Big Ben (Gubbels) pipes bankrupt

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arno665

Senior Member
Apr 3, 2013
346
0
Sadly E. Gubbels in Herten, the Royal Factory of tobaccopipes (i.e. Big Ben), is bankrupt. The artisanal production branch of the family company is no more after 149 years. The trading house, Gubbels Trade and BV Gubbels Pipecleaners, on the other hand, continue to exist.
With the production of fully handmade briar wooden tobacco pipes finally stopped, Elbert and Alfons Gubbels say goodbye to a piece of company DNA and cultural heritage. But also from six involved employees.
“I had hoped to be able to maintain production,” says Elbert Gubbels in an explanation. “But the anti-smoking lobby and the government’s policy of discouragement are terrible. Fewer smokers, fewer stores. While pipe smoking is a certain lifestyle that requires good communication.”
Gubbels wants to keep a part of its history visible, but is removing the expensive machine for the Big Ben pipes from the company. “We have a solid stock and cannot keep on stacking. We will first sell it and then have the new pipes made in Italy. Where the briar also comes from. Then we give it a final touch in Herten. This is how we maintain our global market. On a small scale, with around ten, eleven employees, we hope to be able to continue for a very long time.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
25,941
116
So the artisan pipes are no more, but the factory pipes will be produced in Italy and will continue, if I read correctly. I like my one Big Ben pipe, a straight churchwarden. It's a factory pipe, so similar ones will continue to be produced, but I am most saddened to hear the artisan soul of the outfit will be no more. Pipe making has been an honored craft and tradition for hundreds of years. Now it will become a renegade activity like gun running or numbers. I'm sorry to see that.

 

frozenchurchwarden

Preferred Member
Mar 1, 2014
1,961
9
Glad I already got mine.
Big Ben pipes are some of the best value around. Excellent stem and button work.
If they can maintain standards from Italian production it probably won’t impact the end product but it’s sad to see another locally owned factory close.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
25,941
116
The tightening tobacco laws and regs will close out more and more businesses, and inhibit start-ups. Not a good bet for a business, though a few bold souls launch them. The pipe and pipe tobacco market will live on under the wing of the biggest companies and longstanding companies (I think) but the number of brands of pipes and blends is sure to narrow. My guess is it will all hit a plateau and be neglected as other concerns take over public and public health attention. For those sitting on a ton of leaf, this really doesn't matter. For people with spare cellars, you might squirrel away some tubs and tall jars. Anyone with twenty or more serviceable pipes, you're set for life on that score.

 

laniromee

Junior Member
Jul 31, 2018
56
2
Can we get a link to the news/source? Even if not in english. I want to understand better the case.

 

aquadoc

Preferred Member
Feb 15, 2017
1,436
8
United States
There are a number of curvy's still available on the Al Pascia website. For some reason, I thought that Gubbels was working with Al Pascia but that the shaping/carving was done in Italy. Surely, the Italian artisans can also finish the pipes too.

 

alpascia

New member
Oct 26, 2011
38
0
Milano, Italy
Goodmorning!
Gubbels is producer of BigBen, but also for the Al Pascià Curvy pipes. For this reason we have visited Gubbels a few weeks ago. They have reorganized the company structure and adapted their production facility to the market circumstances.
Gubbels is not bankrupt!
They will remain producing pipes in The Netherlands and will focus more on pipe smoking related trade activities.
Thank you for your attention and happy pipe smoking!
Al Pascià

 

arno665

Senior Member
Apr 3, 2013
346
0
Goodmorning!
Gubbels is producer of BigBen, but also for the Al Pascià Curvy pipes. For this reason we have visited Gubbels a few weeks ago. They have reorganized the company structure and adapted their production facility to the market circumstances.
Gubbels is not bankrupt!
They will remain producing pipes in The Netherlands and will focus more on pipe smoking related trade activities.
Thank you for your attention and happy pipe smoking!
Al Pascià
Hmmm... The article says that the production of fully handmade briar wooden tobacco pipes has stopped. And that part of the Gubbels enterprise is bankrupt. They will finish pipes in The Netherlands, but the whole process of making one from scratch is no more. I'll ask Elbert to be sure of it.

 

arno665

Senior Member
Apr 3, 2013
346
0
I just talked to Elbert Gubbels, the owner of Gubbels/Big Ben. The story in De Limburger is not entirely correct, to the chagrin of Elbert. They are NOT bankrupt but had to downsize considerably. They had so much stock, which did not sell fast enough, that it threatened the future of the company. So sadly they had to fire several employees. In the coming months no pipes are produced and the remaining stock is (hopefully) sold. After that the cheaper pipe-lines are made in Italy and finished in The Netherlands. The more expensive high grade pipe-lines will still be fully made in The Netherlands.