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Thread: Comoys Blue Riband Straight Grain 336 C

  1. #1
    PSU Owner dmcmtk's Avatar
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    Comoys Blue Riband Straight Grain 336 C

    I finished this yesterday morning, Comoys Blue Riband Straight Grain Made in England 336 C. The pipe turned out to be in excellent condition, chamber was sound, I had to remove some minor bite marks on the stem. When I began cleaning the pipe, I discovered the metal reinforcement in the shank that can be seen in the picture. More about that in a moment.

    I must thank Neill Archer Roan, noted collector of Blue Ribands, and author of the soon to be released book on the subject, for information about this pipe. Neill's book will be available from Briar Books Press in early May, with a pre-release signing in Chicago. Neill's blog Passion for Pipes is also full of excellent essays, and photographs of pipes in his collection.

    http://briarbooks.com/
    http://passionforpipes.squarespace.com/

    I must also thank Jonathan Guss who has done excellent scholarly research, particularly on Barling's Make, and helped Neill on the research for the book.

    Now, here are the before pictures,
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    PSU Owner dmcmtk's Avatar
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    And after,
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Moderator allyby's Avatar
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    A very pretty Prince Dave.

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    Super Moderator Markw4mms's Avatar
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    What a lovely pipe,. Excellent work, Dave! Congrats, and enjoy!
    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."- Benjamin Franklin




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    ADMINISTRATOR St. Bernhardt's Avatar
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    Many congrats on that beaut, Dave!

    You restored that pipe nicely!
    With kind regards, Bo


  6. #6
    PSU Owner dmcmtk's Avatar
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    My question about the shank, and dating the pipe,

    "Neill,

    Have you ever seen this before? A metal reinforcement in the shank end. I'm assuming it is part of a very well done repair. There is a very small crack on the shank, I was only able to see it with a 15x loupe. The reason I ask, is because of the similar treatment of the tenon end on the BR stems. The other thing I discovered, is the pipe is also marked Straight Grain. Were BR's from time to time marked this way throughout their production? I've only seen a few. Thanks again.

    Dave"

    "Hi Dave,

    Blue Ribands that are also stamped "Straight Grain" aren't all that common. I have several, but haven't seen many at all. I think this makes your pipe special. As to the metal ring, that is definitely an after-market fix. Comoy didn't do reinforcement rings at the factory. However, I prefer this solution to a metal repair band because it preserves the aesthetics of the pipe.

    Best wishes,

    Neill"
    From my first inquiry to Neill,

    "The pipe could not have been made before 1938 because Blue Ribands weren't made until then. It is very doubtful that it was made prior to 1950 because there was almost no premium line wartime production and they didn't start really making Blue Ribands again until the early 1950s. The pipes that Comoy did make during the War were limited to those made for soldiers only. These were cheap pipes.

    The 336C shape was not marketed until Comoy's 1965 catalog. They may have made it before then, but it is invisible in their production. The 336 number is pretty late in the series to be anything prior to a 1960s vintage pipe, and it is likely that it was in the 60s because that is when most Blue Ribands were made. By the late 1960s and early 1970s, Comoy was having serious problems making any Blue Ribands. By 1975, the production was just a handful (literally a half-dozen to a dozen pipes) per year.

    Despite what Derek Green wrote about stamping being a reliable dating guide, it really is not once you enter the War years. When Comoy restarted, they used whatever tooling they had. I've seen some pipes with very old stamping that were very late 40s and 1950s production."
    Further information, again from Neill,

    "I believe that the pipe is most likely to have been made in the 1965 neighborhood; it might be somewhat older. There is no way to know. The Made in England mark exists on some of my Blue Ribands, too, but what probably happened is that Comoy continued using stamps that were still usable as long as possible. They were quite cost-conscious. I've never seen a Blue Riband with the arched Comoy. I have several Comoys with that stamp, and it is quite a bit older. I'm pretty sure that the Comoy Blue Riband (2 lines) is ONE STAMP because I have never seen the lines even slightly misaligned."
    And the opinion of Jon Guss,

    "For the record I think Derek did a great job pioneering the dating of Comoys. I am convinced, however, that there is a lot of room for improvement for the next guy who's willing to put in what will probably be a massive amount of time. For one thing, I suspect that there are many Comoy catalogs that haven't been "found" yet; or at any rate aren't in general circulation. For another, I think another look at the "fossil record" of surviving pipes, on a much grander scale, will yield new insights.

    True precision dating with anything but a Dunhill though is pretty much a forlorn hope. I would guess that your pipe dates from the fifties or sixties, perhaps more likely the earlier part of the range. Partly that's based on the fact that since the line was introduced very late in the thirties, and since the war disrupted production for the bulk of the forties, I believe that statistically the vast majority of pre-Cadogan Blue Ribands extant are from the fifties through the first half of the seventies. I know your pipe shape existed in the early fifties because I've seen it in a catalog of that time. The other nomenclature is too poorly defined (in terms of definitive time scale) in order for me to feel confident about being more specific."
    So my conclusions from all this, my thinking is the pipe is from the period 1946-1955, with the old COM stamp being used, for the reason Neill describes, and also the lesser seen Comoys mark sans serifs and no apostrophe, which as Derek Green says, "Just after WW II, in 1945 or slightly later, the “COMOY'S” stamp was changed from the fancier curve to a straight line, sans serif, block lettered "COMOYS", with no apostrophe..." Now Green is referring to the different overall lines made by Comoys, Tradition, Royal, London Pride etc., but given Neills point about the Comoys Blue Riband stamp being one stamp, it makes me very curious what the stamp looked like during the brief period before the war.

    Some more historical information, The Blue Riband is an unofficial accolade given to the passenger liner crossing the Atlantic Ocean in regular service with the record highest speed, and dates to the early 19th Century, with the Cunard White Star Liner, Queen Mary, ultimately posting 30.99 knots (57.39 km/h) in 1938.
    The last vessel to hold the title was the SS United States, on her maiden voyage in 1952, the United States upped the Blue Riband to 34.51 knots (63.91 km/h). In 1958, the transatlantic airlines put jet transports into service and the days of the record breakers were numbered. Queen Mary retired in 1967, and the United States in 1969. The United States is still berthed in Philadelphia, with ongoing efforts to preserve her, and save her from the scrap yard.
    Last edited by dmcmtk; 04-24-2014 at 09:01.

  7. #7
    PSU Member vampeta's Avatar
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    nice pipe, great restore, great info, this are the threads that make this forum awesome.

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    Super Moderator HCraven's Avatar
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    Indeed, this is a very entertaining and informative thread, Dave, and of course you did a bang up job restoring the pipe. I love reading about the history of pipe making and learning about the esoteric details that give clues as to a pipe's origin and vintage. It appeals to my inner archaeologist on some level. Thank you for sharing your journey of discovery with this pipe.

    Incidentally, I've never seen an internal repair like that, and I'm rather intrigued. It does preserve the aesthetics of the pipe, As Neil noted. Any idea how this is done? Obviously someone much more clever than myself perfected the technique, but it seems very counter-intuitive.
    Herb

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    Moderator jimbo44's Avatar
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    Lovely job on a really great pipe Dave.

    Here's a link to the Derek Green article:

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...ek%20Green.pdf

  10. #10
    PSU Member purplemotoman's Avatar
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    Great turn out on the pipe and I enjoyed reading about the history research.
    BILL

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