When did the Danish pipe boom start in North America?

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ontariopiper

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Hi everyone. I'm hoping someone has the answer to this question.

I'm trying to narrow down the dates for the Danish pipe craze in the US and Canada as part of the research for the book I'm working on about Brigham pipes. All the sources I can find on Pipedia etc just say "the 1960s" - was that the early 60s? Mid 60s? Closer to 1970?

I promise I won't take any replies posted as the gospel truth without documentary evidence to back it up. I'm just trying to get a better sense of when the Danish Freehand craze started. I'm leaning towards mid-to-late 60s at this point, based on the nomenclature of my collection of Brigham Norseman and Valhalla pipes which bear stamps from either the 60s or 70s, depending on the pipe.

Thanks for any and all input.
 

Preben

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From my own history and pipes/pipesmoking 1968 - but i believe it was a bit earlier. really popped in the very early 70's. (Not Gospel) Praise the Lord Preben!

heh heh heh
 

daveinlax

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Without going to the davecave and looking through my cataloge library the Late 60's is when I see the high grade Danish artisans getting featured in The IRC Catalogs. I'm guessing that would be the same time for the low and mid price stuff in other retail and wholesale catalogs I have. The Dan and Dantoian pipes might have been in the early to mid sixties but i'm not sure. Bet there is some good info on Pipedia :shock:
 

ontariopiper

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daveinlax":xuv3yh2r said:
Bet there is some good info on Pipedia :shock:
You might be surprised.... I have found tidbit mentions on pages for Celius, Harcourt, and a few others but it appears that no one has written up an article on the Danish Fancy boom.

From what I've gleaned, we're talking about the mid-60s through to probably the mid to late 70s.
 

Iaido

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My limited understanding is that Preben Holm started the freehand movement some pipes marked with his name and some Ben Wade in the 1970,s . Also either or both Pipes magazine and smokingpipes.com have some history articles on this. MTC good link on the book
I have one Holm and 2 Wade pipes and enjoy them often
 

Natch

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I may have gotten in at the tail end of the times you suggest, but my first "real" pipe (not a Dr. Grabbo basket pipe) was a Danish freehand I purchased in 1971. I was at Uhle's in Milwaukee and they said that these Danish freehands had been popular for a couple of years at that time. I think I paid the princely price of $62 for it (as a college student, that was just about a whole semester's beer money). It was a fantastic pipe but I lost it one night on a canoe trip to Sylvania (on Wisconsin, UP border) when I crashed out and left it sitting by the fire pit. By morning all that was left was a pile of shavings and a rough ball of wood about the size of a marble. Damn porcupine!
 

Ranger107

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When I started college in the late 70s the local pipe shop had Danish freehands available but they were out of my price range so didn't acquire my first till 73 on a trip to Denmark. Paid probably 25 bucks at a pipe shop in Copenhagen.
 

BriarPipeNYC

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In New York City, before the World Trade Centers went up in the '70s the area in and around the Twin Towers...consisted of stores that were filled with war surplus, factory close-outs, job-lots, hardware stores, old-school tobacconists, electronics, radios.....a true, tinker's paradise. Canal Street used to be the same way. When I was a young teen, on Saturdays, I took the two hour subway ride down into lower-Manhattan and shopped-till-I-dropped, looking in all the stores and buying junk, and cheap crap. The kind of useless crap and junk that appeals to 13 year old young boys: magnets, special screws, radio tubes, old war-surplus, etc. My mother would pitch-a-bitch when she saw me bringing home more treasures! She'd yell and told me I was wasting my money. I let her yell. I didn't care. Boys, after all, must have their toys. Good times, back then.

My favorite stops were at Barclay Rex and Wally Frank pipes and tobacco stores -which dotted the area. Millions of men smoked pipes and cigars back then. Yes, millions. I distinctly remember seeing those very odd-looking, Danish freehand pipes in some of the display windows, especially around Christmas. So, I would say the date was around 1963-'65. I believe -but have no proof- that's around the time that Danish pipes were starting to be imported and become popular. This was the post-WW-2/post-Korean War period in time, and Manhattan, Wall Street and the all the surrounding office buildings were teeming with thousands of suited executives, and well-healed white-collar businessmen who also smoked pipes, and could definitely afford those more expensive, imported Danish pipes. There were so many people leaving the towering office buildings and walking around at lunch hour -that they would be forced off the sidewalks. If quick progress was to be made they'd have to walk in the streets....even on a Saturday. Anyone with half a brain knew not to drive in lower Manhattan around lunch-hour. I love the variety, the people, the pace, the excitement of having some money in my pocket, MY money, that could be spent on any kind of worthless crap that I wanted. I was 13 years old. At that age everything's an adventure.

