There’s smoke on your computer screen, thanks to this selection of ads from the late ’40s and ’50s, mostly from the Daily Princetonian and Yale Daily News.
Leave a comment if this post inspires any of you young men to take up the briar. Chens started at age 21. — CS & CC
I bought my first pipe in 1989, also at the age of 21. I was a senior at the University of Missouri at Columbia. A fraternity brother and I, already smokers of good cigars, decided it was time to diversify, so we each purchased a pipe and a pouch of Donegal Bay tobacco from the aptly named Jon’s Pipe shop just north of the legendary Shakespeare’s Pizza.
I’ve since gone back to cigars as my principal smoke, but I still have my trusty pipe for those occasions when the mood strikes.
The Kentucky Club ads steal the show.
As possibly the youngest regular on this blog, I can assure you that the raging anti-smoking campaign (that seems to have been going on my entire life) has deterred the vast majority of guys my age from smoking anything more than a cigar regarding tobacco. Marijuana, on the other hand, hasn’t yet been demonized.
I smoke hand-rolled cigarettes about once a week, usually rolled with Sutliff pipe tobacco. Quality tobacco shops are few and far between (most advertised tobacco shops are actually head shops). Whenever I walk in, or anyone my age I’d imagine, the patrons inside greet me with a strangely warm desperation, as if to say, “you’re the only thing keeping us from going out of business and disappearing forever.”
Usually, when I offer a hand rolled cigarette to others at a party, they refuse, believing that they will taste like a Camel or Marlboro. As soon as the aromatic scent catches their attention, they can’t stay away.
How young is young?
And who else thinks that’d be a pretty cool follow-up to have this kid expand on his comment and run a photo of him dressed like a young gentleman with cigarette dangling from mouth.
Unless his parents come after me…
I’ve been a regular on this site since 2011 when I was in high school. I am now in my final semester of college. I actually found Ivy Style through a neo-reactionary blog which, considering the demographics of this blog’s most frequent commenters (leaving AEV as an outlier), isn’t a huge surprise. I only found out smoking a pipe is Ivy after the fact.
I’d be happy to post a picture, except for the fact that I would have 15 septuagenarians hammering on their keyboard that my rise is too low, my shirt is too slim, and I’ll never know what it is to own a brand new ’64 BB OCBD with that picture perfect collar roll.
The biggest problem is…I would probably agree with them.
Someday we should have a post that participants state their ages, general geographic location and what local shop they frequented in college / high school.
“my rise is too low, my shirt is too slim”, they warned you that smoking would stunt your growth! 😉
Speaking of quality tobacco shops, I stopped by Nat Sherman’s in NYC the other week to pick up a cigar for my sweetheart. The sales staff are terribly helpful and knowledgeable about all of their products and definitely can hand-hold a first time buyer through the selection process. I really wished I smoked so I could enjoy all of the ephemera that surrounds that relaxing pastime.
JDD, you’re absolutely correct about AEV. While his trenchant critiques of Fred Castleberry hit the bullseye every time, his far-left political comments means he gets skewered by the more reasonable readership of this site on a regular basis (such as my take-down of him here, in comment 94).
The anti-smoking campaign has been going since at least the 1970s, when I was a lad. At that time, however, they were at least honest enough to acknowledge that some people could smoke without apparent ill effect. I heard that the studies on secondhand smoke were cherry-picked, and that secondhand smoke is far less harmful than we have been lead to believe; I offer this as hearsay, not fact.
As for pipes, I am lucky enough to have almost all of my father’s pipe collection (he no longer smokes pipes, but still enjoys cigar). He started his collection when he was a college student in the 1950s, so I have a variety of broken-in pipes.
As for tobacconists, I am fortunate to live reasonably close to Hellam’s Tobacco, California’s oldest tobacco shop. They mix their own pipe tobacco, and will let you sample whatever you like if you bring in your own pipe. I like their RLP-6 blend (I have no idea what the name means).
I started smoking a pipe as a freshman in September, 1961 and smoked regularly until 1994.
My favourite tobacconist’s shop was Drucquer’s in Berkeley.
I frequently ordered pipes and tobacco from David P. Ehrlich (Boston), Leavit and Peirce (Cambridge), and the Owl Shop in New Haven.
Here’s a link to the complete 1962 Owl Shop (New Haven) catalog:
Enjoy this selection from other tobacconists: (Click pages to continue)
Drucquer & Sons Ltd pipe tobaccos I remember:
That’s actually where I worked after college.
True pipe smokers must check out Keene’s Chop House @ 36th & 6th Ave in Manhattan. Founded in 1885 for men only, it now houses 90,000 Churchwarden’s pipes visible in the walls and ceilings, the world’s largest collection. Patrons left their pipes there for safekeeping for something like five dollars yearly.
