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Thread: A Serious Question for the "Pipe Techies"

  1. #1
    PSU Member plugugly's Avatar
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    A Serious Question for the "Pipe Techies"

    So, listen up Dave, Jim, Anthony....Billy:

    Over the years, I've noticed that the vulcanite stems of pipes from some makers seem to have a much greater tendency to oxidise than those from others.

    The worst 'culprits' seem to be Charatan's Make pipes and (perhaps unsurprisingly, given their heritage) the early James Upshalls.

    Petersons, for example, don't seem too bad.

    So, does the composition of vulcanites vary, or is it just my imagination?
    Last edited by plugugly; 07-22-2018 at 12:03.

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    PSU Member Jorgen Jensen's Avatar
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    As far as I know ( know and know, what do know in the end) Silvertown Rubber Co. Ltd made the best British moulded stems.
    Down in Germany New York / Hamburg made good ones. They were used by stanwell. Former once said they were good.
    There were also Jeantet and Guidici stems.

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    Moderator jimbo44's Avatar
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    My Charatans oxidise if you look at them sideways!


    The composition of Vulcanite does vary - it's the amount of sulphur in the compound that's the culprit.
    Work is the curse of the smoking classes

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    PSU Member Piffyr's Avatar
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    The various manufacturers have all worked with different "recipes" for their vulcanized rubber products, Chris. Variations in raw materials, mixture ratios and the vulcanization process itself make each product unique.
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    PSU Member plugugly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piffyr View Post
    The various manufacturers have all worked with different "recipes" for their vulcanized rubber products, Chris. Variations in raw materials, mixture ratios and the vulcanization process itself make each product unique.
    Sure, but why does/did Charatan's recipe cause more of a problem? And why didn't they sort it out?

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    Moderator jimbo44's Avatar
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    Could be a few reasons:

    1) their source was easily workable and had a good "mouth feel";

    2) they didn't realise as the new pipes in the factory didn't show the problem;

    3) too many other problems with the Dunhill take over;

    4) too busy at the pub' (Charatan had a reputation for being a drinking society that also made pipes);

    5) the best Vulcanite came from a country that bombed their factory losing all their records (don't mention the war!).

    All these are guesses - and perhaps not very informed ones!
    Last edited by jimbo44; 07-22-2018 at 14:44.
    Work is the curse of the smoking classes

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    PSU Member Scottishgaucho's Avatar
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    Timely topic Chris....I had recently been thinking about this so thanks for posting.

    Discarding recent purchases my vulcanite stemmed pipe collection amounted to a vast three pipes....an Alco, a Bewlay and a Peterson. I also have/had a Brentford but haven't seen it kicking about since we moved here. The worst culprit for oxidisation amongst the three is easily the Peterson.

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    PSU Member plugugly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo44 View Post
    Could be a few reasons:

    1) their source was easily workable and had a good "mouth feel";

    2) they didn't realise as the new pipes in the factory didn't show the problem;

    3) too many other problems with the Dunhill take over;

    4) too busy at the pub' (Charatan had a reputation for being a drinking society that also made pipes);

    5) the best Vulcanite came from a country that bombed their factory losing all their records (don't mention the war!).

    All these are guesses - and perhaps not very informed ones!
    Jim, it'll be the pub, no. 4) - nae doot!

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    Moderator Markus1970's Avatar
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    Hello,

    My three James Upshall pipes are the same, oxidised very quickly. But may have sat around in Peter Heinrichs' shop for some time when I bought them. Nice and black stems then, but the oxidising started quickly.

    Blakemar Briars is mixed. A pipe from their cheapest series bought in 2013 started to discolour upon first or second use, but only a little and didn't get worse after that. A slightly more expensive one is average in terms of turning yellow. The more expensive one bought in Nottingham last year is just fine, still black. And a cheapo also bought at the Nottingham show in the same year is just fine, but also sees less use.

    Best wishes
    Markus

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    PSU Member Piffyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo44 View Post
    Could be a few reasons:

    1) their source was easily workable and had a good "mouth feel";

    2) they didn't realise as the new pipes in the factory didn't show the problem;

    3) too many other problems with the Dunhill take over;

    4) too busy at the pub' (Charatan had a reputation for being a drinking society that also made pipes);

    5) the best Vulcanite came from a country that bombed their factory losing all their records (don't mention the war!).

    All these are guesses - and perhaps not very informed ones!
    Very good, Jim. I'll put an addendum to #2 to say that the rate of surface deterioration may increase with age. So, what is a problem now, may not have been a problem then.

    It could also come down to the simple fact that they had a good business relationship with a reliable supplier. Sometimes, that counts for more than anything.
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