School me on Gourd Calabash Pipes

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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,835
13,901
Humansville Missouri
In my vast stash of pipes I own one calabash pipe made from a gourd, hallmarked Birmingham 1910, and a flush fixed meerschaum bowl insert.

I spent about a week cleaning this up, flushing all the goo out with multiple soaks of Everclear, then sanding the top and getting it slick as a whistle. Whatever varnish used for the gourd is bowling pin grade good stuff, not a check or stain or flaw in a century old heavily smoked pipe.

It’s a cool smoker as bland as a bowl of unsweetened oatmeal, completely neutral. The orific bit is not my favorite.

School me on the grades and quality levels of gourd calabash pipes. They made these for royalty, and for the Wally Frank catalog, and all levels in between.

Every pipe lover needs one of these, and I have my quota.:)

What do I have on the grade scale of a gourd calabash?

IMG_6785.jpeg
IMG_6786.jpeg
1910 Birmingham

IMG_6788.jpeg
IMG_6789.jpeg
Orific bit

IMG_6787.jpeg

For example, this one on eBay looks like it was made for the carriage trade. Mine ain’t that fancy.

IMG_6790.jpeg
 
Last edited:

runscott

Lifer
Jun 3, 2020
1,051
2,279
Washington State
In my vast stash of pipes I own one calabash pipe made from a gourd, hallmarked Birmingham 1910, and a flush fixed meerschaum bowl insert.

I spent about a week cleaning this up, flushing all the goo out with multiple soaks of Everclear, then sanding the top and getting it slick as a whistle. Whatever varnish used for the gourd is bowling pin grade good stuff, not a check or stain or flaw in a century old heavily smoked pipe.

It’s a cool smoker as bland as a bowl of unsweetened oatmeal, completely neutral. The orific bit is not my favorite.

School me on the grades and quality levels of gourd calabash pipes. They made these for royalty, and for the Wally Frank catalog, and all levels in between.

Every pipe lover needs one of these, and I have my quota.:)

What do I have on the grade scale of a gourd calabash?

View attachment 280237
View attachment 280232
1910 Birmingham

View attachment 280233
View attachment 280236
Orific bit

View attachment 280234

For example, this one on eBay looks like it was made for the carriage trade. Mine ain’t that fancy.

View attachment 280242

It looks like the only difference between yours and the ebay one, is the silver band around the rim. The bell ferrule on yours is very cool.

I found this thread doing a search on 'Andreas Bauer'. I have one of the 'Austria'-stamped ones arriving today. I also have one stamped 'AB', so I'm looking forward to comparing them. My understanding is that the 'Austria' ones are the earlier ones, and that the 'AB' ones are from after they sold the name to another company, and weren't made in Austria, but I would love to hear more from those here who have the scoop.
 
Jun 9, 2018
4,049
13,056
England
It looks like the only difference between yours and the ebay one, is the silver band around the rim. The bell ferrule on yours is very cool.

I found this thread doing a search on 'Andreas Bauer'. I have one of the 'Austria'-stamped ones arriving today. I also have one stamped 'AB', so I'm looking forward to comparing them. My understanding is that the 'Austria' ones are the earlier ones, and that the 'AB' ones are from after they sold the name to another company, and weren't made in Austria, but I would love to hear more from those here who have the scoop.
Don't forget to post some pics when it arrives👍
 

runscott

Lifer
Jun 3, 2020
1,051
2,279
Washington State
Here's a comparison of the two. The 'Austria'-stamped one is a lot larger.

8EnjEe5.jpg

z2S5iRi.jpg


XvUrjY1.jpg
 

runscott

Lifer
Jun 3, 2020
1,051
2,279
Washington State
It may never have had one. That looks to be a built-in meerschaum lining - no cork for a meerschaum insert.

It looks odd, but that was the bottom-of-the-line design. I have some catalog pages from ~1915 that show this design.
 
