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From: ????????????????????????
Subject: Pipes Digest #23 - August 27, 1989

		Pipes Digest #23 - August 27, 1989

In the pipeline:

 - Bill Thacker, with a short bit about connoisseurhood and "The Making of
   Tobacco" (volume 1);
 - Michael Lavery, with a request for pipe shops in The Buckeye State (hope
   I've got that right!);
 - Phil Gustafson, with word from two perennial favorite pipeshops in
   Boston, and some notes about the Bay Area;
 - and Yr. Obd't. Servant is so pleased with the response, that he'll limit
   himself to only the usual heckling! Thanks!

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From: ????????????????????????
Subject: Volume of articles

Our Most Aromatic Highness writes:

> I never expected a huge volume of messages, for a variety of reasons. 
> First off, we're a small group (about 20-30 members, not counting the
> digest echo into arpanet). It's not likely to get huge; I forget the
> percentage of people who smoke pipes, but it's something like 5%, and
> far fewer of us make a hobby out of pipes. We're never going to have
> the volume of soc.singles (not that we should!)

A good point;  and I would suggest that even some of "us" aren't
quite true hobbyists. Myself, for example.

As an analogy, consider wine.  Many people drink it; a fraction of
those really bother to learn about what they're drinking, enough to
know a few good vintages, possibly build up a small wine cellar, know
what wines to serve when, etc.  To translate this into pipe terms, I'd
say, would include knowledge of technical matters (for example, how
pipes are made; hand- vs. machine-carved,  pits and fills, finishes, etc.),
tobacco lore (how it's grown, cured, flavored, blended), history, etc. 
On that basis, I personally don't qualify as a "hobbyist", though
I'm slowly becoming one, thanks largely to this group.

BTW, I do enjoy receiving the digests on Mondays.  Anything is better than
getting down to work that morning... 8-)

Subject:   Tobacco Roots

There's one area of smoking I *do* know something about, and that's
tobacco growing.  Now, I don't know a *lot*, but I'll bet others in
this group can fill in the gaps.

My grandparents used to raise a bit of tobacco on their southwestern Ohio
farm, so this is mostly from youthful experience (I helped them from
the time I was about 9 years old until I went off to college).  They grew
Seed Leaf, a variety of tobacco used mostly for cigars, so take that as
a caveat; there are differences in how the various tobaccos are grown,
and I have experience only with this sort.

Tobacco growing is highly regulated, to maintain price control.  This means
that each grower has a "base", a certain acreage he is allowed to grow.
Each farmer grows as much as his base will allow, because it is a very
high-value crop.   It is also extremely complicated and labor-intensive.

Because each square foot of the base acreage is so valuable, great pains are
taken to ensure complete utilization.   The tobacco growing season begins
in early spring, when seedbeds are turned up.   A seedbed is a small plot
of land where the seeds will be planted and nurtured, until the "sprouts"
are large enough to transplant into the fields.  Young tobacco is slow-
growing and fragile; left on its own in a harsh world, it will suffer huge
"infant mortality" to insects, and to weeds which grow more quickly and
steal its sunlight and nutrients.

So the tobacco beds are spaded to up-end and us loosen the soil.  Next,
large metal pans (about 6 feet long and three to four wide (the width of
the beds) are inverted over the turned soil; into these pans is piped live
steam.  The purpose is to sterilize the soil; it is about to be heavily
fertilzed and pampered, which is weed heaven.

Steaming itself is rather amazing.  The steamer my grandpa hired each year
had an old Ford truck with the bed removed, and a small locomotive steam
engine fitted.  It looked like something out of the 1800's.  In fact, the
whistle was still fitted, and at the end of the job, he'd let go with a
long blast  (and sometimes he'd even let us kids pull the rope ! 8-)

Once the beds are steamed, 6" high wooden frames are erected around them.
The beds are fertilzed, then seeded; then a tent of thin canvas is 
stretched over them, to keep out insects and airborne seed (The
canvas is thin enough to allow sunlight in).  The beds are then watered 
daily and fertilized several times a week, until the plants have grown 
to a height of about six inches.  This period is sort of tricky;  too 
much fertilzer can "burn" the plants (the fertilizer is ammonia-based,
so too much of it can increase the alkalinity of the soil too far), and
too much water can lead to rot and mildew.

A word on seed.   My grandfather always saved seed from the previous year's
crop, and I gathered that this was the norm.   A gentleman at a local
smoke shop told me that tobacco quickly adapts to its locality.  His
example was the vaunted Cuban Seed Leaf, so coveted by cigar smokers.  He
claimed that, while seed could be taken from Cuba to other
locations, such as Honduras, and would grow Cuban-quality plants the first
year, the seed produced by those plants would be adapted to the
new environment, and produce a very different crop the next year.  I
don't understand this, genetically, but I suppose the differences
between the two tobaccos are small enough to make it believable.

In any case, tobacco seed is apparently quite valuable;  so much so,
in fact, the my grandfather carefully protected his, to such an extent
that I've never seen any !

My, how I do go on !   I can see this is going to run into quite a bit more
than I'd expected, so I think I'll break it into several installments.
We'll let our seedlings grow for a week, and next time, we'll discuss
tobacco setting.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Bill Thacker			att!cbema!wbt	     ??????????????????

