Baccy Pipes

Leave a comment

1946-1948 NOS Royalton Tru-Line

I picked up this unsmoked NOS (new old stock) Henry Leonard & Thomas, Inc. (HLT) made Royalton off Etsy. HLT was also the manufacturer of Linkman and early Dr.Grabow pipes.1.jpg

This is one the first HLT lines if not the first to use the new Ajustomatic stem.Van Roy pipes was first to use the Ajustomatic  same stem patent during the 1940’s but HLT had not purchased the Van Roy company yet as they did later on (around 1953). Both used the D. Lavietes  Ajustomatic stem patent.

This one is stamped with patent pending .13.jpg

That means the pipe dates between 1946-1948 ( if you want to be real technical as late as Feb. 1949)

The “Ajustomatic” stem joint is US Patent #2,461,905. Patent application was filed January 25, 1946, by David P. Lavietes, of Boone, N.C. He received his patent on February 15, 1949.
The patent documents for the Ajustomatic say D. Lavietes of Boone, NC applied to patent the feature January 25, 1946. It wasn’t patented until February 15, 1949, so  the Ajustomatic pipes between 1946-1948 would have been stamped “Ajustomatic Pat. Pend.”

The Royalton was one of the top of the line pipes for HLT.

Here is a picture of the Royalton Tru-Line sales board it came off of.

il_570xN.1061887790_9uoq (437x675).jpg

The pipe is a small billiard measuring 5 inches long by 1 1/2 inches tall. It has really nice grain and i could not find any fills on it. It also has the smoothest Ajustomatic stem i have ever used , even comparing it too some other NOS Ajustomatic pipes i have picked up over the years. This is by far the oldest NOS Ajustomatic i have ever owned. I have a Van Roy  Ajustomatic from about the same year ( was not NOS when i got ) and its no where near as smooth as this Royalton. Even after restored and oiled.2.jpg3.jpg4.jpg5.jpg6.jpg8.jpg9.jpg

The Royalton has a removable cleaner. The draw is excellent even with cleaner installed. It has a rather large opening in the metal tenon than usual screw in stems. A regular later model Dr.Grabow removable spoon bit is too small to fit in the Royalton.10.jpg11.jpg


I have not smoked the Royalton yet, but plan on breaking it in soon with a few bowls of 5 Brothers.100_1630 (800x600).jpg

The Royalton is still manufactured by Dr.Grabow today in Sparta,North Carolina although it does not use the Ajustomatic stem anymore like this one. The stems are no longer black but only come in a colored swirl pattern.

Until  Next Time,

Good Smoke’s To You.




Wimbledon Pipes : The History & Facts

I have been keeping my eye out for a Wimbledon pipe for quite a while, passing on several mostly because it was not the shape number i desired. I was hopping to find a #690 and had passed on one a few months ago and have been kicking myself since.I spotted this one on Ebay last week and knew it was the one I had been waiting for. I made a”Best Offer” on the sellers price and a deal was struck.s-l1600 (640x357) (2).jpg

s-l1600 (1) (1280x656) (640x328).jpg

It was the right shape number of # 690 ( Extra Lg. Billiard) and looked to be in excellent shape with a equally excellent blast. It just needed a good cleaning and removal of some stem oxidation and chatter.s-l1600 (2) (640x479).jpgs-l1600 (3) (640x384).jpg

There is incorrect information regarding these pipes on the internet that i would like to bring attention to, so i will be covering the history and facts of these pipes.

If you look up Wimbeldon pipes on such sites as pipephil or pipepedia you would come to the conclusion that because of the Diamond on the stem that this is a Braircraft  made pipe or some have even mistaken this for a GBD/Comoy  pipe. Although GBD/Comoy did make a Wimbeldon pipe ,both of these conclusions are incorrect.

These pipes were actually made in North Carolina by Sparta Industries better know as Dr.Grabow. These were actually coupon pipes for Borkum Riff Tobacco. Borkum Riff was owned at the time by the Swedish Tobacco Company.

I have been a been a long time member of the Dr.Grabow Collectors Forum .

