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A Bewlay Pipe Thread With Pictures

(119 posts)
  • Started 3 years ago by owen
  • Latest reply from bluegrassbrian
  1. owen

    owen

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    All are very nice smokers with some lovely grain, and great takes on classic shapes. My collection has various grades and not a fill in site. Some of the stems are hand cut on the higher grade pipes. The Briar cut models are wonderfully light. Others of the high end pipes have plain grain.

    The pipedia page is almost always quoted by sellers stating that the pipes are made by Charatan, Barling and Loewe. There also appears to be a connection with Orlik. None of this matters to me as they are great pipes in their own right.

    I would however welcome input on possible time lines. Bewlay have used a number of different versions of their logo and I have pipes marked MADE IN ENGLAND, LONDON ENGLAND and LONDON MADE, with a variety of fonts etc. There is some great information on the wonderful Reborn Pipes Website.

    Any information would be most welcome.
    Owen

    Posted 3 years ago #
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    One of my nicest ones is a 156 billiard which, it turns out, correlates with nr. 156 on the Orlik shape chart.

    It would be of no little interest to know which (if any) of yours do as well.

    http://chriskeene.com/orlshape2.htm

    (Pictures enlarge when clicked on).

    Posted 3 years ago #
  3. dmcmtk

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    The first one is marked with a shape code 5589, it's pretty obvious who made it.

    The next three are by Orlik (Hallmarks and shape numbers),

    Dave
    Duke Street Irregular
    Posted 3 years ago #
  4. londonmake

    londonmake

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    shhhhhh.......

    Makes me nervous when an obscure brand pipe starts gaining attention. You know why.
    That being said, these are amongst the best brit pipes for the money.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  5. owen

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    Thanks guys

    dmcmtk and billykay can you confirm the country of manufacture on your Orlik and Barling made pipes?
    None of mine correspond with Orlik shape numbers.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  6. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    The first one is marked with a shape code 5589, it's pretty obvious who made it.

    Linkman?

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain

    It is pointless to argue with a fanatic since a dim bulb can't be converted into a searchlight. - Jesse Silver
    Posted 3 years ago #
  7. dmcmtk

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    dmcmtk and billykay can you confirm the country of manufacture on your Orlik and Barling made pipes?
    None of mine correspond with Orlik shape numbers.

    The Barling's made pipe is LONDON ENGLAND. I don't have the hallmarked pipes right in front of me, the bent pipe is LONDON MADE.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  8. misterlowercase

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    I love Bewlay's,
    although I only have three of them.

    Pardon the poor pictures as they were just quick snaps...

    ...the sandblast was a recent find, complete with box & etc, sadly the stem has been bitten through but otherwise it's a very fine example:


    The old tobacco tin was a neat find because they seem to be scarce, oddly it came from Greece, and the sandblast pipe came from Portugal!

    The Briarcut billiard in the trio pic is a 156 as Bill also has --- it's a very fine smoker and I think it's about as perfect as the billiard shape can get, sorta like a baby LB in a way.

    I adore this old jar...

    Posted 3 years ago #
  9. mothernaturewilleatusallforbreakfast

    mothernature

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    Great thread! Thank you.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  10. dmcmtk

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    ...the sandblast was a recent find, complete with box & etc, sadly the stem has been bitten through but otherwise it's a very fine example

    Troy, it looks like a Sasieni, the Renfrew shape.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  11. andy

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    Wonderful information and a great thread. I love the photos, and to think these are on some of the most prestigious streets of London - certainly the golden age of pipes!

    Posted 3 years ago #
  12. owen

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    Mr LC thanks for the contribution, educational as always I really feel that a number of the shapes are real classics,would love to add a few sandblasts as I only have one.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  13. londonmake

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    Here's my latest Bewlay, a Spiral, in a small liverpool shape.

    Should clean up well.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  14. londonmake

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    Thx, billkay.
    They are usually very good pipes.
    The guys in my pipe club say 'Beula'---- like its a weird name for a pipe company.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  15. owen

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    I would love to hear how the spiral smokes. Interesting that Bewlay had a number of patents for pipes going way back. Also I saw a spiral go for £50 here in the UK recently.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  16. londonmake

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    Owen, Billkay
    I remember a Bewlay that went for about 100 US here ----it depends on who is watching the auction, all things being equal.
    But, I'll remove the spiral filter for smoking and maybe use it as a toothpick [ouch].
    Glad to see this whole thread, about time this brand got some attention finally.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  17. owen

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    Yes there is some strange bidding. I've been the only bidder on high end bewlays for £10 and seen bidding go through the roof on other things.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  18. dmcmtk

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    All very true Bill. The Armellini pipes made for The Tinder Box are quite nice.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  19. dmcmtk

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    All very true Bill. The Armellini pipes made for The Tinder Box are quite nice.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  20. owen

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    Its always risky flagging up hidden gems or just letting people know. I'm sure A Passion for Pipes was increasing the demand and cost of Comoy Blue Ribbon pipes while Neil Archer Roan was trying to collect them. Also Sable Brush here has done a lot to stimulate interest in Barlngs.

    It would also appear that some Bewlay pipes were distributed in America as there is some info on pipepages.

    Posted 3 years ago #
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    jensen

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    In the standard quality I have a shape 156 ( in the Bewlay book extra large billiard) and a shape 139
    (medium billiard). The 139 is unsmoked and with a guarante from dec. 1959.Both have,what we here call
    a waternose on the peg which made me think that they are made by Comoy.

    I also have a blasted giant with hand cut mouthpiece.No doubt it is Orlik made.

    I would like to mention that when Michael Billington took over unfinished bowls etc.after the late Mr.
    G.Huybrecht there were a number of Bewlay stamps: Extra, L.M., olde 49, p.1.,Quaint, Special Grain and
    one with only Bewlay.
    Michael Billington is at Blakemar Briars.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  22. owen

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    Jenson, what are the markings on the pipes and also style of the Bewlay logo?
    Owen

    Posted 3 years ago #
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    jensen

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    Billkay, after study in the english/ danish wordbook about substantial I think we agree.
    But what does it matter as long as the pipes are good.

