- Feb 21, 2013
A significant "tell" on quality control is the stamping on a pipe. If a factory line is minding its P's and Q's, the stamping is custom made to the pipe brand and series and deep enough to be entirely legible for the life of the pipe. Any failings in the stamping is a tip-off that the senior crafts people weren't there or didn't care. My first pipe is just a Tinder Box house pipe, but beautifully stamped with a custom "Tinder Box St. Ives" stamp in a circular configuration. The pipe is well made and has lasted for forty years, smoking well. I have a few poorly stamped pipes, or less-well stamped pipes. Both a Greek-made Amadeus and a Ben Wade have stamps that are uneven, light, and incomplete -- the pipes are fine, but obviously by luck and not by close attention to detail. I have quite a nice estate Thompson Cigar house pipe, and the stamping is clear, but it is also clearly some kind of changeable stamp machine that says only "Thompson" in stark sans-serif, that could be set up to say anything. Stamps matter, and give information beyond that intended. Any stamping stories of your own?