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runscott

Lifer
Jun 3, 2020
1,051
2,279
Washington State
Those both look lovely. The one on the right has a nice big bowl that'll give you a long old smoke. You gonna dedicate them to different blends? I've done that with mine.

I'm not sure. The smaller one is a terrific smoker, but I believe the meer insert is glued in. I got it clean enough to smoke, but I need to get that bowl off. The large one is in really nice condition and I look forward to smoking it. This is my 10th gourd calabash, so I guess I'm a collector.
 
Jun 9, 2018
4,049
13,056
England
Maybe in 1910 my meerschaum bowl came off for cleaning but it’s glued down tight today.

It could be the original bowl broke and a repairman glued in a replacement.

But it is hell to clean.
I've never had one like that so I can't say if the meerschaum inserts were glued in. Without being able to remove the meerschaum bowl it must be an absolute nightmare to clean.

That's one of the good things about being able to remove the bowl. After a smoke you can wipe the wet gunk - and there's always a decent amount of gunk - with a paper towl then leave the bowl off so the insides can dry out.
 
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runscott

Lifer
Jun 3, 2020
1,051
2,279
Washington State
I've never had one like that so I can't say if the meerschaum inserts were glued in. Without being able to remove the meerschaum bowl it must be an absolute nightmare to clean.

That's one of the good things about being able to remove the bowl. After a smoke you can wipe the wet gunk - and there's always a decent amount of gunk - with a paper towl then leave the bowl off so the insides can dry out.
If he's talking about the pipe in the original post, those meerschaum linings are 'permanent'. I have one that is basically useless and will require that, if I want to restore it to it's original design, I bust out the original lining and replace it. My plan, instead, would be to bust out the meer lining and add my own cork strip along the top for a meer bowl to rest in.
 

OzPiper

Lifer
Nov 30, 2020
5,823
30,996
71
Sydney, Australia
I bought this gourd calabash with a fixed rolled gold rim some years ago as a restoration project. Little did I know 😏

EE0B076F-FEFE-4BEA-BAA2-E98DC4408001.jpeg

The rim will have to be removed along with the damaged bowl. Then the gourd chamber needs to be thoroughly cleaned along with the stem.

A new meer bowl will have to be fitted before replacing the metal rim

I’ve set it aside as a retirement project 😁
 
Jun 9, 2018
4,049
13,056
England
Here are two that have the attached meerschaum lining, but have a nice silver cap over the top. From the bottom pic it's easy to see that the tobacco was smoked in the meer lining bowl...and rarely cleaned :ROFLMAO:

This design of a pipe is such a pleasant smoke that I have a difficult time saying "no" to a good ebay deal.

p6xAwe9.jpg


tVYwPNF.png
Wow! That one on the left is insane! A few more years and it would've sealed up😂.
 
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sablebrush52

The Bard Of Barlings
Jun 15, 2013
19,762
45,313
Southern Oregon
jrs457.wixsite.com
In my vast stash of pipes I own one calabash pipe made from a gourd, hallmarked Birmingham 1910, and a flush fixed meerschaum bowl insert.

I spent about a week cleaning this up, flushing all the goo out with multiple soaks of Everclear, then sanding the top and getting it slick as a whistle. Whatever varnish used for the gourd is bowling pin grade good stuff, not a check or stain or flaw in a century old heavily smoked pipe.

It’s a cool smoker as bland as a bowl of unsweetened oatmeal, completely neutral. The orific bit is not my favorite.

School me on the grades and quality levels of gourd calabash pipes. They made these for royalty, and for the Wally Frank catalog, and all levels in between.

Every pipe lover needs one of these, and I have my quota.:)

What do I have on the grade scale of a gourd calabash?

View attachment 280237
View attachment 280232
1910 Birmingham

View attachment 280233
View attachment 280236
Orific bit

View attachment 280234

For example, this one on eBay looks like it was made for the carriage trade. Mine ain’t that fancy.

View attachment 280242
This pipe would originally have had a sterling cap, which has since gone missing. Looks like a first rate pipe