    Jorgen

    Posted 3 years ago #
  24. owen

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    Also I have an R Martin pipe who I believe was at Blakemar Briars.

    Posted 3 years ago #
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    jensen

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    Owen,
    Standard pipes: Bewlay handwritten and under Standard in block.Other side London Made in block and under the
    number,both very small.
    I now see that the 139 is also stamped Henley in the wood where the mouthpiece joins,also very small.Funny,
    I have another pipe stamped Henley and only Henley somewhere.
    Giant Bewlay handwritten ( looks like the standards).London made in block and 010X still small but bigger than the
    standards.
    B on all three mouthpieces are like the one on your apple.
    I hope I did a proper story with this.

    Yes,Richard Martin is Michaels uncle. Michael have 2 or 3 times made me a pipe with his uncles stamps when I asked for it.

    Jorgen

    Posted 3 years ago #
  26. simong

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    Richard Martin 'was' mikes uncle. I believe he passed away some years ago I'm afraid to say. He used to make pipes for Douglas bader, the spitfire ace with tin legs. His favourite pipe was a small smooth Apple.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  27. owen

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    Wow thanks guys,
    Jorgen that is great information, how does the letter Y of the Bewlay stamp look? Does it curl over or go back under the word on the 1959 pipe?
    SimonG love the Douglas Bader connection.

    Posted 3 years ago #
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    jensen

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    Oh, it over midnight but I could take one more fill.

    On all 3 pipes if you draw a straight linie under the letters some of the Y will be under that linie.
    Understandable ?

    Posted 3 years ago #
  29. owen

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    Thanks Jorgen. That helps a great deal.
    Owen

    Posted 3 years ago #
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    marvich

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    I suspected that the recent flurry of unusually high bids on Bewlay Spirals might have caught the attention of the forums. My curiosity led me to this thread, and prompts this first post. I'll confess to having bid much higher than usual on a several of them, including the liverpool posted here, which I rather coveted. Also I'm putting the finishing touches on an article on these pipes and wanted to photograph its oval made in England stamp, and bumped it up a bit. Lovely pipe, and still a bargain price.

    dmcmtk is spot on.The Bewlay Spiral Patents were Sasieni's One Dot seconds, made between 1920-23. When I began accumulating them 7-8 years ago they were often overlooked. I have a dozen in my collection, along with several earlier family-era Bewlay's. I really need to stop buying them, and just finish writing my story.

    Also for Owen - the Sasieni made Spirals all had the long-tailed y. The re-issued Spirals produced for the Imperial Tobacco Co. had the more common closed loop.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  31. misterlowercase

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    Welcome marvich!

    Thanks for posting.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  32. owen

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    Thanks Marvich, a very generous sharing of highly useful information.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  33. londonmake

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    BTW, when I took a closer look at the Bewlay small liverpool Spiral [see my pic from a month ago], I discovered a COM stamp that is used on Sasieni pipes. The football "made in england". Then I realized it was the same shape and number as the Sasinei Lancashire...

    yet another manufacturer for Bewlay.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  34. owen

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    Londonmake I assumed that you knew. I noticed the pictures on pipephil site. You have a really nice pipe there and another piece of the puzzle falls into place. I notice Mr Lowercase's sandblast has it also.

    Posted 3 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    One of their nicer ones -- an Orlik 156 "Special" billiard

    Posted 3 years ago #
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    marvich

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    Actually, it was the page from the Sasieni catalog posted by dmcmtk that made me decide it was time to spill the beans. My apologies londonmake for costing you a few bucks. I wasn't sure if you knew or not.

    I haven't figured out how to embed photos yet. These will follow soon, hopefully. Here's first part the rough draft:

    REVISITING THE DOTS
    SASIENI'S First "Seconds"
    The BEWLAY SPIRAL Patent

    I was just fishing for bargains on old wood when I spotted my first Bewlay Spiral. The birdseye on the pipe caught my eye, but it was the early British patent number that really drew my interest. As luck would have it, the winning feature proved to be its chewed-up stem, since no one else was the least bit interested. Not in a project Bewlay. The reputation of their pipes isn't what it used to be.
    I knew right out of the box that I'd landed something special. Once I shortened and recut the stem, the little billiard would look a treat. Badly needed cleaning though. As I began working on the worst of it, a collar of grime in the hollow where the shank meets the bowl, I discovered some additional nomenclature hidden underneath: a small football-shaped Made In England stamp.My bottom fishing had dredged up a pretty good mystery, apparently. What was Sasieni's signature country of origin stamp doing on an early 1920's Bewlay pipe?
    As it turned out of course, I was the one who actually got hooked. The usual pipe websites were no help at all, and relying solely upon the scant entry on Pipedia, most online pipe merchants routinely tout their Bewlay offerings as having been made by Barling, Charatan, and Loewe.* Yet I was convinced the Bewlay Spiral I'd landed was a very early Sasieni. I was a novice collector though, and unsure if the nomenclature was truly definitive. The football-shaped stamp had been placed in a very odd location however, tucked down on the lower quadrant of the shank, and unusually close to the bowl. This was unique to Sasieni as far as I could determine.
    But I was dogged by the feeling that I must have missed something. Why hadn't anyone else bid on the pipe? Even taking into account the minor damage, the five dollars I paid for it seemed suspiciously cheap for 1920's Sasieni. I needed to see more examples, and kept my eye open.