If I might be permitted a tobacco recco–McLelland’s Arcadia. Also, if you haven’t read the classic “My Lady Nicotine” you are in for a treat.
Pipe-smoking at B.U.:
Plus an ad we saw in 2011 but which will surely be of interest to those who haven’t seen it:
I was in college in the mid 80s. As I recall, there was a military appropriations scandal that involved the pentagon paying exorbitant prices for gold-plated ashtrays on B-52 bombers.
The media (who were old people to me and my friends at time) just drew attention to the prices – “$250 per ashtray!!” (or whatever the actual figure was). Meanwhile, my friends and I were listening to the news saying “What the Hell are those guys doing smoking up there??”
It was a generational gap. We who’d grown up in the 70s thought of smoking as something that one shouldn’t do. Certainly not with nuclear weapons nearby. Our elders had grown up when smoking was so totally normal that only the fact that the ashtrays were expensive was worthy of comment.
The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit also smoked a pipe:
There’s something that looks out of place when I see people under the age of 50 smoking a pipe. Tobacco pipe that is.
Absolutely. But what’s interesting is to step back and look at the whole sweeping historical timeline. For four centuries, or from 1570-1970, it was completely normal for a young man to smoke a pipe (Huckleberry Finn in Twain’s novel smokes one, and he’s 12!)
It’s only the past two generations, and again all the changes since the late ’60s, that it became passé and we now associate it with old men.
And as you point out, it’s more normal now to imagine a young man with a bong than it is with a tobacco pipe. Quite a different world from the one depicted in those ads.
In my childhood, it was even acceptable for Curious George to smoke a pipe.
It should also be remembered that until the Great War, men didn’t smoke cigarettes. In the 19th century, men smoke pipes, cheroots, or, if they could afford them, cigars. (Cigars were hand-rolled and more complex than cheroots, and hence more expensive than the loose mundungus people stuffed into their pipes, or cheaply-made cheroots.) Cigarettes (whether hand-rolled or mass-produced) were considered dainty and effeminate. But during the mass conscription of 1914-1918 all the European armies, and the US army, issued mass-produced cigarettes as part of the troops’ rations. The great war generation on both sides of the Atlantic was the first that considered it normal or acceptable for men to smoke cigarettes.
I guess J.R. “Bob” Dobbs, with his emblematic pipe, could be considered an Ivy Style icon. The disembodied representation of his head omits the button-down collar on his shirt. But to show his neck would involve showing the wattle. And unwary pinks could be damaged if they beheld the wattle . . .
Sad to see it all go.
I began pipe smoking after my father died far too early, when I was a college freshman (1965-66) and “inherited” (appropriated, by default) his collection of roughly two dozen, mostly the Canadian style. I then began adding to the collection a pipe at a time, carefully breaking them in, with the help of the owner of a wonderful tobacco shop in downtown Lawrence (KS), one complete with a large wooden Indian out front. Can’t recall any names, but the man knew his stuff and was a master repairman, even crafting his own pipes. We had many good, long visits.
I loved a good cavendish tobacco; my everyday, go-to brand was Amphora Brown because I could find it almost anywhere and because I so loved the flavor. (No fruity stuff, ever, please…) As I recall, my favorite was a cavendish from Fred Diebel’s tobacco shop on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City – when I could afford it.
Over the years, I suppose I acquired 60-some pipes and I loved them all. By style, they were mostly Canadians and Liverpools with the long-ish stem. I also had a few lumbermen, billiards, bulldogs and a freehand or two. Favorite brands were Savinelli, GBD, Dunhill, Grabow, Peterson and others I can’t remember.
I did smoke cigarettes (Camel, Lucky Strike, English Oval, Sweet Afton); Sweet Afton, to me, was nearly as good as a pipe. For cigars I preferred Joya de Nicaragua No. 6. That, or a good Churchill.
I’ve not smoked in a good number of years, mostly because I just got tired of all the hassle, the nagging. (That and recurrent bronchitis.) It’s a different matter at home, in my library or study, now and then firing up an old friend – say, a long Canadian Savinelli with a fine, perfectly packed cavendish, watching the smoke curl up in great clouds and taking it in, in little “gulps”, as we conclude the perfect light-up and sit back to think on the old times, when a good pipe really did matter. A lot.
And here’s an image from the first Superbowl (and I know it wasn’t called the “Superbowl” at the time):
Lenny Dawson, QB of the Kansas City Chiefs.
I used to smoke pipes when I was in my 30s. They tasted great, but the next morning my mouth felt like an army had marched through it–with muddy boots. So I gave it up. I’m content with enjoying the aroma from others’ pipes.
