Did Anyone Get Rich Making Pipes?

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mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,695
1,075
Did anyone in history or even legend ever get truly wealthy manufacturing tobacco pipes? I don't mean a person rich by inheritance or other investments or pursuits taking up pipe making after they were already getting rich or had gotten rich another way. I mean who was the last person to actually attain wealth through pipe making? Or isn't there any such person? Idle curiosity, but provocative.

 

ashdigger

Preferred Member
Jul 30, 2016
5,296
107
Wealth is subjective and high overrated.
To answer your question...... nobody I know of.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
14,403
2,092
Monterey Peninsula
Afred Dunhill. Probably rolling in his grave over the blasphemy now surrounding the vaunted Dunhill marque.
Maybe Joe Barling or Bruce Sasieni or Tommy Rossi or Roger Savinelli or Bill BBB and GBD*
*Some will note the surnames are ridiculous.

 

jaytex969

Preferred Member
Jun 6, 2017
4,586
1,408
I don't think anyone gets rich from making pipes. It's the SELLING of them that generates wealth... :nana:


 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,552
426
Dunhill increased his fortune (inherited) inventing and selling auto accessories after inheriting his father's successful harness business. So, he doesn't count. He simply leveraged leather, into auto parts, then a clothing business and finally added pipes and tobacco. Then his progeny, carrying on the tradition (the first lighter to be operated by one hand was invented by a brother or son or some such), leveraged that into millions selling off those businesses while they still had enormous value. I believe his chief business was making money. His tobacco/pipe businesses did that in spades.
I would guess he'd be quite proud of what the family is worth today. He didn't develop the pipe and tobacco empire because of any humanitarian drive. I doubt he had a real emotional attachment to various Dunhill owned businesses other than to make them successful. The clothing business catered to the rich, providing livery for drivers and such. The auto parts were also directed towards rich customers wanting to trick out their vehicles with things like clocks and cool mirrors. He knew to always go where the money was.
I think he'd be resting quite comfortably, knowing that his father's genius for making money filtered down, through him and on to the third and fourth generation of Dunhills. The Dunhill (dunhill) marques are still producing a lot of moneys. I doubt he would view the family name as sullied. Luxury items were what he sold throughout his life. Dunhill pipes were for those with money, not the working class. The tobaccos? Same target audience. There is a reason the first Dunhill tobacco products store was located in the most ritzy and wealthy part of London. The first American store was in New York, not Oshkosh.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,695
1,075
I think some of the businesses generate impressive bottom lines as businesses, but I'm not sure how that translates for ownership wealth. Iwan Ries moved upstairs after it became too expensive to remain at street level. I can't even imagine what it costs to maintain a large retail store in Manhattan such as Nat Sherman. The owner income is likely swoon-worthy, but how that translates to life on Manhattan, I'm not so sure. How are the owners of Missouri Meerschaum and Dr. Grabow doing in less intense cost of living situations? Eric Nording started young, did well with the freehand craze, and has kept innovating and does strong personal marketing, so I suspect he's done well, likely better than most. I can't think of anyone who has made a fortune on pipes alone.

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,552
426
The Nat Sherman Sherman Group Holdings was mostly premium cigars and cigarettes. I don't know what Altria paid but, they purchased the entire company I believe (term were not disclosed). Sherman didn't get into pipes and blends until the sixties, he invented the plastic tip cigar (never patent protected by the way), cigarettes which tasted like cigars so customers would have something to smoke on airplanes where cigars were prohibited, manufactured a great many of their cigars and cigarettes in their own facilities. It was/is much more than a store in Manhattan.
I'm betting the family members are indeed well off today. But, it wasn't purchased for the pipes/blends. The cigars, cigarettes, manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania, real estate and, obviously the marque were probably most of the value.
For Altria it was a big step up from Malboro, vaping tools and other stuff. I suspect.

 

oldgeezersmoker

Preferred Member
Oct 7, 2016
1,266
166
Carlo Scotti, the founder of Castello, did very well, though exactly how he was able to get the business started and capitalized two years after WWII (which he spent across the boarder in Switzerland) when Italy was in the ditch politically and economically has never been entirely clear. In fact, it is shrouded in mystery, perhaps intentionally so. I guess you would say Franco Coppo doesn’t count since he married Scotti’s daughter, but I have seen pictures of the relatively large boat he keeps on Lake Cuomo, so he has done all right. Both Scotti and Coppo could have taught Alfred Dunhill a thing or two about pricing. :)

 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
2,245
686
Some of the old time pipe makers who started companies likely got rich but not wealthy. Making pipes isn't what you'd pick for a career if you wanted to retire with millions. Even if you made 5 pipes per week and were a high end guy selling them for $500 each, that's $2,500. Even if $2000 of that were profit, which it's not, you'd make $100K per year. Not a bad living for certain but not rich and certainly not wealthy.
Still, if it's what you love to do and you're good at it, a nice gig if it were to somehow survive all the anti smoking sentiment. Problem with pipe smoking as a career now is it requires smokers for it to work. The future for all that doesn't look promising.

 

danish

Junior Member
Jun 12, 2017
65
12
Yes, some pipe makers became rich according to Pipedia :
Lars Ivarsson's favorite anecdote about Sixten, is this: An American came into the work shop and bought an expensive pipe. He said to Sixten: You must be a rich man. Sixten answered him: I am very rich... and I have a little money too.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,455
1,111
It would be merely an assumption that the anecdote about Sixten would have been in English. There could something lost in translation.

 

donjgiles

Preferred Member
Apr 14, 2018
931
140
Rich with friends, family, having been blessed with things in life other than money, perhaps?

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,455
1,111
Could you not also have a wealth of friends? "Wealthy with friends" sounds just as odd to my ear as "rich with friends."

I know what the quote was getting at, but when you think about it, rich and wealthy are both pretty awkward and interchangeable in the quote.
I would think that successful or enriched or one of many other words could have been better used. But, it's not my quote. :puffy:

 

npod

Preferred Member
Jun 11, 2017
2,843
417
I know of two pipe makers who are very financially secure and well off. Both have followed a similar business model. First, focus on pipe making and brand marketing. Second, establish a solid customer base. Third, diversification. This last one is crucial and it's what any makes business a success. Without naming names, I can say that these makers are well versed in reinvesting their profits, buying in to other revenue streams, branching out to other subsidiaries, producing accessories, and investing and saving in general. One of the makers completely amazes me with his knowledge of the investment world and markets.
Unfortunately, I have also seen great makers fail to achieve basic sustainability.

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,552
426
Neal hits the nail on the head. Reinvest in the company until it is solid. Then look for investments such as land, the markets, for the really risky types, futures. I know of one guy, so successful he is actively trying to lose a fortune. He purchased a Washington D.C. newspaper. That's rich, or ... wealthy ... or ... flush ... set ... pick a word. So, getting rich sometimes equates to, "you don't have to be smart" or even hardworking.