    PHOTO - Cased S510

    Bewlay Spirals are relatively rare pipes and only two or three per year will typically appear in online auctions. Somewhat less upon close inspection, as one of these will occassionally prove to be a reproduction, made for the Imperial Tobacco Company as part of their promotion of the brand in the early 1960's.* As a result, this collection has taken seven or eight years to put together. Some acquisitions provided valuable new clues. Others simply rekindled my interest and led the research further afield. I searched the archives on genealogical websites, the databases of digitized newspapers and trade journals. Poured over scores of census documents. From all these sources a coherent story has gradually emerged which goes well beyond my initial suspicion that these Spiral pipes were made by Sasieni. I am now convinced that Bewlay & Co. played a far more crucial role than simply being an early customer for his pipes. They provided the financial backing, business acumen, and worldwide distribution network that Joel Sasieni needed in order to make his start.
    Understanding how this came about requires some historical perspective however, as the evidence of their alliance is largely circumstantial. Before getting into the details, have a look at the hard evidence. These are the pipes that earned the Bewlay brand its widely-held reputation.

    PHOTOS - PAT. APPLIED FOR

    The nomenclature on this pre-patent Spiral dates the initial production to between Sept. 10, 1920 (when the patent application was filed) and Aug. 4, 1921 (when the Patent No. 167103 was published). The script Bewlay signature with a long-tailed fancy y with SPIRAL underneath is consistent throughout. This prototype lacks the usual shape and patent numbers which appear later and is simply marked LONDON ENGLAND over PAT APPLIED FOR. I suspect that relatively few of these were made as I have not seen another.

    PHOTOS - S39 and S265

    The simplicity of the nomenclature on this pair suggests that they were early production and intended for sale exclusively in Bewlay's London shops. Both lack any origin stamp whatsoever. On the right side of the shank is the stamping PATENT over No.167103, with the shape numbers consigned to the bottom of the shank. The longer billiard has the additional stamp EXTRA, although both pipes are flawless. The exaggerated inward-sloping rims which Sasieni gave to many of his earliest One Dots is also in evidence here.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  37. owen

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    Marvich that is excellent stuff one of the things I most enjoy about the hobby is the effort people like you put in. Owen

    Posted 3 years ago #
  38. owen

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    DMCMTK has previously noted a likeness between a Bewlay I commented on in another thread, a Briarcut, commenting on shape and rustication likenesses. Clearly he has a good eye.

    Posted 3 years ago #
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    marvich

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    DR quality straight grain on this pre-patent. See if the photos work.

    Posted 3 years ago #
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    marvich

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    The Spiral Extra S265 photo is the full length one.

    Posted 3 years ago #
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    jensen

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    marvich, I enjoy it - and thank you for bringing business into the story which is often overlooked.More of that if you are able to.
    A little from " Tobacco Leaves" by Bewlay - year not mentioned but we have a briar specialitè, bent or straight at 5/6 and in real amber 10/6.

    "What is the matter, my dear Count ? Do you usually smoke two cigars at once?"
    "The fact is,my dear boy,I generally smoke sixpenny cigars,and as I can only get threepennies in this miserable place, I am compelled to smoke two at a time."

    Posted 3 years ago #
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    marvich

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    Here's the rest of the intro photos. * marks notes (unfinished)

    PHOTOS - S258 Prince, S160 Large Bent, S169 Small Bent


    The stampings on this small prince and pair of bents are representative of the rest of the collection, with LONDON MADE now appearing on the right side of the shank, with the shape number underneath, and the patent numbers moving to the underside of the shank.

    PHOTOS - S151



    This unsmoked small pot has the full suite of nomenclature, including Sasieni's oval-shaped MADE IN ENGLAND logo, and is the only example I've added to the collection which has stampings identical to my initial find. The absence of this iconic stamp on subsequent acquisitions had caused considerable head-scratching at the time, although there was a simple explanation for the early Bewlay Spirals not having it. Most of them were made between 1921 and 1923, before this tooling came into use. The consensus in the literature dates its first appearance to 1924, which seems reasonable here, as l suspect production of the Spiral Patents had begun to wind down by then.*
    The shape #151 on this pipe has provided rather convincing corroboration. As of this writing I have found matching numbers on four similarly-shaped Sasieni One Dot Rustics (two marked 151 XL, one 151X, and another simply 151) as well as one smooth - a Sasieni Specially Selected 151 OL - which looked virtually identical. Similarly, I have found a match apiece for the Spiral billiards #S39 and #S510.

    BEWLAY & Co. - Early Family Era

    Bewlay & Co. was the retail business of the Elkan family, who were cigar merchants in the Netherlands and Northern Germany prior to setting up shop in England. Several family-era documents date their arrival to 1778, and the launch of their first London store in 1780 at 49 W. Strand, offering top quality hand rolled cigars. In common with most cigar traders on the Continent, the Elkans were Ashkenazi Jews, and faced barriers to entry into the British tobacco market, both financial and otherwise. Given the timing of the move, the American Revolutionary War might have provided them with an opening, as the disruption of tobacco shipments from Virgina led to a serious shortage in England.
    Cigars were still something of a novelty in the UK at the time. The firm prospered and remained under the control of successive generations of the Elkan family for more than 150 years, until 1937, when it was sold to the Imperial Tobacco Company.* Bewlay was operating thirteen high-end stores at the time, all of them in prime London locations.

    Isaac Elkan(1825-1874) was the earliest to surface in my research, mentioned in connection with the opening of Bewlay's second retail shop at 143 Cheapside, London, in 1846. He appears to have played a leading role in moving the company into wholesale manufacturing, as the new premises included a sizable cigar factory.* Two of his sons, Alexander (1849-1924) and Baron (1860-1928), would eventually assume senior management positions in the firm as well. Both figure prominently here, as they were serving on the Board of Directors of Bewlay & Co. when the Spiral Patents were made.

    Following Isaac Elkan's death in 1874, Bewlay & Co. briefly entered bankruptcy while family members with vested interests restructured the firm. The wholesale cigar importing and tobacco brokerage side of the business was split off as Elkan, Nathan & Elkan.* Samuel Elkan and Charles Elkan received mention in this regard, and again in 1875, when additional cigar factories were opened at 69 Aldersgate and 286 City Road.