Back in those long-gone days, there were also a few "Pipe-Hospitals" (usually just a 4' X 6' wooden shanty) in the Nassau Street/Wall Street area. These shacks were set up and tooled, to do some quick, pipe-repairs while you waited. By the time you choked down a few dirty-water hotdogs, your pipe was buffed and polished, and, ready to go. Guys would/could drop off their broken pipes in the mornings on the way to work, and by lunch-time, or, quitting-time, they'd pick up their repaired pipes with new stems, buffed, polished, refreshed, reamed...etc. These tiny repair shacks are now a thing of the past.... and few even know that these tiny repair shops ever existed. There were also some fountain-pen hospitals, and a few doll hospitals, too.
 

Idlefellow

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The first "Danish" pipe I recall seeing was during my college years so it would have been around1965-1970 or so. I thought the pipe in this Flying Dutchman ad was the coolest things I'd ever seen and just had to have one...



I found one very like it, too. It had a very nice straight grain but it also had a couple of small fills in it which annoyed me. One of the styles of the day was rusticated pipes with panels left smooth on the sides, so at some point I foolishly reworked the finish on my pipe. I thought it would improve it to my eye but the pipe was never the same to me.; I have ever after wished I'd left it alone. I still have it but it hasn't left the rack in years.

I did enjoy it in its day though, along with many tins of Flying Dutchman, but that's another story for another time...

LATER: Ah, here she is..

 
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Niblick

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From everything I've read about Sixten Ivarsson is that he started making Freehand pipes in the early fifty's if the definition of a Freehand is:

The freehand pipe bowl is mainly formed by holding it in the hands against a powered sanding disc with some kind of vacuum to remove the unhealthy sanding dust. This gives the artisan pipe maker a better opportunity to follow some of the grain of the briar and to even make sculptural asymmetrical shapes. The tobacco chamber is bored and the air channel is drilled in hand after the pipe has been shaped.

In the early 60's he was established with a couple of pipe shops here in the U.S.

Google Sixten Ivarsson Pipedia, or just Sixten Ivarsson and lots of info will come up.
 

Zeno Marx

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In New York City, before the World Trade Centers went up in the '70s the area in and around the Twin Towers...consisted of stores that were filled with war surplus, factory close-outs, job-lots, hardware stores, old-school tobacconists, electronics, radios.....a true, tinker's paradise. Canal Street used to be the same way. When I was a young teen, on Saturdays, I took the two hour subway ride down into lower-Manhattan and shopped-till-I-dropped, looking in all the stores and buying junk, and cheap crap. The kind of useless crap and junk that appeals to 13 year old young boys: magnets, special screws, radio tubes, old war-surplus, etc. My mother would pitch-a-bitch when she saw me bringing home more treasures! She'd yell and told me I was wasting my money. I let her yell. I didn't care. Boys, after all, must have their toys. Good times, back then.

My favorite stops were at Barclay Rex and Wally Frank pipes and tobacco stores -which dotted the area. Millions of men smoked pipes and cigars back then. Yes, millions. I distinctly remember seeing those very odd-looking, Danish freehand pipes in some of the display windows, especially around Christmas. So, I would say the date was around 1963-'65. I believe -but have no proof- that's around the time that Danish pipes were starting to be imported and become popular. This was the post-WW-2/post-Korean War period in time, and Manhattan, Wall Street and the all the surrounding office buildings were teeming with thousands of suited executives, and well-healed white-collar businessmen who also smoked pipes, and could definitely afford those more expensive, imported Danish pipes. There were so many people leaving the towering office buildings and walking around at lunch hour -that they would be forced off the sidewalks. If quick progress was to be made they'd have to walk in the streets....even on a Saturday. Anyone with half a brain knew not to drive in lower Manhattan around lunch-hour. I love the variety, the people, the pace, the excitement of having some money in my pocket, MY money, that could be spent on any kind of worthless crap that I wanted. I was 13 years old. At that age everything's an adventure.

Back in those long-gone days, there were also a few "Pipe-Hospitals" (usually just a 4' X 6' wooden shanty) in the Nassau Street/Wall Street area. These shacks were set up and tooled, to do some quick, pipe-repairs while you waited. By the time you choked down a few dirty-water hotdogs, your pipe was buffed and polished, and, ready to go. Guys would/could drop off their broken pipes in the mornings on the way to work, and by lunch-time, or, quitting-time, they'd pick up their repaired pipes with new stems, buffed, polished, refreshed, reamed...etc. These tiny repair shacks are now a thing of the past.... and few even know that these tiny repair shops ever existed. There were also some fountain-pen hospitals, and a few doll hospitals, too.
Such a great post. Like Mad Men crossed with a Ken Burns documentary. I've never heard of these hospitals, and I've been around this a long time now. So very cool.
 

