Custombilt :: Pipe Talk :: Pipe Smokers Forums
Read and join in the pipe and tobacco forums discussion. I just purchased my first Custombilt estate pipe. But I got past the Fernando Lamas philosophy (Billy Crystal's impersonation was awesome, but I am dating myself). Bill Unger's book THE CUSTOM-BILT PIPE STORY probably has this and makes mention of the symbols and their related dates in some of. Find great deals on eBay for Custombilt Pipe in Estate Pipes. Estate Tom Howard Custom-bilt (Custom Bilt) style Rusticated Tobacco Pipe . Harley Davidson's and Harley Davidson Parts Dating to the PanHead Years and Shovels and.
InLeonard Rodgers bought the company and emphasized tobacco pouches and butane lighters. However, it appears Mincer was working on his new pipe, the Doodler. InRodgers sold the Company to Consolidated Cigars. In the early s, Wally Frank Co. Hollco Rohr owned the Weber pipe factory, located in New Jersey, and produced the Custombilt pipes there. Inthe pipes were made out of the Butz-Choquin factory France and then Mexico until the late s.
Currently, the Custombilt name is owned by Tobacalera of Spain. According to Steve Frank, it appears that Carl Weber, the original owner of the Weber factory, never owned the Custombilt name as suggested by Hacker.
The Alternative History InMincer began a new pipe, the Doodler, that due to the holes in the bowl had to made primarily in a billiard type shape in three sizes. In the early s, National Briar was turning the bowls for Mincer. Based upon the documentation, it appears that Mincer made the pipe until the mid s, when National Briar Pipe Co. Mincer died in Based upon the information provided, Mincer seemed to always have money, production, distribution and other problems. Mincer was probably a terrific craftsman but a very poor businessman and administrator.
Mincer always seemed to be on the brink of going out of business, not meeting payroll and so on. Stuart finished nearly all the pipes produced, mostly carved and textured bowls and the occasional straight grain. Claude made the Tracy Mincer Pipe Company a moderate success. Currently, Jim Tedesco owns the Tracy Mincer name.
It is very rare to see a completely smooth piece. It should be noted that in the early days when the Custom-Bilt pipes were first being produced, these bowl sizes were considered very large and massive. The size of the average pipe was a group 3 or 4 sized Dunhill. The first thing that Bill addresses in his chapter on pipes is the quality of the bowls in the early years.
Rick Hacker, in his Rare Pipes book, suggests that Mincer bought blemished bowls from other companies and used the wood-working router to get rid of the blemishes. According to an important employee, Hetzer Hartsock, "Tracy used a very choice Algerian briar, and they were bigger blocks than what the other companies were using.
The Barclay Rex store, located in Manhattan, imported many bags of very large blocks of Algerian for use in the making of their in-store house brand. As mentioned in the beginning of the book, there were many variations on the stampings of Custombilt. The book reflects various examples of the stamps and tries to relate the stamps to the production years. There were also slight variations on these shapes. In the ads one notes many smooth pieces as well as carved pipes.
During WW II, it appears that Mincer stopped making smooth pieces and went strictly with carved pipes. Mincer also made the occasional cased set as well and also patented a filter pipe. Filter pipes were very popular at the time and were offered by many pipe companies.
Hartsock also did carved heads and other figures.
Custom-Bilt - Pipedia
Carved head and other such pipes were very popular at the time. One wonders what difference could have caused such a radical change in price. Carved Ramshead Custombilt, courtesy Doug Valitchka Examples and details, courtesy Doug Valitchka Geometric Markings such as these likely have to do with pricing, but there is no clear concensious on a system Another geometric marking example American companies such as Marxman were doing similar things.
It seems to me that Mincer was trying to show that the Custom-Bilt company was a complete outfit capable of making the same things as some of the "big boys" of the day. There were other variations, such as the Covertible removable bowlthe Saddle, Military Bit stems, and others. These pipes were based upon the original Custom-Bilt finishes using Greek briar. As mentioned, Tracy Mincer went his own separate way and "unveiled" the Doodler pipe in April, The Doodler is a ventilated pipe with holes and rings throughout the bowl that are used for cooling.