    These had been appropriately sited in London's crowded East End, abutting the district of Whitechapel, which was home to the majority of the city's Jews, and virtually all the recently arrived Jewish immigrants who made up their workforce. The venues simply had to be within easy walking distance, as many cigar makers would arrive with children in tow. When these new Bewlay factories began hiring workers, the Sasieni brothers surely heard news of it. They were living less than half a mile away.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  44. dmcmtk

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    When these new Bewlay factories began hiring workers, the Sasieni brothers surely heard news of it. They were living less than half a mile away.

    Sasieni brothers, Joel and...? One of the most informative comments (#13) from Stephen P. Smith's Connecting the Dots,

    https://murderofravens.org/my-sasieni-pipe-article/

    Joel Sasieni was my great-grandfather. The confusion about his name might come from a Jewish family tradition that each child had a Hebrew/biblical first name and an Anglicized middle name which they were usually known by. So Joseph Joel Sasieni was the father of Abraham Alfred Sasieni (my grandfather).

    Great looking pipes by the way!

    Posted 3 years ago #
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    marvich

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    Glad you've continued following the thread dmcmtk. All will become clear shortly. I've consulted Steve Smith's article often, but had forgotten he was Alfred's son. Here's the link to the Census documents:

    [url=http://sassienie.com/Archives.html][/url]

    Posted 3 years ago #
  46. dmcmtk

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    Interesting, just looked quickly, but found,

    1911 Census Household Record

    Joel Sasieni
    Relationship to Head of Household

    Head

    Age

    27

    Estimated Year of Birth

    1884

    Occupation

    Briar Pipe Maker


    http://sassienie.com/Archives/sasieni1911p5.htm

    any of the other records that caught your eye?

    Posted 3 years ago #
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    marvich

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    The link doesn't work. The address is right. Hmm....

    Here's the next bit.

    SASIENI BROTHERS - Cigar Making Era

    Joel Sasieni came from a family of cigar makers. His father and all three of his uncles spent most of their working lives in London's cigar factories. Numerous cousins and all five of his sisters put in long stints as well. Although I have been unable to prove this, my guess is that the Sasieni brothers began rolling cigars for Bewlay & Co. long before young Joel began carving briars for them.

    Their recorded history originates with Woolf Jacob Sasieni (1799-1866), Joel's grandfather, who arrived in London with his wife and four sons as economic migrants from a lingering recession in the Netherlands. They were working-class Ashkenazi Jews and urban dwellers, born and raised in the designated Jewish section in the slums of Amsterdam. In the 1851 Dutch census prior to their departure, the Sasieni family patriarch listed his occupation as a porter. His wife Dinah as a servant. They arrived as paupers.*

    Their eldest son Jacob (1826-1889) led the way, landing in London in 1852. Already a journeyman, he likely arrived to an assured job, arranged through adverts being posted in Amsterdam seeking experienced cigar makers. His brothers Levi (1831-1888) and Moses (1832-1922) followed in succession as employment in London's cigar factories was obtained for them as well. By early 1855 the brothers had secured suitable housing, arranged passage for their parents and remaining brother Solomon, and reunited the family in England. The youngest of the four, Solomon Sasieni(1839-1902) would become Joel's father but not until 1883, when he was the ninth of eleven children.

    The British cigar industry was in its infancy when the family arrived and still having growing pains, with most of the suffering being endured by their workforce. Periodic gluts in the market could cause wages to be cut in half. Or factories would run out of tobacco and remain shuttered for weeks, if persistent heavy weather in the North Atlantic prevented sailing ships from venturing out to sea. Cigar smoking had become increasingly widespread however, so more often than not it was repetitive work from dawn to dusk. Rolling commercial quality cigars required a well-skilled hand, but in common with other forms of manual labor, it paid very little in Dickensian London. The family remained mired in poverty well into the next generation.

    Census documents confirm that the Sasieni brothers were still employed as cigar makers in 1871. All four had married and begun raising their families within a few blocks of each other in separate tenements in Whitechapel, centered around the Tenter Ground, which had a long history of accommodating migrants.* The family had likely sought shelter inside its walls when they first arrived. It had already become an enclave of immigrants from the Netherlands by the 1850's, and gained notoriety as the only place in London where Dutch could be heard spoken openly in the streets. Many of its denizens were fellow cigar makers, and they looked out for each other.

    Brothers Moses and Solomon Sasieni were occupying adjoining tenements on Freeman Street, right in the middle of the Tenter Ground. Solomon in particular must have felt right at home, and would continue to live in the same tenement at 18 Freeman Street for the rest of his life. His son Joel was most likely born under its roof, and spent his childhood on the cul-de-sac Tenter Ground streets, which were no doubt safer than the mean streets of Whitechapel. None carried through traffic, so they often served as a playground and were usually mobbed with children from the tightly-packed tenements. When Joel began his apprenticeship as a briar pipe maker, he had an easy walk to work. Frederick Charatan's workshop on Prescot Street was just outside the southern wall of the Tenter Ground.

    Jacob had been the first of the Sasieni brothers to start a family, and four of his children had reached working age and already begun making cigars when the 1881 Census was taken. Siblings from the other three branches of the family would soon follow suit. The naming practices of the Dutch Jews made keeping track of any specific individual rather daunting. Jacob's son Woolf, for example, was among these early apprentices from the next generation. The trouble was, all four brothers had named one of their sons Woolf, after their father. As a result, Joel Sasieni ended up with three cousins and a brother all of whom were named Woolf. Also two cousins and a sister named Dinah. Their tradition of honorific naming wasn't confined to just their parents either. The Sasieni brothers had also named children after each other.
    Adding further confusion were a variety of misspelled names, carelessly entered into the record by immigration officials which then stuck, leaving the family saddled with an array of similar surnames. These included Sasiene, Sassienie, Sasienie, and Sassieni, which all pronounce the same. Search engines had trouble coping with this, as did I, and couldn't connect any of these names with Bewlay, or any other cigar firm for that matter. In common with most other immigrants in Whitechapel, who also labored in obscurity, the Sasieni brothers never made the pages of the London Gazette.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  48. dmcmtk

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    The last paragraph sums up some of the difficulties with this type of research very well!

