Who Buys Brylon? How Bad Is It?

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mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
37,685
45,762
S.M. Frank still pumps out thousands of Brylon pipes. For those not familiar with it, Brylon is a

synthetic material, described as "ceramic." It was developed in the 1950's as an alternative to

briar. It's heavier than briar (it is said), and the bowl tends to heat up so it's hot to hold, a bit like

a clay pipe without the historical prestige. Most Forums member frown and groan at the mention of

it, with so many good briar, cob, Meerschaum, and clay pipes available. A few members defend them

as good travel and car pipes, because they are indestructible. I have fifty pipes. Do I need a Brylon to

round out the rack? Why or why not? If you own one, do you ever smoke it? If you like it, why? If you

hate 'em, why? And, as a final question, why hasn't S.M. Frank ever figured out how to make a bowl that

is better insulated? It seems like some young engineering graduate would love to figure this out. Brylon--

what about it? Incidentally, Brylon pipes tend to be really inexpensive, like $15-$20. When you smoke

'em, do you hold them by the shank and stem?

 

voorhees

Lifer
May 30, 2012
3,834
918
Gonadistan
My experience is the same, smoked hot and doesn't let off heat well at all. It also tended to smoke wetter than briar and meer. I have one, it was my FIL's and only keep it for that reason alone.

I have sold them at the shop I work at but mostly to people who don't know. And yes, I tried to dissuade them.

 
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mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
37,685
45,762
rsuninv, that sounds like a specialized application that Brylon fills admirably! Who knew?
Since the Brylon is cast, I wonder if they have tried air pockets in the bowl, making the bowl

a little fatter (which would make it look more like a briar)? I wonder if that would insulate the

bowl to the touch.

 

lawmax3

Can't Leave
Jan 18, 2013
403
1
Brylon pipes do get warm, but you can still hold them.

They do work decently for lakelands and are easy to clean, as you can use water and don't have to worry about the bowl cracking.

 

sfsteves

Lifer
Aug 3, 2013
1,279
0
SF Bay Area
Back when I first tried pipe smoking, I had a number of really crappy pipes, a couple of which were plastic, though I can't remember if they were specifically Brylon ... my reaction to these pipes was to wonder how it was that guys seemed to enjoy what to me was a seriously unpleasant experience ... had I not been so entranced by the IDEA of smoking a pipe, I'd never have found my way to quality pipes and quality ingredients ...

 

nardzorb

Might Stick Around
Mar 19, 2014
56
0
I just bought a Medico which I assume is this brylon stuff.
Could it not be considered a training pipe for the novice, cool it with the (not) puffing if it gets too hot.

I have really only got my bowl uncomfortably hot a few times (I have smoked 3 bowls so far, ever).
Well, I don't care what anybody says, my first brylon pipe experience was good, so put THAT in your pipe and smoke it.
(HeHe)
I am a cheapskate, my next pipe will be one that I make myself, or a corn cob.

 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
37,685
45,762
Remember folks, Frank makes briar pipes as well as Brylon. I think the Brylon are mostly Medico and

Yello-Bole, and both brands make serviceable briar pipes too. Just be careful to get what you want.

You can usually spot the Brylon pipes right away from the thinness of the bowls. From what you-all

have said, I am not much tempted by Brylon, though I could order one in a fit of shear perversity, but

I doubt it. They sell a lot of these pipes, or they wouldn't still be offering them, but I can't for the life

of me figure out who buys them. Can the entire business be first-timers who don't know them? Has

anyone ever gone back for a second and third Brylon pipe after smoking them for a while? rsuninv has

the perfect use, in his work, and I can see him buying an extra or two, but few others.

 

colorduke

Part of the Furniture Now
Mar 5, 2011
775
0
I have 1 brylon pipe I use for smoking mix 79.Brylon pipes are made from briar dust & glue they are not ceramic pipes and should not be washed with waeripe by Venturi is a composit pipe that can be washed in the sink or dishwashernd it will not hurt it.

 

wilson

Part of the Furniture Now
Apr 17, 2013
719
0
I had a Brylon pipe 35 years ago. I think I tossed it after a month, so I'd say give the Brylon a skip, you're not missing anything. Spend your coin on a couple of cobs. Or, if you want to burn a few bucks on something different, splurge on a couple of tins of something you don't normally smoke.

 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
37,685
45,762
If Brylon worked for you, nardzorb, I'd feel fine about it. I'd keep the pipe in rotation as long as it works

for you. Maybe when you compare it with a cob or a briar, it will seem less pleasing, but if you have the

hang of smoking it, it may work for you. Several members have said Brylon pipes are good work place

pipes or car pipes. Maybe smoking them is a sort of separate skill of its own.

 

condorlover1

Lifer
Dec 22, 2013
6,494
17,349
New York
Someone gave me a couple of Brylon pipes about ten years ago and I have to say they were terrible. One was white and the other was black and it took me a good three months to find someone in the UK whose life ambition was to own a couple of these tongue destroyers. Strangely I still get a Christmas card from the fellow every year so I guess someone was happy with the dreaded Brylon!

 
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kibo

Starting to Get Obsessed
Mar 22, 2014
239
0
SW PA
I've got my great grandfather's Medico Big Bulldog, and it must be Brylon...its not stamped 'Briar' anywhere on it, and a fella looked at it while I was smoking and said "hm, that's not even real wood!"...for all the rep about smoking hot and wet...this old dog smokes like a dream! It doesn't get any hotter than my Greek-made Briar, and it's not as wet at the Greek, or even the Whitehall Gulf Stream I have...maybe I'm lucky? That said, I'd buy a MM cob before I'd buy another Brylon, just because I won't press my luck.

 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
37,685
45,762
The great mystery remains, who buys these Brylon pipes? They can't all be first-timers. They are sold by a number

of online retailers, and they are offered in two dozen or more different shapes and sizes. Their reputation is that

they are indestructible and never wear out, so it would seem some have a rack full of them. I don't get it. When

so many good products go out of production, why would something that is not popular hang on, and on? Most of

the Brylon pipes are not even $20; I've seen them at $15.99, but that is still a respectable tin of tobacco, or even two.

Is there a Brylon pipe club? That would be a good ironic name for a pipe club which would not smoke Brylon pipes.

Let us know if you find the crowd of Brylon pipe people and find out the secret of their pipe habits.

 

sjfine

Part of the Furniture Now
Mar 4, 2012
653
1
I realize that this is an old thread, but I was researching this subject / I was bored...
I have, and regularly smoke, a Yello-Bole Ebony (brylon) pipe, without its removable "scoop" (stinger). It happens to be a great smoker. I never get a bad smoke from it. I am smoking it now. It never gurgles. It never gets hot. It smokes just as well as my Becker.
I bought it after smoking pipes for about two years or so. It smokes better than my Kaywoodies (which gurgle unless I am extremely careful), and as well as, or better than any cob I have. (I think my cobs with replacement stems fall into the latter category of comparison.)
The ebonite stem feels good and has not yet oxidized or shown chatter (although I am not a punishing clencher).
The bowl fits a z-fold flake plug perfectly.
I am not an expert in any aspect of this pastime, but I smoke almost every day, and I can find no fault with this pipe



 

buroak

Lifer
Jul 29, 2014
1,857
5
My first pipe was a brylon Medico Lancer. I bought it because I did not know any better. The pipe is still in my collection, but I have not smoked it since buying my first briar pipe.
I have read that some smokers keep one or a few brylon pipes around for sampling new tobaccos, presumable because brylon does not ghost like pipes made from absorbent materials.

 

newbroom

Lifer
Jul 11, 2014
5,913
3,974
When I first started looking to acquire more pipes I shopped the auctions and naively picked up in two different 'wins', a YelloBole Brylon, and a "the pipe". Both are made from synthetic material. Both are heavier than briar of similar size and both are smart looking pipes with comfortable and durable stems.

I've let them sit after having smoked them once each in my early days of smoking and went on to more cobs and briars all the while improving my technique and learning about tobacco.

Recently I revisited these pipes and found both to be nice easy smokers that allowed the tobacco to speak for itself and with proper cadence did not heat up to the point of being destructive or harmful.

They're indestructible! They clean thoroughly and easily. Great for travel or knock around and still look like dress pipes. I don't feel so badly about them anymore. 2 more to pipes in my rotation, and these you COULD smoke forever.