Some pipes featured silver bands. Claude Stuart produced many different styles of Tracy Miner pipes, including freeform pipes. Bill ends the book by writing, "It would be interesting to know how much the various pipe carvers at the various American pipe companies were aware of each other or communicated with each other in the s and s when pipe making was a booming industry in the United States. If you look closely at certain stamps on some of the major brands of that day, they are identical.
And I do not think that this was in anyway the point of the book. The various production values of this pipe are different than those collectable pipes made today. With the Custom-Bilt, it seems to me you are looking for the rare pieces carvings or smooths or early pipes that have an older stamp.
Here you can get a good-smoking, high-quality piece of Algerian briar for a reasonable price. You can use this book to identify those earlier or rare pieces. All the pipes were made from the same sized blocks, which were not of Magnum size.
- Custombilt Pipes
Other Comments The sense of adventure definitely comes through as you read this book. You can see the various discoveries that Bill made over time, the twisted paths, the limitations and so on. I call it modern day archeology-pipe history-and it is very important. Overall, this book contains a tremendous amount of information.
I recognize the vast amounts of information that Bill had to go through to get the true Custom-Bilt history. But occasionally the book is disjointed and related information is in different parts of the book. I do understand the difficulty, as certain events were happening at the same time and the date of all the catalogue information and illustrations cannot be precise. In addition, none of the companies date stamped their pipes, so there is some guesswork.
My one recommendation would be to develop a genealogy chart that visually details the various iterations of the company that would include the different models made by each company. This would help one to better assimilate and organize the information. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Bill did a great job and I highly recommend it. It is a must for the serious pipe collector. Rare large briar blocks were carefully selected for lightness and turned into big, bold shapes of exceptional balance.
Skilled hand craftsmen then carved the unique Custombilt design on those bowls deemed fully grained and distinctive. The steps of sanding and polishing followed to create a finish unmatcdhed for its feel, appearance, or luster.
The Custombilt Original of today is turned from rare blocks of Grecian briar and each exacting detail of yesteryear has been duplicated by our master pipe makers.
InLeonard Rodgers bought the company and emphasized tobacco pouches and butane lighters. However, it appears Mincer was working on his new pipe, the Doodler.
InRodgers sold the Company to Consolidated Cigars. In the early s, Wally Frank Co. Hollco Rohr owned the Weber pipe factory, located in New Jersey, and produced the Custombilt pipes there. Inthe pipes were made out of the Butz-Choquin factory France and then Mexico until the late s.
Currently, the Custombilt name is owned by Tobacalera of Spain. It has the characteristic Mincer like rustication patterns and shape. It could very well be from the Rich era of the brand. I went to work cleaning up this old timer. I was able to clean out the rustication and the grooves with this method. I rinsed the bowl under warm water to remove the soap and the grime. The first picture shows the soap on the bowl and the second through the fifth picture that follows show the cleaned and dried bowl.
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You can see the putty fills in the grooves. Fortunately all of them were in the grooves and not in the smooth portion of the bowl.
I scrubbed out the airway in the shank, mortise and stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until they came out clean. I thought about using the retort but chose not to on this pipe as it smells sweet and clean. I find that this sponge removes the grime and leaves the rim intact with no briar removed. I worked it on the sponge until it was clean and then used a cotton swab and alcohol to clean up what remained.
I sanded the stem with grit sandpaper to remove the tooth chatter and deeper tooth marks as well as the small gouges and oxidation on the vulcanite. With the internals of the shank and mortise cleaned I was able to put the stem back in place. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and took the cake back to briar. I used a Black Sharpie Permanent Marker to stain the rustication patterns on the bowl and shank.
Once I finished with that I wiped the bowl down with alcohol to soften the black and prepare the surface for the contrast stain.
I warmed the briar with a blow dryer and then stained it with Feibings Dark Brown that I had thinned with alcohol 1: I applied the stain and then flamed it with a lighter to set it. I repeated the process until I got good coverage. I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the wheel to give it a shine and even out the stain coat. The next photos show the bowl at this point in the process.
The contrast of the dark in the grooves with the brown really gives the briar a bit of pop. I was careful with buffing around the stamping as I did not want to damage the pristine stamping on this pipe.