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    I've studied every document on the site actually, searching in vain for anyone in the family that might have been in a position to help him financially. Check out the 1891 original document for the Solomon Sasieni household, which is way down near the bottom, and includes his photograph. Lot of folks in that tenement. Each had a frontage of just 15 feet.

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    hi marvich,

    a great story, and well told. i look forward to the rest.

    a few quick remarks. my notes on bewlay are a bit scattered, but there are a few pieces of the puzzle i can contribute.

    first, the elkan family didn't found bewlay's, not even remotely. they bought it either directly from thomas bewlay, or possibly from william cavander and john hodgson, the executors who were named in bewlay's will to manage his estate on behalf of his surviving children. both men were in the same trade as bewlay: cavander was a tobacconist and hodgson a tobacco broker. anyway it is this thomas bewlay for whom the business was named. from about the 1890s onward the company claimed that it had been established in 1780. this might just possibly have been true, but only in the narrow sense that a predecessor business might have dated from that time. foundation dating is notoriously tricky since businesses routinely lied about how old they were, especially in the tobacco and pipe industries.

    in this particular case thomas bewlay was born some fourteen years after the business was supposed to have been started (he lived from 1794-1852), and in any case he was from york; his father (another thomas) was a tobacconist too, but never left the north of england. from what I can gather thomas junior migrated to London in the 1810s; certainly the first directory that mentions him which I have found is dated 1819. at that time he was operating as a tobacconist at 49, strand, the same address the business was to stay at for generations thereafter.

    the 1808 and 1811 directories show no listings for a bewlay or any variant. on the other hand a search for a predecessor business using the same address as the key is fruitful. the 1808 directory shows a john ronson, tobacconist, at 49, strand. a few years later in 1811 he's taken on a partner, still at the same address, and the business is called ronson and barrow; they were listed as tobacco and snuff manufacturers. while i have no information for the years between 1811 and 1819, it seems logical to me to assume that sometime in that brief period thomas bewlay came to london and bought the business from ronson and/or barrow, or from their heirs.

    as for the transition after bewlay, isaac elkan is said to have bought it from him about 1840; i say “is said” because while this date is frequently given decades later in the tobacco trade press, isaac would have been about 15-18 years old at the time (depending on which data source you believe). that suggests to me, at least, that the 1840 date might well be a few years early. another factor is that isaac is said to have been a name partner in a cigar merchant firm, elkan, nathan & newman, before buying and dedicating himself to bewlay; this too suggests to me that he was probably not a teenager when he got control of bewlay. regardless, what is clear is that for nearly a century his family maintained control of the company. it wasn't until 1937, in the days of isaac's grandson, albert ("bertie") bessie, that the business was finally sold. at the time public statements attributed the sale to a lack of successors within the family. the acquirer, by the way, was not actually imperial, but one of imperial's subs, salmon & gluckstein.

    i have more on both the company's history and on the pipe side of the subject, but i'd need to root around to find it. here are two quick snippets, however. first, several members of the bessie family were active in the industry; of great interest, I think, is the fact that one of bertie bessie's brothers, john, was a director of loewe. it's easy to see how the incestuous nature of the pipe industry would have facilitated bewlay's access to pipes to sell under its brand.

    second, the spiral was produced at least up until the elkans sold the business; i've seen ads dated 1937.

    regards,
    jon

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    jguss

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    one other bit of information i found in one of my files. there are gazette notices showing that thomas bewlay had entered bankruptcy in the spring of 1863 (at that time the business was owned by richard greenhill, and had been for at least a few years); and there is another notice in the fall of 1864 showing that the partnership between isaac elkan and two colleagues was dissolved (the partnership was formed to manufacture cigars and tobacco). this strongly suggests to me that the timing of isaac elkan's purchase of bewlay might well have been a generation later than generally believed.

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    Thanks for your kind remarks Mr.Guss. As a rank amateur historian I'm rather humbled of course, and rightly so, because I want to get it right. As a decent storyteller I couldn't resist trying to start at the beginning. But what a muddle.

    I'm also pleased that you're interested in the story.

    Most of what I have left is still in fragments.

    Bewlay's sold a couple large shipments of cased, and likely assembled English briars at Macy's NYC store in 1911. The only high-grades from England that I'm aware of that sold earlier were Barlings, made for sale in J. Surbrug's NYC store. Do you know of any others?

    Here's another bit:

    Alexander Elkan was among several siblings who had been dispatched overseas after the end of the U.S. Civil War with the likely aim of gaining a foothold for the family business in the American cigar market, which looked increasingly promising. The 1881 U.S. Census shows him residing on the island of Manhattan in New York City with his wife and five young daughters, all of whom were U.S. citizens, having been born in the borough during the 1870's.
    In 1908 he negotiated the merger of the family's wholesale business with John Hunter Wiltshire & Co., a publicly-traded and highly regarded British firm, with the combined company taking the name John Hunter, Morris and Elkan Ltd. In addition to taking a seat on the Board of Directors of the new firm, Alexander Elkan was able to bring in his son-in-law Lawrance Stanley Phillips as its managing director, a position he would hold into the mid-1950's. Turns out he had cigar bloodlines of his own. His father Samuel Aaron Phillips was the proprietor of Carlin's of Pall Mall. After giving his daughter Blanche Maude Elkan's hand in marriage, Alexander Elkan became a director of that firm as well.