I have learned a lot about the history of pipes made by HLT/Linkman/Dr.Grabow and other pipes associated with them such as Mastercraft,Royalton and the Smokemaster. Smokemaster is the product line that the Wimbeldon was made under. There is several members of the DGF ( Dr.Grabow Forum) that are really passionate on the history and facts of all thing Dr.Grabow related but the major person we have fallen onto for information is Ted. Most of the facts i will disclose in this post came from him. Here is the background on Ted and Dr.Grabow. He started with Grabow in 1966. Mastercraft in 1973. In 1982  he was Executive VP of Mastercraft, Grabow, and Spartacraft. In 1989  became President of the corporation. Now you can not get a finer Dr. Grabow pedigree that that in my opinion. Ted is now retired but still has a deep connection with the company.

Hopefully by the end of this i convince you and others that this is a Dr.Grabow made pipe with facts and evidence.

The Smokemaster name was purchased by Dr. Grabow in the 1960’s from from the heirs of the Briarcraft company.The  Smokemaster, LL Bean and later Wimbeldon were all made under the same product line. The earlier Braircraft  Smokemasters used a Diamond with a B inside on the shank and a B on the stem.

Here is a NOS Briacraft Smokemaster.il_570xN.1061571886_c2sh (501x370).jpgil_570xN.1108146999_b8yh (570x428).jpg

Black vulcanite stems are the same but with a white B on the stem.il_570xN.591689540_qxx8 (262x93).jpg

ALL Smokemaster , LL Bean and Wimbeldon with a diamond on the stem (colors vary from line and model ) like this Wimbeldon were made by Dr.Grabow and not by Briarcraft.

Around 1978 Dr.Grabow was looking for a name for the new Borkum Riff coupon pipe they were going to introduce. They decided on the name Wimbeldon.It is not really sure why they chose this name, but at the time the name was owned by GBD/Comoy. Dr.Grabow purchased the rights to the name Wimbledon from them.

GDB/Comoy Wimbeldon pipes can be identified by  a tennis racket on the stem and the stamping of Wimbeldon Made in England on the shank.


Now from research you can do on the web Braircraft closed its door in 1950 a full 28 years before Dr.Grabow acquired the Wimbledon name. In fact I am skeptical Braircraft ever made a Wimbeldon pipe. I have done pretty extensive research on them and prior to the GBD/Comoy Wimbeldon pipe I find no other pipe company using the name, including Briarcraft. I have even contacted a  Briarcraft collector and he does not own one or has seen one. I think that since people confuse the Dr.Grabow made Smokemasters /LL Bean  pipes with Briarcraft that they just assume Briarcraft made a Wimbledon as well.

If anyone has a Wimbledon with a Briarcraft stamp or logo I would very much like to see it!

I also picked up a this old  Borkum Riff tobacco tin with a original coupon inside solely  for this post.100_1565 (693x800).jpg

The first pipe is clearly a #690. These are all Dr.Grabow shapes with a 0 added on the end. Mine is a Dr.Grabow  #69 Ex. Large Billiard

100_1567 (800x782).jpg

Notice the North Carolina address.

100_1569 (800x739).jpg

Here is a quick snippet of Borkum Riff history.

‘Borkum Riff’ tobacco was launched in Sweden in the 1960s. It was a rough cut blend of Virginia and Burley tobaccos. The tobacco blend had been developed with an eye on the US pipe tobacco market. Initial sales were sluggish, but when Borkum Riff’s Bourbon Whiskey blend was successfully introduced in the US in 1969, sales increased.

Now remember Briarcraft closed its doors around 1950, so this is another fact that makes it impossible to be a Briarcraft made pipe.

Ok ,lets take a look at the Braicraft shape chart. Although Briarcraft has a LG. Billiard 69  shape ( middle of chart) it just does not quite look like our Wimbeldon.

s-l1600 (800x579).jpgs-l1600 (640x357) (2).jpg

Now lets pull out my  Dr. Grabow shape chart .100_1589 (1180x1280).jpg

The bottom right is where we want to zoom in on. There is the Dr.Grabow shape #69. I don’t know about you but it looks like a match to me.

100_1584 (800x563).jpgs-l1600 (640x357) (2).jpg

Once you have learned the Dr.Grabow shapes they are pretty easy to pick out from other pipes. The Smokemaster ,LL Bean an Wimbeldon pipes made by Dr.Grabow all use classic  Dr.Grabow shapes.

