Broken Pipe: Rainer Barbi

Well-known and respected German Pipe Artisan, Rainer Barbi passed away on May 23, 2011. He was diagnosed with cancer in January, and had several strokes in late-February, early-March.

According to Jörg Rolf Lehmann, "Rainer Barbi started with the production of pipes in 1974. He can therefore be regarded as the "senior" of the German freehand pipe makers, although he really has the spirit of a young person. I first met Rainer in 2001, when he hosted a presentation of his pipes in the city of Bünde, at Otto Pollner’s place, who was the grand-master of pipe-turners in Germany.

There is no doubt, Rainer is one of the very best pipe makers in the world today, which is very remarkable for someone who started out as an autodidact (self-taught). Barbi can be proud of his work, they are amongst the most popular pieces worldwide.

I like all the pipes of Barbi very much, without exception, a style of his own is unmistakable and the recognition value of a Barbi is great. Many of his pipes are finished very brightly and the grain contrast stands out more and more with use of the pipe."


We wish to express our deepest condolences to Barbi’s family and friends.

Rainer Barbi’s Website

Rainer Barbi’s Facebook Page

6 Responses

  • I smoked a pipe for the first time when I was five years old. My father would not allow me to invade his humidor therefore I used coffee grounds!
    I know this pipe smoking is going to kill me…..I’m 64 years old, started at 5 therefore what do the specialists assume relative to my very clear lungs, etc?
    Kill me is you must, just don’t take my pipe!
    Dr. Edward Blackwelder
    Piedmont, Alabama 36272

  • I am truly saddened by the new’s of Rainer’s passing. I considered him a friend as well as an excellent pipe craftsman. I truly enjoy the one Barbi pipe I own not only for its superb smoking characteristics, but because of the wonderful memories of him it evokes each time I smoke it. My condolences to his family.

  • As I read this article and notice this evening I am smoking one of Mr. Barbi’s pipes. Though I never met him I feel a sadness that he has passed. His pipe is truly lovely.

  • I am smoking my Rainer Barbi right now. I got it at the 2010 Chicago Pipe Show and smoked it on a rooftop in Haiti with some 7 year old Frog Morton on the Bayou for my 40th birthday later that year. It was a great birthday gift to myself and I have continued to enjoy it immensely. It is sad that such a great artisan has left us.