    Hunter's cigar portfolio included several premium Cuban brands which were widely distributed in United States. As a result of the merger, Bewlay's gained access to the American market for their own brands, which now included a range of Indian and Burmah cigars and cheroots, which they had begun manufacturing in the Colonies. More relevant to our story however, several shipments of their Flor de Dingudil cigars would soon be accompanied by a few crates of Bewlay's briar pipes.

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  53. londonmake

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    This Bewlay thread is one of the best reasons to come to this forum!
    Kudos for all the rare information marvich/jguss!!!

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  54. londonmake

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    btw, That beautiful small pot must surely be the Sasieni shape "Smallgate". The saddle version was called "Wingate".

    Here is my latest Bewlay. I wonder who made it?

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    marvich

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    Lovely addition to the thread londonmake, thanks for posting it. We're in agreement on Smallgate.

    I've determined that Albert Bessie was one of Alexander Elkan's nephews, from his sister Rachel. There's certainly a spot for him in the story. One of the reasons I suspected production of the spirals had wound down by 1924 was Alexander Elkan's death that same year, and the possibility that Joel Sasieni had struck a deal with him alone. So at the very least Bertie Bessie's involvement adds continuity.

    Here's a photo of the Shepard Street Arch, the only street entrance into the Tenter Ground. It was located on the northeast corner, with only a narrow pedestrian passageway available on the south side.

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    please, call me jon.

    as for being an amateur, i think that term pretty much applies to almost all of us toiling in the field of briar pipe and pipe tobacco history. we lack a string of relevant degrees after our names, but perhaps compensate with enthusiasm.

    as for the history of the export of english brands to america, that's something I've never really looked into. I can tell you though that i've seen ads in american newspapers offering comoys, petersons and bbbs from as early as 1906.

    as for bertie bessie's involvement at bewlay, it began about 1891 when he was 16 years old, and continued at least until the sale of the business to salmon & gluckstein in 1937. at that time Bessie had been director of bewlay's for about eight years, acting as successor to his uncle baron elkan (who for the record died april 8 1928). by the way, being somewhat pipe-centric we tend to think of bewlay in terms of pipes, but I suspect their cigar business was paramount, and certainly shows up more often in advertisements and in the way key family members describe themselves in censuses etc.

    i do want to take the opportunity to say that i think your general approach is spot-on. it's grounded in a search for documentary evidence, and an emphasis on contemporary materials. if i were to add any recommendation it would be to preserve the greatest possible degree of skepticism about literally every fact you find. in my experience the world is full of error, lies and half-truths (if that sounds reminiscent of gregory house, that's no accident). i try to remember to disbelieve everything i see until i can verify it from at least one independent source. and where conflicts arise between pieces of data i try to weigh where truth lies by taking into account the relevant circumstances, exercising my judgment, and disclosing the process in my writing. that way future readers (if any!) can reach their own conclusions, or in fanatical cases retrace my steps and perhaps create a different narrative.

    having said all that, most of what i posted previously is sideshow. the background of bewlay provides valuable context, but is ultimately tangential to what i gather will be the thrust of your article: a set of interrelated hypotheses about the existence and nature of a relationship between bewlay and sasieni.

    in considering the issue i've been trying to intuit where, if anywhere, evidence might exist to support your theory. clearly an examination of pipes as artifacts (particularly their nomenclature) provides clues as to their manufacture; definitive, no, highly suggestive, for sure.

    what's intriguing is your additional view that the timing of manufacture might suggest a link between customer and vendor that is more than simply transactional. proving this link i imagine will be problematic.

    the best case would be finding a "smoking gun", i.e. something that shows a monetary link between the companies or individuals concerned. at this late date the only places i can think where this might exist would be wills (thomas bewlay's will, for example, cites a debt owed to him by his father, and specifies how his executors are to treat it in settlement of the estate); corporate records (assuming any are extant); or something held onto or remembered by descendants of either family. i view all of these as longshots, but worth poking into if you have the time and inclination. perhaps the best of the three might be the last. it requires a bit of research to find them, and a degree of nerve to cold call them, but the rewards can be great.

    second-best evidence will be inferential. personally i don't think it's enough to say that the elkans and sasienis were both jews who lived in london. the same can be said for any number of people. moreover the prevalence of jews in the pipe and tobacco trade, notwithstanding the social bias you mention with which they had to contend, was significant: sobranie (the weinbergs and the redstones), charatan, the oppenheimers, adler, loewe, frankau, marcovitch, salmon, gluckstein, orlik, and weingott were just some of those who established successful businesses in or near london. it would be helpful to have a real indication of a link between these two families.

    i think i'd look for something a step nearer. intermarriage between the two families, for example, or the existence of a third family with which both were related. or once again, if corporate records survive, something that shows that one or more sasieni was an employee of elkan. or perhaps a common address, membership in a common club (many jews in this industry and at this time were masons, and generally at the same lodge), or attendance at a common synagogue.

    i will say the general idea has at least one precedent. sobranie got a leg up in just this way. the story is lengthy, but the gist is that the founders of sobranie (albert weinberg and his young relatives isaiah and david redstone) received significant orders and at a crucial time temporary financing from the owners of robert lewis.

    best,
    jon

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    marvich

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    "Made by Barling, Charatan and Loewe...?""Formerly Salmon and Gluckstein...?" As you've just told me Jon- it's all LIES!
    What follows is my distillation of a report issued by the UK's Competition Commission following their inquiry into the tobacco industry, which includes an entire chapter on the Imperial Tobacco Co.

