Increasing pipe size

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tslots

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Seems to me that the size of pipes has increased significantly over the past 80 years.

I've seen and purchased quite a few older pipes (from the 1920's - 1960's) and the vast majority were much smaller. I'd say an average size was around a Group 2 or 3. There were bigger ones around, but those seemed to be rare exceptions.

These days, the average size seems to be more like a Group 5 or 6 ... and huge pipes like those from Boswell, etc. are very popular.

Anyone else of this opinion?



 

Zeno Marx

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I don't think there is any question when using your date split. With the cost of tobacco now, I'm somewhat surprised with how popular large pipes are. On the positive side, I'd like to think that with the ever-shortening attention span, the big pipers are flying in the face of that unfortunate happening. They're able to relax and truly leisure in longer spans than the average person. Maybe I'm the fool in thinking that.

I tend to like larger pipes, but that has changed a bit in the past few years. I enjoy the smaller pipes more than I ever have.
 

ZeroContent

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Could be economics. Bigger pipes need more briar. More briar costs more. Bigger pipes cost more but people have more disposable income to afford them. Maybe it's not the want that's increased but the ability to obtain them has.
 

Guy

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Yes especially after the Danish Freehand boom of the 70’s.
 

Doc Manhattan

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Perhaps it has something to do with the times and places for pipe-smoking now... if you can smoke your pipe almost everywhere, it might be more convenient to smoke several smaller bowls (easier to pack on, clench, etc.)

From the business standpoint, it was probably also an era where it made financial sense to make many smaller pipes and make up profit in volume. Gone are the days when anyone can make money in volume on pipestuff, sadly.
 

ZeroContent

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What about cost to inflation? Maybe will all the gadgets we have now to create pipes making larger pipes is less labor intensive then small pipes when having to make more stuff by hand.
 

Gumball

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Maybe this is a shift from the pipe as a functional item towards it being a collectable?
 

Natch

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I remember reading somewhere (and I always believe everything I read on the web, after all, it's in "print" so it has to be true :roll:), that back in the day (pre-WWII, and earlier) tobacco was generally stronger than it is today, and in comparison to overall income and costs, more expensive. So smaller bowls using less tobacco might have made sense.

Natch
 

cstueart

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Funny you should post this......I have been coveting some of those huge pipes recently, most of mine are mid-sized or "normal", but I recently acquired a couple of small pipes that would perhaps have been normal "back in the day". I really enjoy smoking those small ones, I was surprised since I'm a pretty big guy. And they look great, but might look funny in a group setting with some of the big boys.

The same topic came up in conversation about watches; the size of watches seems to have been increasing lately. So has the size of a regular cup of coffee, a television, and a new home. Computers are the only things that seem to have been shrinking.....I wonder if they are all indicative of the same thing, a firm belief that bigger is better?
 

Tim_Haggerty

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cstueart":2fvj00og said:
Funny you should post this......I have been coveting some of those huge pipes recently, most of mine are mid-sized or "normal", but I recently acquired a couple of small pipes that would perhaps have been normal "back in the day". I really enjoy smoking those small ones, I was surprised since I'm a pretty big guy. And they look great, but might look funny in a group setting with some of the big boys.

The same topic came up in conversation about watches; the size of watches seems to have been increasing lately. So has the size of a regular cup of coffee, a television, and a new home. Computers are the only things that seem to have been shrinking.....I wonder if they are all indicative of the same thing, a firm belief that bigger is better?
Interesting thread. As part of consumption, we seem to live in a Super-sized world, but whereby you can pretty much eat anywhere now, it is exactly opposite for smoking. Cigars, too, have gotten bigger, and particularly fatter: it used to be rare to see a ring gauge bigger than a 52 or 54, now most premium cigar makers make a 60 ring (measured in diameters of 64ths of an inch, so that a cigar with a 52 inch ring is 52/64 inches across, or roughly .81").

So I suspect it is a confluence of things: As noted, Danish freehands seem to have opened up the market for bigger pipes in the '70s, and even die hard pipe smokers have trouble finding time for a casual bowl, as opposed to a dedicated smoke. So why not enjoy a larger bowl on a commute or after work or at the end of the evening? Also, a good pipe maker told me that bigger pipes are actually easier to work on by hand, which I can believe, which might account for supply.

But I'm rambling at then end of a day, which means I need to go home and smoke a pipe.
 