[ "Our Most Aromatic Highness", indeed! We bathe at least weekly, whether We
   need it or not! Looking forward to Part 2 of your article, Bill! -S. ]

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From: ???????????????????????????????????? (Michael J. Lavery)
Subject: Pipes_digest - misc. matters

I have enjoyed the pipes_digest very much.  Reading the comments it seems
that I have been smoking a pipe for a very long time, that is, in
compairson to the times mentioned - I have been doing so almost 30
years.  My first was a prop for a production of a play as a Senior in
High School!!

But I do have a question:  Does anyone know of a pipe shop in Columbus,
Ohio?  I believe that it was on Gay Street.  I had dealings with them
almost a decade ago.  The were very big on GBD pipes - their exclusive
was a hourglass shape - which I have enjoyed for over 15 years.  I
wonder if they are still in business - I have lost the name and
address.  I could not at the time afford most of their offerings, but
did splurge on the hour-glass.  I have bought a few of the "cheapee" or
rejects from Connoisseur and have been satisfied.  Anyone remember
when they also sold coffee and tea in addition to pipes and tobacco?

	Lastly, an earlier message mentioned that an archive server
was running.  I have tried twice with no response.  Any additional
information?  Perhaps you could resend the address and indicate the

Michael J. Lavery
Big Electric Cat Public UNIX
Avoid Quiet and Placid persons unless you are in Need of Sleep.
		-- National Lampoon, "Deteriorada"

[ Hope one of our members who is familiar with the Midwest can help you out,
  Michael! Steve Shoopak, who runs the archiver, tells me that it's up and
  running now, after being put out of comission by a system crash. Try it
  again and let one of us know if there are any problems. -S.]

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From: ????????????????
Subject: Boston stores; age of college students; power tools; related matters

At SIGGRAPH this year I had the chance to check out some Boston smoking
haunts from my youth and am pleased to say they are doing fine.  
They include David P. Ehrlich's, L. J. Peretti, and Leavitt and Pearce.
Note that there are no cute business names.  Note that none of them are
in (my pet peeve) malls.  Note that all three of them
were founded before anyone we ever knew was born.*

Peretti's (Park Circle, at the juncture of the Common and the Public Garden)
is the most traditional in one sense -- it makes no particular attempt to
look old.  It just is.  The selection of tobaccos is complete and includes
many straight tobaccos for blending.  The pipes are varied and reasonable.

Ehrlich's (Tremont Street, between Scollay Square (now Government Center)
and Park Street, next to Erich Fuchs, a fine hobby store) is a little glitz-
ier, with fancy wood and such about.  The owner said that they had trouble
insuring their wonderful collection of old meerschaum, and that is had moved
to "the Tobacco Museum in Nashville."  I'd certainly like to hear more
about that place.

Anyway, I picked up one of their seconds ($12.95) for old time's sake, and
some tobacco, and some cigars of a new brand.  It was a good visit.

Like most tobacco stores, Ehrlich's has had to branch out a bit.  But 
instead of beer steins or statues of sailors, they decided to stock a
few fine wines.  Good for them.

(Smoker's Paradise is, as Norm says, a trifle weird. It has carried
"branching out" about as far as is possible.  The tobacco side
of the store includes very small and exotic-looking pipes, not to mention
Fat Freddy comics.  The other side is a lock shop with ton-sized safes
lying around.  If you have more than a few dozen old Dunhills, you might
need one :-))

Ehrlich's sister store, Leavitt and Pierce in Harvard Square, has changed
even less.  (College students have gotten young, though...)  For many
years _their_ sideline was board games, mostly chess.  They still have
lots of chess stuff, but have acquired a fine stock of go paraphernalia
and literature as well.  It was a good visit.


Norm, it was good to hear that you finished your pipe and that you liked
Andre's.  Good luck with finding a used lathe.  Unfortunately, things like
that don't seem to come on the used market until they're all beat up or
their owner dies.  The Unimat(tm) system seems to be of a good size
for pipes, and includes an indexing jig that you could use for the kind
of faceted pipes you described earlier.  With all the right pieces, it
would spend up most of a grand, though.  You can buy lotsa pipes for that.

The one pipe store in Soquel, whose name slips my mind, has a meerschaum
carving kit for sale, though.  You might explore that as a next project.

(Soquel is one town south of Santa Cruz, on the coast 40 miles over the
hill from Silicon Valley.  A nice place to visit, but not worth the haul
just for that store.)

*Well, they were founded a long time ago.  I was born in 1944.  My neighbor
at one house, a Mrs. Corcoran, was born in 1855 and lived till 1952.  I
received a watch from her as a posthumous birthday present.  Anyway, Mrs.
Corcoran may have antedated one or more of these stores.

I've used up my alloted time without even mentioning my new pipe.
Not the Ehrlich cheapie, which is giving good service, but the other one.
Wait for next time.  Smoke safely; the drought is everywhere.
Keep those contributions coming.


[ Thanks for all the good info - I've got to look into the Boston pipe
  scene at some point! Looking forward to hearing about your "other" new
  acquisition. -S. ]

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 )				       *   *				  )
( Pipe smokers will rule the world!      *   ??????????????????????	 (
 ) (if they don't run out of matches...) *   Steve Masticola, moderator	  )
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Article Index

  1. Subject: Pipes Digest #23 - August 27, 1989
  2. Subject: Volume of articles
  3. Subject: Tobacco Roots
  4. Subject: Pipes_digest - misc. matters
  5. Subject: Boston stores; age of college students; power tools; related matters
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