautiful but the only thing I know about Holm is that he trained Winslow. The one I am looking at was hand made in Denmark and is not the new English made ones. Any help would be appreciated.

 

lonestar

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Mar 22, 2011
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Edgewood Texas
Preben Holm was an absolute master and pioneer. I've smoked several of his pipes, and while there were a wide range of grades made, every one has been a very good smoking pipe.

 

puffy

Preferred Member
Dec 24, 2010
2,437
3
North Carolina
I had a couple of freehands many years ago.I let a friend trade me out of them.As I remember they were good smokers.

 

cortezattic

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Nov 19, 2009
14,411
194
Chicago, IL
Holm is generally credited with the modern Danish free hand movement that "broke away" from the traditional English shapes. It was essentially a "follow the grain" philosophy of pipe shaping. Holm was involved in a distribution deal with a company called Snug Harbor, and I believe it called for his name to be stamped on the pipes. When he stopped doing business with them and took up with Lane Ltd., he felt he could no longer put his name on the new line of pipes for fear of, in effect, competing with himself. Lane owned the Ben Wade name and allowed Holm to market his new line under that name. That's about all I can recall from memory, but there are a few articles on line if you search for them. His Ben Wade era pipes are considered quite collectible. There were other brand names that he used, and some sound pretty hokie: Danish Pride, Harcourt, Monte Verdi, Pipe Lon, Wengholt; but they're genuine Preben Holms none-the-less.

 

keith929

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Nov 23, 2010
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I own one similar to that. It is an excellent smoker and I've had it for 20+ years.

 

lordnoble

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Jul 13, 2010
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So are the pipes that were made by by Preben Holm under the Ben Wade name labeled as such? If not, how do you know if it's a Preben Holm?
-Jason

 

mlaug

Preferred Member
May 23, 2010
908
0
Iowa
They are not.
There isn't any way to tell who the carver was. He was "supervising" the production and he taught a lot of the best Danish carvers, but no way to know if an individual pipe was made by him.

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,543
151
United States
mlaug, I don't know if it is a prominence, does that mean it is special if it is.
lordnoble, from what I have researched all the Ben Wade pipes marked made in Denmark are Preben Holm made pipes.

 

mlaug

Preferred Member
May 23, 2010
908
0
Iowa
I was just guessing...it has that shape. Holm marketed a bunch of different lines...all with different names (see Cortez's post).
My experience is that some of the pipes are good smokers and some are not. Typically, they will have wide, deep bowls that hold a lot of tobacco. Most are on the heavy side if you are a confirmed clencher.
Sometimes they have a generous draw and other times they won't pass a cleaner without noodling it around a bit.
I have one that smokes wet and gurgles like an aquarium bubbler. :cry:
They were pumping out a lot of pipes at the peak of the freehand/Danish revolution and I think the QC got away from him at somepoint.
I think they are beautiful. The grain, stain, shapes....I don't know why, but I love 'em all.
My first expensive pipe was a Golden Walnut I bought in 1977. I never looked at other pipe makers very seriously ever since that first Ben Wade.
I see I may not have answered ol' Noble's question, but yes, the key to getting a Holm era pipe is the "Made In Denmark" stamp.

 

lordnoble

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Jul 13, 2010
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the key to getting a Holm era pipe is the "Made In Denmark" stamp.
That was what I was hoping for; an easy way to figure out if it's a Preben Holm (supervised) pipe. Mine isn't but hey, that's why I asked. Thanks for the history lesson!
-Jason

 

fnord

Preferred Member
Dec 28, 2011
2,752
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Topeka, KS
One of the owners of my local B&M gets downright misty eyed when he talks about Preben Holm. Apparently they were pretty close friends: calls, letters, visits at trade shows and they even vacationed together. The owner also possesses one of the most beautiful free-form carvings I've ever laid eyes on that was a gift from Holm. (The next time I drop by for some tobacco I'll take my camera and post some pixs.)
From everything I've heard and read Preben literally drank himself to death. He always enjoyed his adult beverages but, after his wife bolted with the kids, I guess he would've made Nic Cage in "Leaving Las Vegas" and Mickey Rourke in "Barfly" look like pussies and those two performances were about cats who were absolute degenerates around a bottle.
Here's a good piece on Holm over at Pipedia: http://pipedia.org/index.php?title=Preben_Holm Preben wrote the lion's share of it and he certainly doesn't address his own demons.
I'll never spend the jack for one of his hand carved pieces but a Denmark stamped Ben Wade will be a worthwhile birthday present to the man I love. Mlaug, do you have a non-gurgler you could spare and sell me for my 55th anniversary? I won't quibble over the price either. (It's either affordable or not.)
BTW, that's a damned fine looking piece of wood, Cigrmaster, and I hope you'll soon own it.
Cheers.
Fnord

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,543
151
United States
I am not so sure I am going to buy this now. It sounds like he managed a factory where some pipes were great and others not so. I did not realize he did not do the carving himself and that there is a good chance the one I am looking at could be carved by anyone who worked there. Yes it is a beautiful pipe, but I think there is a reason it is going for only 130.00.

 

mlaug

Preferred Member
May 23, 2010
908
0
Iowa
I won't try to talk anyone into buying a pipe. Ever. But there are a few things to consider. The "anyone who worked there" could be the likes of Poul Winslow, Hansen and Noltensmeier (who went on to take over S.Bang), Per Hansen, Bo Nordh, or Karl Erik. These names are giants in the pipe carver world. Anyone that collected pipes in the 1970s knows what kind of power the new Danish inspired freehands had over the pipe market. Almost every other brand started making their own freehand versions in the Danish style. These guys were on the cutting edge of a new way to interpret design and artistry in pipe making.
Almost all manufacturers make pipes that are hit and miss in engineering. That is a fact of mass production. His earlier pipes under the PH label are most assuredly his own creations. How much oversite he had over individual pipes made under the Ben Wade label is something that isn't known, as far as I know. The names I listed previously aren't exactly known today as second rate carvers.
The style has fallen out of favor, but for those of us who were following the Danish revolution it was an exciting time and I wonder (beside the singular beauty of the designs) that my attraction isn't a form of nostalgia for that time in my life? I dunno. I'm not that deep.
Here is a pretty fair history. Its interesting to me how closely tied many of these people were to each other, either by location or employment.
http://www.finepipes.com/articles/danish-pipes.html
It was a fun time to be buying pipes.
Except for that disco thing going on, but I tried to ignore most of that.

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,543
151
United States
mlaug, thanks for all the info. The reason I even looked at one of these was because I knew Winslow worked there and he is one of my favorites. I decided to go in a different direction and support one of our guys by buying a Rad Davis. I have admired his work and it was time for me to buy an American pipe for the first time. I do like the history of Preben Holm and maybe one day I will grab one.

 

lazydog

Preferred Member
Apr 24, 2012
514
0
I have a PHolm coming ( tomorrow), Stamped preben holn, hand made in copenhagen denmark, and it does have a circle with I believe a grade inside, which I can't make out in fotos. Anyway, it prob. is a lower grade since it is rusticated, but thought Id pick it up for $40 buckaroos also has his signature I believe. Should be an interesting pipe. Also have a Monte Verdi golden tan which I think is a P Holm 2nd. Love it, :puffy: