In my previous post, I opened with this:
- Quote :
- In the pipe repair world, for reasons lost to history, the output of repair shops is viewed as a consumer commodity in the same way as tires, toasters, or cameras.
After thinking about it (it was originally written a couple years ago), the reason actually seems pretty clear.
Pipes were considered consumables, never mind their stems. An analogy would be soles for shoes, or tires for cars. A temporary tool, object, or thing, which was composed of parts that didn't age equally. In the first 2/3rds of the 20th century, a car might see three or four sets of tires before the car itself was discarded, and shoes were usually re-soled a couple times before the uppers wore out.
So it was with pipes. So-called "estate" pipes simply didn't exist until the 1980's, and pipes---with the exception of a handful of higher grade Charatans & etc, cased sets, and presentation pieces---were never purchased with the intention of keeping them all that long. Pipes were thought of simply as "tobacco access devices" by the vast majority of smokers. Once they reached a certain point, they were thrown away and a new one bought. Only if an old pipe was special enough that a smoker wanted to extend its life, or a new-ish one was damaged, was it repaired.
And those repairs were made in the same spirit as the original pipe. Any passably decent looking return to functionality was considered a "good fix." And arranging a fix was no more difficult than taking the pipe to any walk-in tobacco shop, of which there were many. (If they didn't have a repairman in the back, they sent batches of pipes a couple times a week to another shop nearby that did.)
No one expected such repairs to be "invisibly good" because they understood that pipes were factory made, and repairs could only be done by hand. And while such fine handwork was POSSIBLE, pipes were inexpensive, so there was no demand for it.
Fast forward to the Internet, Scandinavian Quality Standards, Artisan masterpieces, and hardcore collectors of so-called "estate" pipes in addition to contemporary art pieces. Those smokers---today's smokers---DON'T think of pipes as consumables, and have high technical and artistic expectations for repair work. But, being consumers, they are delighted that pipe repair's cost structure was previously based on mass-produced inexpensive pipes and "you can't see it if you squint" craftsmanship.
Delighted until the new expectations + old price structure finishes driving the remaining handful of pipe repairmen out of business, anyway.