BriarPipeNYC

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It was so long ago that I can't really remember if it was Barkley Rex, or maybe it was Wally Frank's?... that had a guy repairing pipes in the front store-window in their store on Greenwich Street. His repair "shop" (aka Pipe-Hospital), was in full view of everyone that walked by the store. I liked watching the repair guy and loved going into all the tobacconist shops just to smell all the exotic pipe-tobaccos. Again, this was way back in those pre-Twin Tower days, around 1963-'64. I would stand there, in front of the window, eating my lunch (usually: two Nedick's hot-dogs-with-a-schmear).... as I watched the old gent, working in his shop using a small lathe to re-stem a pipe. He also had a small drill press, a few other hand-tools, drawers filled with parts, supplies, waxes, doodads and geegaws for pipes. All the finished and repaired pipes, those pipes that were waiting to be reclaimed by their owners, were hanging -complete with I.D. name-tags- on strings from the low ceiling. The ceiling dripped with briar and Meerschaum icicles. The buffing, polishing, staining, was all done in full view of the passers-by as they hurried to their destinations to nowhere. The repairman's hands betrayed his work. His fingers, especially his nails, were stained with all the colors of various pipes that he fixed. He worked quickly, skillfully, efficiently, and ignored almost all his viewers, gawkers, but I frequently stood by his window and watched him as he worked. I can't really say that he acknowledged me ,as stood and watched and he never chased me away either...which was an option that was often used by many, or any, adults-or-authority back in those days. When ordered, you either you moved on ....or, you quickly got your ass kicked. But, I do remember that once or twice he looked at me, letting me know that he knew I was watching him do his work. I didn't know it then, but just a few years later, by the time I would start smoking a pipe when I turned 16 years old, his shop along with all the thousands of other stores in that west of Broadway, south of City Hall area, would all be demolished, turned into dust and rubble, to make way for the erection of the World Trade Center/Twin Towers and other office buildings..... which were also turned into dust, and rubble. And graves.

In those days way back then, it was nice to spend a few minutes watching this skillful craftsman do his magic, to watch him restore well-used, well-loved pipes back to their full glory. Those diversionary hours that I spent shopping around, spent alone by myself, the hours I spent watching some guy repair old pipes, helped me to forget the recent, very frightening horrors, of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. I remember thinking that I was way too young to be forced to worry about such terrible things. After all, I was still a just a dumb-ass, 12 year old, kid! All this happened a lifetime ago. All those important markers that mark independence, or the coming-of-age.... transistor radios, hangin' out with friends, the high-school dances, buying rubbers, bar-hopping, first kisses, forgotten girlfriends, the proud ownership of one's first POS car......would all come later. Fast-forward....

WTF happened? Now, I'm old! Looking around, seeing the trajectory that this WOKE country is taking, makes me wish I was back, eating hot dogs, watching some guy repair pipes. Once in a while -when my stars are all perfectly aligned- smoking and relaxing with my favorite pipe-du-jour can magically transport me back to those innocent, far less stressful, days of my naive youth. But it's not good to dwell too long in the past. Memories are nice, and reality, might suck. It is what it is.

But strangely, many times I can't even listen to Iris Dement singing "Our Town".... without getting tearful.
"And they say the sun's settin' fast......"
 

Davy Jones

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What about Stanwell pipes? In Pipedia there is an article from smokingpipes.com that mentions that their factory was moved to Borup in 1969, to get closer to Sixten Ivarsson who was designing their shapes. It mentions that it's through this factory that Danish pipes were exported: "It was the Stanwell factory that first began mass exportation of Danish pipes and first whetted the appetites of Americans and Germans for the Danish pipe."
I think this could help the OP narrow down a specific year.

Stanwell - Pipedia
 

Niblick

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What about Stanwell pipes? In Pipedia there is an article from smokingpipes.com that mentions that their factory was moved to Borup in 1969, to get closer to Sixten Ivarsson who was designing their shapes. It mentions that it's through this factory that Danish pipes were exported: "It was the Stanwell factory that first began mass exportation of Danish pipes and first whetted the appetites of Americans and Germans for the Danish pipe."
I think this could help the OP narrow down a specific year.

Stanwell - Pipedia
History of Danish Pipes - Page 1 (pipendoge.de) This link should help you.
 
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