    APPENDIX

    HOUSE OF BEWLAY - The Imperial Tobacco Era

    When the Elkan family decided to sell their retail business in 1937 the buyer was purported to be Salmon & Gluckstein, a mass market tobacconist with more than 150 outlets. The attribution was rather misleading however, perhaps intentionally. The Imperial Tobacco Company had positioned itself as a producer of tobacco products, not a retailer. Perhaps wary of potential inquiries into monopolistic pricing practices in the industry, such as those eventually undertaken by the UK's Competition Commission, the ITC was averse to drawing attention to its increasing number of retail holdings. When they acquired the profitable retail tobacconist Finlay & Co. in 1927 for example, the purchase was never disclosed to the public at all.*
    The ITC had acquired a controlling interest in Salmon & Gluckstein in 1902, thirty-five years earlier. Reining in their aggressive discount pricing practices was a factor. Curbing their future growth was another. The primary driver however appears to have been panic. The purchase of the British tobacco firm Ogden's in 1901 by the American Tobacco Company was regarded as a hostile incursion, and many smaller family-owned British tobacco firms suddenly felt under threat. When rumors began to circulate that Salmon and Gluckstein was also mulling a sale to the Americans, the spectre of a price war became a distinct possibility given the sheer size of the firm. Thirteen British tobacco firms decided their best option was to pool their resources, incorporate as the Imperial Tobacco Company, and buy them out.
    Their fears proved unwarranted however. Parties on both sides of the Atlantic soon realized that cooperation - and eventually collusion - would prove more profitable than cutthroat competion, and incorporated the British American Tobacco Company in 1902 with this aim in mind.
    With the threat of a price war no longer an imperative, the ITC came to regret their purchase of S&G as they had paid more than the firm than it was worth. Many of their outlets were shopworn and barely profitable. The company had begun manufacturing in a small way, but their factories were operating at only 25% of capacity since most their products had not proved popular. The brand was already in decline, a trend which would continue. The lone exception was a subsidiary of the firm producing briar pipes, turning the bowls on the Continent, then mounting and hallmarking them in England. This asset was promptly stripped from S&G and added to the ITC's fancy goods division, from where it would eventually emerge as the Civic Pipe Company.
    By the time the ITC acquired Bewlay, the management of S&G had already been marginalized for more than two decades, and likely had no input. Bewlay & Co. was a feather in the cap of the Imperial Tobacco Company, they claimed. But the feeling only for a few years, as the Second World War proved particularly hard on the firm. Bewlay's stores occupied very expensive sites, and they had precious little to sell after an embargo was placed upon the importation of cigars in 1940, when hostilities in the North Atlantic curtailed commercial shipping. England needed to devote all of its foreign currency reserves to the war effort, and since economic recovery was slow following the war, the ban on imports remained in force until 1953, when the UK had finally regained some financial footing.
    The lifting of the embargo provided an incentive for the Imperial Tobacco Company to reinvigorate its moribund retail chain. Bewlay & Co. was effectively bankrupt after years of subsidies from the ITC in order to stay afloat, and was "wound up". Then, the ITC simply changed the name of Salmon & Gluckstein to Bewlay Tobacconists Ltd. which allowed them to take full advantage of Bewlay's superior reputation. After one of S&G's numerous outlets was renovated and given new signage, it would reopen as a franchise of the "House of Bewlay".
    I searched using this term at some point and discovered that UK Trademark #721289 was issued for the House of Bewlay's lion/shield logo in late 1953. Rather surprisingly, the application had been filed by the CEO of Finlay & Co.
    The Bewlay Spiral pipes re-issued by the Imperial Tobacco Co. were not made in quantity. As for the date, some ephemera that recently sold online included a House of Bewlay pipe box with a sales receipt for a Spiral dated 1961. I suspect the flimsy aluminum slip might have seemed a bit crude and silly to buyers by then. Yet the fact that these pipes were produced at all suggests that senior, and perhaps nostalgic management at the ITC held the original Spiral Patents in high regard.
    Included with their purchase the ITC inherited Bewlay's intellectual property, e.g. their shape chart, which they continued to use. As a result, the re-issues have matching numbers, although those I have seen lack the S prefix. The ITC did not acquire rights to the patent however, since Bewlay's didn't own it. As a result, neither the word PATENT or number 167103 appear on these pipes.

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    marvich

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    Although Bewlay's wasn't the earliest English firm to export their briar pipes to the U.S., they appear to have been the first to realize the marketing potential of America's new big box stores. The advertisement which appeared in NYC's The Sun on May 10, 1911 ran one time only. Advertising wasn't necessary. In 1911 Macy's was the world's largest retail store, and the spacious Herald Square shopping plaza filled daily with throngs of shoppers. A scanned copy of Macy's 1911 cataIog is accessible online, and their pipe offerings covered two full pages. Only one page was briars, mostly French, but none from England.
    So it caught my attention when I discovered that the launch of Sasieni pipes in the U.S. occurred in exactly the same fashion, only this time across the street at Saks & Co. The advertisement for this sale appeared in the NY Tribune on 25 September, 1922 . I realize this date will surprise some folks.

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    marvich

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    Not exactly the smoking gun we're looking for Jon. Still a significant clue I think.

    This pipe has the potential to be one though. It has Chester hallmarks for 1911. Bewlay registered their B&Co sponsors mark for a number of silversmiths. Confirmation that a James George Newbold was among them would certainly help. He's listed on the web as a "pipe mount manufacturer". I haven't found a way to gain access to assay office records.

    Bertie Bessie might have a hand in this. A presentation pipe, perhaps, that Joel could pass out after the birth of his son Alfred, who was born April 1912.



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    marvich

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    Took more photos yesterday. Here's the MIE logo on the Spiral S51

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  61. londonmake

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    Thanks Marvich/Jon for further enlightening us on the Bewlay history. Kudos!

    Still, some part of my brain thinks there is much smoke and mirrors to the legend and history of these old british pipe firms, delightful as the information is.
    Despite that doubt, I'm convinced it adds value and interest to our hobby!

    For instance, nothing here has made me think that to believe Barling, Charatan, Loewe and now, Sasieni, weren't regular suppliers for Bewlay is wrong or incorrect.

    And, the fascinating evidence that these firms knew and watched [or married?] each other closely also leads to the conclusion [from the pipes themselves] they openly collaborated with each other to expand their brands by supplying pipes to shops that sold only tobacco, as a normal course of trade. Old news perhaps but it deserves repeating.