I have seen  these Wimbeldon pipes listed for sale on Ebay ,Etsy and other places that sale pipes as 1920,1930 and 1940 era Briarcraft pipes. It is just not true and it is AT LEAST a  30 year discrepancy . That to me is just too big a difference to ignore. Same goes with the Dr.Grabow made Smokemaster and LL bean pipes. The Smokemaster and LL Bean pipes were made from the 1960’s to the 1990’s. The Wimbeldon also ceased  production in the 1990’s.

The Smokemaster’s was a coupon pipe in Union Leader and I think Briggs. They were also sold through advertisement on Dill pipe cleaners and catalogs.Smokemaster+offer+in+Union+Leader+RJM+aa.jpgSmokemaster+offer+in+Union+Leader+RJM+ab.jpg

Of course the LL Bean pipes were sold out of the LL Bean catalog. Although LL Bean will deny ever selling tobacco and or pipes if you ask them now. PC , don’t you love it? Briarcraft LL bean pipes have no stem logo, stem banded and have the script stamping of “Aged Imported Briar ” on the bottom  ( like all Briarcraft ) on the shank. Like these 2 un-restored originals.

s-l1600 (640x340).jpgs-l1600 (1) (640x333).jpg

Hopefully i have convinced you on who, what and when on this Wimbelon pipe. So now lets look at the pipe after a good cleaning , buff and wax. Since this is becoming a long post I will skip all the usual  cleaning process and go right to the “After”.

Borkum Riff Wimbledon #690 coupon pipe  ( 1979/80 – early/mid 1990’s)1.jpg2.jpg3.jpg4.jpg100_1531 (800x664).jpg100_1532 (800x525).jpg100_1536 (800x750).jpg100_1543 (800x499).jpg100_1559 (800x378).jpg100_1564 (800x574).jpg

100_1571 (765x800).jpg

Even if you are not a fan of Borkum Riff tobacco you got to admit they made a good looking tin. My step father smoked this when i was a pre-teen and teenager in the 1970’s and the smell of it when it smoked  takes me back to that time.

100_1578 (800x783).jpg

The pipe smokes excellent (that is not Borkum Riff tobacco but lets just pretend for the pictures sake as I would rather smell it than smoke it ). If you get a chance to own one of these, I highly recommend them. They are a very good quality pipe and I really like the looks of them. The sandblast are the most common and the shape I see the most often is the # 810 author ( Dr.Grabow #81) not my favorite pipe shape so I have passed on them. The Plum French smooth ones seem to be quite a bit more scarce to me . In fact i did not even know they made them until I got the coupon in my hand, I thought Wimbledon’s only came in sandblast.

Well I hope you enjoyed this long post, but this has bothered me for a while that these pipes were being misrepresented as something they were not and wanted to get it off my chest. Hopefully I did not bore you too bad.

Until Next Time,

Good Smokes to you.

If you would like to know more about Dr.Grabow pipes or dispute some information on here then come on over to the Dr.Grabow Forum, we would love to chat pipes with you.


Early Kaywoodie Relief Grain 76B

I acquired this unrestored Kaywoodie  76B Relief Grain from my friend Shae who runs Vintage Pipes on Etsy. Thank you Shae.

Visit his shop sometime and look around. He has some fine restored pipes and pipe accessories for sale.

This was a  Kaywoodie shape i have in a Super Grain and its a favorite of mine. I wanted to also add one to my sandblast Relief Grain collection.

The pipe other than faded and dirty was in excellent condition.100_1427 (640x298).jpg100_1428 (640x299).jpg100_1431 (640x480).jpg100_1433 (640x303).jpg

When i went to unscrew the stem the metal collar had stuck to the tenon stinger and unscrewed from the pipe. 100_1435 (640x334).jpg

This is a result of sitting uncleaned for a long period of time and or sitting too tight allowing corrosion to build up from moisture left in the pipe. Its a easy fix though.