So enjoy it, but don’t come crying when a stray ash burns a hole in your OCBD or Southwick jacket. It will happen!
Once upon a time, L.L. Bean sold not only oxford cloth buttondown shirts with proper collars, but also their own brand pipes and tobacco:
I had a Brooks Brothers pipe many years ago, and a several very nice ones from Abercrombie & Fitch.
Brooks Brothers also had their own brand of pipe tobacco:
I also took up a pipe at 21, now 22 and still puffing away! Occasionally hugely enjoy a fine cigar when funds allow but otherwise Samuel Gawith’s Squadron Leader for me please in a straight bulldog or military mount billiard…
Ps. I live in the United Kingdom but had the pleasure of visiting the Owl Shop in New Haven just after Christmas. What a place and just down the road from J Press too, who could ask for more eh. Keep up the good work on Ivy Style, it’s very much enjoyed and appreciated!
Pps. More from G. Bruce Boyer!
All this talk of pipes and no mention of Millicent Fenwick. Well, then–
Dunhill Bruyere. 2103.
Mater always contended that men who smoked pipes had never been properly weaned off their dummies. Furthermore, in dear old Blighty they’re still far too closely associated with sandals and beards.
I have fond memories of the aroma of my grandfather’s pipes. (His cigars, not so much.)
Me, for whatever reason it never occurred to me to start in with any form of tobacco.
Not to cut the wheel, but has anyone any experience with Read Wall? They make a custom 3/2 sack for under $1,000. This is the best photo I could find of the product: http://instagram.com/p/w6p8fkOD_y/
JDD – I have no experience with Read Wall, but am traveling to DC in the spring and thought about popping in to check out offerings first hand.
Some pipe-related campus humor from the 1920s:
For those who like the aroma but don’t want to actually do the work of smoking, General Knot & Co.’s smoke & cedar candle:
I started to smoke a pipe at age 14, back in 1966. Back then, pipes were considered a safe alternative to cigarettes, and the Hefner “Playboy” mystique still was at its height. Smoking today is akin to being a complete degenerate, and there are few public places where anyone can smoke.
Every drug store in every city or town had racks of cheap to moderate price pipes, in addition to a variety of tobaccos, which rivaled the candy counter in brands. Most men, from well to do to factory workers, smoked 20 to 30 cent pouch tobaccos. Drug stores also carried a few imported premium brands.
I can recall sending away for free tobacco samples back in the late 1960’s, early 70’s. Even companies like Wally Frank (anyone remember them?) sent out free pipes on occasion. I recall getting a nylon Falcon type pipe with a horribly flawed screw in bowl, just for sending in a questionnaire. A terrible looking and smoking pipe, but free. My first pipe was a pear shaped Willard, a Kaywoodie clone. That and a package of Half and Half tobacco cost $1.75, including tax.
The good old days?
Just fired up a bowl of Crown Achievement:
$38 for a candle? I’ll take a dozen!
Borkum Riff was my occasional smoke dating back to my teens, but I have not tried it in perhaps 35 years or more. Probably a déclassé brand, but my father was not a smoker, and I knew no better. I was never an exclusive pipe smoker, but in the 70s and 80s I enjoyed a leisurely pipe from time to time. I still keep a few pipes around, and will buy an ounce of some sort of Virginia blend now and then from one of the local tobacconists. The college tobacconist here in the 70s and 80s was called Mincer’s Pipe Shop (formerly Mincer’s Humidor). It is still located in the same spot across from the university and is still called Mincer’s, but now sells primarily T-shirts and other UVA branded junk. Not a pipe or cigar to be seen.
My grandfather was a simple man. Not a lot of anything except grit and humor. He had two pleasures of his own: a yellow-ish leather armchair and his pipe with all its accoutrements. As a lad, I took pleasure out of watching him enjoy himself after a hard day at his general store, and center stage of his relaxation was his pipe. Thanks for the memz.
I remember Grandfather amoking 2 to 4 times a year, almost always from his burled billiard with its little upside down white spade inlaid in the black stem. His blend was Captain Black. I remember it having a caramel-like creamy aroma. Once I also saw him smoke a camel cigarette that he pulled out of a pack that might have been 15 years old. He only smoke cigarettes when stressed. My Father compulsively smoked, cigarettes, pipes, cigarillos, cigars, whatever was to hand. He once smoked an entire carton of Marlboros in a single day. He also smoke Dunhills, Camels, Pall Malls, and occasionally Al Capones and for parties to show off, he could do trocks with Dunhill Fantasias though I recall always thinking those rainbow colored cigarettes were ridiculous.