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    marvich

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    You're missing the point londonmake. We're trying to solve a mystery - an even harder one than most Sherlock Holmes stories - and finding the culprit requires some detective work. There's a confusing cast of characters and the plot gets rather thick. They're not for everyone.

    Just because something gets repeated often enough doesn't make it true. Bewlay's sold pipes made by many different makers. In retailing you're only as good as your last deal. I took note of the more interesting examples which sold online:

    Lone example of B&Co stamped on the shank of a briar pipe: a Barling's mounted billiard EB WB from 1894.

    Earliest appearance of the script Bewlay nomenclature with a closed loop y: a Susskind Bros. mounted liverpool J.S over S.S with London hallmarks for 1896.

    A Bewlay stamped Straight Grain: a high-grade bulldog by Comoy's HC with London marks for 1900 and a Bewlay's Patent with Comoy's marks from 1909.

    A Louis Orlik military mount from 1916.

    The mystery that interests us here are the family-era Bewlay pipes made before 1937, many of which were hallmarked with only the B&Co sponsor's mark.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  63. owen

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    Marvich, so much good stuff, do some of the Spirals have fills?

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  64. dmcmtk

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    Troy, in the series of 1939 pictures the HRH actually appears to be a One Dot. Someone at Sasieni didn't proofread that catalog well enough!

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  65. misterlowercase

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    Troy, in the series of 1939 pictures the HRH actually appears to be a One Dot. Someone at Sasieni didn't proofread that catalog well enough!

    Probably an error on the tobacconist's part, I forget exactly whom put out the catalog off the top of my head, but it also illustrates an issue that Jon has brought up, namely that sometimes in the case of advertising or catalogs, old images can be utilized, and that appears to be the case here, were they still making one-dots in 1939?

    In any event, caution and skepticism is a prerequisite for serious research, and before any definitive claims are made, it's always a good idea to list "possible alternatives" in conjunction with one's theories, just to try and cover all the bases, as it were.

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    marvich

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    Only one has what I'd call a visible fill, Owen - the large bent, which I purchased from Canada. Might have been one of the later exports. Bewlay's patented these pipes in Canada, but I've yet to see the CA# on a pipe. The first three I posted plus a Canadian are the only ones with completely clean briar. The rest have one or two pinpoint fills that take awhile to find.
    Here's a few adverts. This one from 1909 seems to imply that the company has their own pipe maker, always on call as it were. Wonder who?

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    marvich

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    Looking through my notes, I discovered a reminder I'd left to myself long ago - Check WMTP for Hunter, Morris & Elkan, it says. Anybody have a copy of Wilczak and Colville's book? (I've never had any interest in collecting paper.)

    Just might be something...

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  68. misterlowercase

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    This is one of the coolest looking Bewlay pipes that I've ever seen,
    it was made by Barling:
    http://shuzed.blog104.fc2.com/blog-entry-197.html

    :

    A Comoy-made Bewlay;

    :

    A Bewlay's walking stick circa 1892:

    As found here:
    http://www.anti-q.jp/annexe/canemania.html

    :

    That 1890's price list seen earlier in this thread is in the holdings of Historic New England/Otis House in Boston Mass. as part of the ephemera collection. I wonder if viewings are available? Anybody here in Boston?
    See here:
    http://www.historicnewengland.org/collections-archives-exhibitions/collections-access/collection-object/capobject?refd=EP001.12.016.042

    :

    The only English patent filing that I could find for Bewlay is GB189386 from 1922:
    http://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/originalDocument?CC=GB&NR=189386A&KC=A&FT=D&ND=3&date=19221130&DB=EPODOC&locale=en_EP

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  69. londonmake

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    Here is another Bewlay Spiral, a prince.

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    Continuing the story...

    Having no luck at the cigar factories, I tried Sandys Row Synagogue, another venue where the two families might have forged a lasting relationship. Its founders were a group of fifty families of Dutch Jews from the Tenter Ground, who were determined to establish a synagogue of their own in London's East End. The participation of the Sasieni family seemed likely. I tried a few searches using the various spellings, and actually found something: a newsletter from the London Chorale Society dated 1875, which announced that a Moses Sassieni of 16 Freeman Street had applied for a paid position as a tenor in the choir of Sandys Row Synagogue, of which he was already a member, at the stipend of five pounds per annum.

    The synagogue formally opened to the public in 1880, and its doors haven't closed since. I visited their website, which has a database of marriaige records covering this period, and found matches for both Sasieni(55) and Elkan(27). I balked at making an advanced search however, since this required a substantial donation, and I was more interested in membership records. Even then, if I were able discover that Baron Elkan, Albert Bessie, Stanley Phillips actually were on the list, would it prove anything?

    Dutch Jews did not speak Yiddish as a rule, which isolated them from the larger Jewish immigrant community which used it as a shared tongue. Most made no attempt to learn it, since there was a greater imperative toward mastering English. So the Dutch immigrants appeared standoffish. In addition they traditionally ate tidal seafood like clams and mussels, which weren't kosher. So they didn't seem all that Jewish either. The other Jews called them "chuts", which wasn't derogatory apparently, and translates as "happy".

    They wouldn't say much. Just smile.

    The synagogue quickly grew its membership to include the entire Jewish community however, topping out at 450 families, and since services were held in Hebrew, all Jews were equal. It became a revered institution among the working class Jews in Whitechapel, and as a result of fundraising for its charitable work, I suspect that the Jewish merchants who employed them would have come under pressure to support Sandys Row Synagogue as well.

    Here's a 1919 B&Co PAT APPLIED FOR from Sasieni's first year of production. The stamp on the bottom of the shank appears identical to that seen on the Spiral pre-patent posted above. Sasieni's provisional patent application did not include drawings, so this might have been made to test market a few different stingers. The one shown is from an early four dot Melton.




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