I was pleased its a early Relief Grain 4 hole stinger model. Relief Grain’s were first introduced in 1947 and still made til present day.Being a 4 hole stinger model puts this pipe most likely between 1947- early 1950’s before Kaywoodie went to the smaller 3 hole stingers. The shape number breaks down as

76B Medium English Billiard                                                 1938-1972

If you notice it has the black clover in white circle like a Flame Grain. I used to wonder why some pipes had this type of clover when they were most widely known as only used on the Flame  Grain model . One day while doing some research i found this comment about it posted by Bill Feuerbach on the Kaywoodie Forums. He is president of SM Frank who owns Kaywoodie pipes.

” All pipes  ( Kaywoodie) prior to 1937 had the white cloverleaf. The Flame Grain line, which came out in 1937 was the first to have the round logo, black inside the white circle and for those with a rock ambera stem, white cloverleaf inside a black circle. After 1937 as new lines got added, such as Gale, Meerschaum lined, they too would have the round logo. The white logo continued on the lower priced Drinkless line. As more lower priced lines came out they would have the white logo. Logos, both round and white were on top of the stem until the late 1940’s, after which they were moved to the side of the stem. Inlaid cloverleafs of both types were in use until about 1980. During that 1937 to 1980 span they were pretty much and indication of retail price point. The upper price points had the round logo and the lower had the white cloverleaf. There are always exceptions to the rule. As an example, lets say some pipes were being made as Flame Grain and the stems had the round logo. Along they way, some flaws may have popped up that would have caused it to be downgraded to say Standard or some that required rustication ( or sandblast) and turned into a Fine Line, so rather than refit the stem, they finished it out with the round logo. Pipes could be down graded but I would say never upgraded, so I don’t think you’d ever see a Flame Grain or a Centennial with a plain white logo. ”

So this Relief Grain was going to start out as a Flame Grain but got downgraded to a Relief Grain because of a flaw.

On to the refurbish.

The bowl had a good amount of cake in it. I could barley stick my pinkie down in it. With a some scrapping and some coarse grit paper i got it down to a nice thin uniformed coat .100_1440 (640x440).jpg

I let the stem soak in some 91% and gave the shank a good cleaning. After the stem soaked for a while i was able to unscrew the female collar from the stinger/tenon.100_1446 (640x478).jpg

I ran a pipe cleaner through the stinger and rigged it across my container of Oxy Clean and warm water to keep the metal out of it as much as possible to prevent corrosion to it while it removed the oxidation from the vulcanite.100_1449 (640x480).jpg

While the stem soaked i cleaned the briar real good with a mild cleaner i use. The rim char was quite bad and took a bit of soaking in alcohol and scrubbing to get rid of.100_1453 (640x480).jpg

After cleaning i gave the briar a good wipe down with mineral oil and screw the collar back in by hand. Once I tighten the stem back in place real good it will lock the collar in. The heat from smoking it a few times will also aide in securing it. No need for any type of glue or epoxy.100_1457 (640x439).jpg100_1458 (640x393).jpg

After taking out the stem from the Oxy Clean bath i gave it another good cleaning and scrubbing with 91% alcohol to remove any Oxy Clean or tar reside on or inside it.100_1461 (640x328).jpg

There was some small sharp teeth marks  around the button i was able to remove with a little heat and filling. The previous owner must have had teeth like a house cat.100_1464 (640x395).jpg

I then gave the file marks a good wet sand with 500 grit and then worked my way up to 2800 grit.I also gave the 4 hole stinger a good going over with 000 steel wool.100_1468 (640x392).jpg

Another good soak with mineral oil over briar and stem.100_1471 (640x400).jpg

After some  stem buffing i applied several coats of  carnauba wax .

100_1476 (640x480).jpg

Finished Kaywoodie 76B Relief Grain.1.jpg2.jpg3.jpg4.jpg4b.jpg5.jpg6.jpg7.jpg8.jpg9.jpg10.jpg

The stamping’s are a little hard to read from the picture. Its easier to read in person. The Relief Grain was mostly taken off during the blast process.11.jpg

I could still detect a slight ghost in the pipe after it was finished , but a couple of bowls of 5 Brothers straight burley took care of that. Its a great smoke for taking care of a slight ghost but its a pretty strong tobacco so if you don’t like large doses of nicotine, beware. I like it though ,but I’m mostly a straight burley smoker.100_1508 (640x467).jpg

Its a fine smoker and really light weight. I like these smaller long shank  76B’s for flakes and strong tobacco.

Til next time,

Good smokes to you.