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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,840
13,967
Humansville Missouri
My friend Johnny and me and all the other boys in the First Grade were all in love with the same little blue eyed blonde girl and ignored all the other girls.

And the blonde really was a babe, and still is 60 years later.;)

But my mother would tell me and Johnny those other little girls were like ducklings and they’d all grow up to be beautful swans someday.

(To which Johnny and me scoffed and doubted)

Mama might not have been right about every one, but sure enough most all of them did blossom into swans.

The same is true for some ugly pipes.

Twelve smokes

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My ugliest of the ugly Marxmans arrives tomorrow.

Let’s see what a week or two of love does for it, shall we?
 
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pinem

Might Stick Around
Aug 16, 2015
69
107
Nebraska
My friend Johnny and me and all the other boys in the First Grade were all in love with the same little blue eyed blonde girl and ignored all the other girls.

And the blonde really was a babe, and still is 60 years later.;)

But my mother would tell me and Johnny those other little girls were like ducklings and they’d all grow up to be beautful swans someday.

(To which Johnny and me scoffed and doubted)

Mama might not have been right about every one, but sure enough most all of them did blossom into swans.

The same is true for some ugly pipes.

Twelve smokes

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My ugliest of the ugly Marxmans arrives tomorrow.

Let’s see what a week or two of love does for it, shall we?
I don't see that turning into a swan, unless we are talking about a swan that found its way through a jet engine or cockpit window. That is truly an exceptionally ugly pipe.

As for the first pipe, it reminds me of pre-torn jeans. I appears there was a lack of hands present in the vicinity of Mr. Marxman when he was making pipes, and he was never rightly slapped upside the head.
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,840
13,967
Humansville Missouri
I don't see that turning into a swan, unless we are talking about a swan that found its way through a jet engine or cockpit window. That is truly an exceptionally ugly pipe.

As for the first pipe, it reminds me of pre-torn jeans. I appears there was a lack of hands present in the vicinity of Mr. Marxman when he was making pipes, and he was never rightly slapped upside the head.

Marx was selling the most expensive factory pipes in the world at ten dollars for the C size, from 34-36, which mine might well be from that early era.

And he had a direct competitor, Custombuilt making rough carved pipes as well.

Today a Custombilt sells for several many times what a similar Marxman brings.

Custombilt

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I assume both seasoned and colored with use.

The biggest difference might be, is the owner of Custombilt went broke in 1950 and Marx sold out in 1953 and lived another forty years in comfort.

Marx could sell pipes at a profit.
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,840
13,967
Humansville Missouri
My $22 ugly Marxman arrived today and in a few minutes it’s no longer ugly, or at least not uglier than any other pre 54 Marxman.

Like all other Marxman pipes I’ve bought this one had all the cake flake off and crumble away, leaving a brown bowl and all the grime came off using a paper towel and Everclear, and this heavily used pipe looks and smells and smokes like it’s nearly new. Some Algerian briar had gorgeous grain structure and most did not, but I’m convinced the best test for determining old Algerian briar is cake will not stick hard to it, and it just refuses to burn.

The inside diameter of the bowl is an extra large .880”, although it’s only about 1.6” tall from bottom to rim.

The highest grade of briar might not have beautful grain. But the highest grades are nearly fireproof and won’t allow carbon and gunk to stick, and don’t get hot on the outside when smoked. They are denser than other briar.

This pipe was clean as a whistle inside, and had been well kept and loved. It’s poorly stamped but artistically carved and fashioned, the stem has not oxidized hardly at all, except where clenched. There are a few dents but no fills I can see.

Why I’m addicted to old Marxman pipes might not be because the briar used smokes better.

Maybe the briar Marx used had the least faults other than the challenge of carving it, and it is the most neutral wooden vessel to smoke tobacco.

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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,840
13,967
Humansville Missouri
Cleaning this one up a little more, there’s an A stamped on the bottom hex shank. It was wishful thinking to see a B in the online photos.

An A size Jumbo was five dollars. The B size was $7.50, slightly larger.

Kaywoodie and Lee also sold higher end factory pipes. The difference was all the Kaywoodie and Lee production seems to have been to a certain machine fraised shape and more money bought fancier grain, a prettier pipe.

Marx did that with the Super Briar line. More money bought prettier.

But each Jumbo and Benchmade were made on a bench and not machine shaped. It was the discretion of the carver.

More money bought a heavier, bigger pipe. I can’t see any improvement in beauty of the grain used, on a B. I think the A,B,C size stamps were for ascending size blocks of briar. If it was a monster those got made into $15 Big Boys and $25 400s.

An A size Jumbo is a good size pipe. The bigger sizes weren’t all that much bigger. A large A might equal the final size of a small B.

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No old pipes clean up quicker than those made by Robert Marx.

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Sigmund

Lifer
Sep 17, 2023
1,825
16,754
France
There are plenty of pipes that smoke well. I wont intentionally buy one I find ugly. Ive bought one or two i didn’t like as well as I initially thought but I dont find them ugly.