Harlock999

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cstueart":mo18gcoa said:
Funny you should post this......
The same topic came up in conversation about watches; the size of watches seems to have been increasing lately. So has the size of a regular cup of coffee, a television, and a new home. Computers are the only things that seem to have been shrinking.....I wonder if they are all indicative of the same thing, a firm belief that bigger is better?
It's true! Watches are huge now, and houses and cars both grew to gigantic sizes before the economy melted.
Last year, I bought an enormous Bjarne pipe. Now I just look at it and laugh! I don't know what I was thinking... :p
 

Gumball

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Tim_Haggerty":j63qlnwe said:
and even die hard pipe smokers have trouble finding time for a casual bowl, as opposed to a dedicated smoke. So why not enjoy a larger bowl on a commute or after work or at the end of the evening?
In the UK I seldom see a pipe-smoker out and about in the street. So it may, as you say, be that the pipe has become a luxury to be savoured like a glass of fine wine.

I do like the look of those large freehand pipes, but there comes a price point beyond which I could not imagine myself putting a match anywhere near the briar. They have moved from being a nice object in which to enjoy my favoured blend, to an art object to be placed in the display cabinet. However, this is a different discussion :)
 

Harlock999

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Gumball":j68kmzm8 said:
Tim_Haggerty":j68kmzm8 said:
and even die hard pipe smokers have trouble finding time for a casual bowl, as opposed to a dedicated smoke. So why not enjoy a larger bowl on a commute or after work or at the end of the evening?
In the UK I seldom see a pipe-smoker out and about in the street. So it may, as you say, be that the pipe has become a luxury to be savoured like a glass of fine wine.

I do like the look of those large freehand pipes, but there comes a price point beyond which I could not imagine myself putting a match anywhere near the briar. They have moved from being a nice object in which to enjoy my favoured blend, to an art object to be placed in the display cabinet. However, this is a different discussion :)
I tend to agree with this.
 

Amenhotep04

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Doc Manhattan":s6i4s6h0 said:
Perhaps it has something to do with the times and places for pipe-smoking now... if you can smoke your pipe almost everywhere, it might be more convenient to smoke several smaller bowls (easier to pack on, clench, etc.)

From the business standpoint, it was probably also an era where it made financial sense to make many smaller pipes and make up profit in volume. Gone are the days when anyone can make money in volume on pipestuff, sadly.
I tend to agree with the first paragraph here. Prior to this thread, when I thought of buying a bigger pipe, all I could imagine is having to sit and smoke the thing for hours. Given that I like pipes under 50 grams, I find these magnums more amusing than anything else. I don't find them practical.

Regarding the second paragraph, pipes began going up in price post World War II when the cigarette had finally taken over, though the phenomenon had already begun some 50 years earlier. Hand made pipes were about the only way people could make money making pipes. The large pipe companies turning out pipes couldn't compete anymore. So most shut down. So I think by the 70s the environment had already changed economically.



:farao:
 

Guy

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Being a bowl or two a day at home smoker, in general like large freehand pipes. However, given the current pipe market I am not about to spend $500+ for a fine freehand. For the price of 5 of those finished briar blocks I could have commissioned a handmade Guitar. I have a pretty stocked collection, now if I get anything going forward it will be more along the lines of a smaller but utilitarian Peterson. .
 

MisterE

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I thinks it´s a little of "all of the above".

In the 40s through the 60s the pipe was a daily carry around item. Watch, wallet, pipe, etc. As much an image thing as a hobby or habit. I dont think some of thos XXXLLL magnums would be too handy in a vest pocket or so good to clench while reading the paper on the bus.

I think of my grandpa and my dad with their modest racks of no-name billiards and large cans of Amphora. Their attitude was more that a pipe was a tobacco smoke delivery device not some collectible piece of artwork. They lived in pipe smoking´s heyday. In fact my dad continues to be baffled as to why I´d spend $700 on something that is just an accoutrement for nicotine delivery (he has long since quit).

Also, as the pipe smoking culture died down it only remained as a niche hobbyist/collector market and practicality was no longer an issue. Hence more "outlandish" designs which appeal to the eye become almost necessary.

The tobacco strength idea Natch brought up is interesting. Perhaps the majority of the OTC´s of that period were burley based?

Personally I enjoy the retro pipes from that period. Smaller, more practical, and a piece of history. When pipe smoking wan´t just a fringe novelty. I have a few big ones here but they dont really see much use.
 

sstodvictory

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tslots":50sc603t said:
Seems to me that the size of pipes has increased significantly....
All I know is that if you buff it, the wood will warm up and it will get bigger.

Steve
 
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