The Mill
Oct.  27,  2016;
As I was posting pipes tonight (only a
Jorn Larsen, A Dunhill Cumberland and a
Rainer Barbi, if I get to it after typing this)
I noticed something that deserves
consideration.  While the proliferation of
Italian pipes and even U.S. pipes
continues, there are fewer pipes than I
remember on the Danish page.  I don't, of
course, know what it means, but I do
think it means something other than that
I personally have fewer Danish pipes to
sell at the moment, than in the past.  I'm
going to think out loud here; insights &
responses are welcome.
  Are there fewer Danish pipe makers?
Yes, I'm pretty sure.  And why is that?
Maybe because the market place seems
so daunting.  If you are a Teddy Knudsen
or a Kent Rasmussen, you are selling at
very high prices to Asian collectors, and
more power to you.  But, how does this
encourage a young, would-be Danish
pipe maker?  He might easily be
discouraged at the prospect of trying to
compete with these masters, while at the
same time conscious that it is unlikely he
will ever command such prices for his
efforts.  Although the thought of a
vibrant U.S. coterie might be alluring, it
is one's home market that is most likely
to engender the initial impetus, and that
market doesn't look so good right now.
  Similarly, two of the most important
medium priced Danish brands have
vanished.  Bjarne Nielsen's death left a
huge hole, both in my heart and in the
number of great, but attainable, hand
made Danish pipes.  They were a
mainstay of my store and doubtless
would have been featured on my site.  
Each pipe was individual and if I chose
wisely, they would have been good
sellers and good magnets for people
looking for value, individuality and
quality here.  
 Similarly, Stanwell is gone from
Denmark.  I would not have the heart to
put a new, Italian made Stanwell on my
Danish page.  For one, it would be a lie,
and for two, I won't have 'em, unless they
come in used and at a price that will
make them fit for the Specials page.  
  At one time, not long ago, Denmark
also exported Jarl, Kriswell, Bari  (still
alive, but only a shadow of what it was),
all producers of unique, non-freehand
shapes at great prices.  They're gone.  
  Peder Jeppesen (Neerup) makes good
pipes at excellent prices, but he's one
man and I have not been quite able to
snag his better pieces, although I did try
more than a couple of times.  He always
sells out quickly at shows.  
  In  a way that is almost opposite the
case for Bjarne & Stanwell, I can't get my
hands on the top carvers.  Teddy,
Rasmussen and others cost so much that
I'm scared to invest, thinking that I will
be stuck with multi-thousand dollar
pipes in my larder.  Not that they ever
have anything to sell to me, anyhow.  
Those days appear over.
  Other makers, like Tom Eltang, who is
still producing great pipes at fair prices
for the quality, are over-subscribed and
have trouble keeping up with demand.  I
am not demanding enough, which is a
weakness of mine.  I don't like begging
and don't think I should have to at this
stage of my pipe career.  That's probably
an undeserved arrogance on my part &
might better be chalked up to poor
business practice, but that's how I feel.  
  Those are the forces that I see, some of
which might be very minor, but in totality
add up to a declining pipe industry in
Denmark, one that could end up as
depleted as the English industry. If so,
this would be a sad case.  It is not
unprecedented, certainly.  Almost
nothing is coming out of England these
days.  David Field and I have been
scouring England for a good, carver of
classic shapes that we could import and
make available and there is not one to be
found.  The country from which all
prestigious pipes once came now has
few decent, recognizable brands to
claim.  (It could easily be argued that
legislation has done in the English pipe,
but that's subject for another time.)
  If you are an habitual searcher of the
pipe web sites (I am not...I'm too busy
here and not in the market for pipes) you
might take notice of what countries are
producing the most pipe makers and the
most pipes for sale.  My guess would be
the U.S., although I can not figure out the
reason, followed by Italy because Italian
craftsmen may think that there is a
market for their pipes, although I think
there is a glut of Italian pipes and may
never live to see the day when mine are
all sold.  
  If any other thoughts on this subject
crop up, they'll be shared with you all.  If
thoughts come in from my smart readers,
they'll be shared, too.  Stay tuned.

  Just posted were two beautiful (does
he make any other kind?) Rainer Barbi
pipes, unsmoked & on the German page,
of course. Also a Ferndown Silver Spigot
on the English page.  Check 'em out.

Pease Southlinch from 2002 NASPC show. $90
Friedman & Pease Winter's Tale.  $100
Three Nuns 50 g. from Germany, before the
warning labels on the front.  1 tin each.  $100
Balkan Sobranie 759 tall pop top 1 3/4 oz.,/50
gram tin, 4 available.  $400 each.
Balkan Sobranie Virginia # 10 50 grams. 4 tins.  
$290 each.  
For what it's worth to you, there are many more of
the Balkan Sobranie tins available.
New Tins arrived, including
Mephisto, Blackpoint, Abingdon, and a bunch of
others from 2003 and starting @ $40 a tin.  
Quotes & anecdotes from "The Portable Curmudgeon"

The earth has a skin and that skin has diseases; one of its
diseases is called man.    Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Man is a puny, slow, awkward, unarmed animal.
Jacob Bronowski

I love mankind.  It's people I can't stand.  Charles Schulz

To succeed in the world, it is not enough to be stupid, you
must also be well mannered.   Voltaire.

Manners are especially the need of the plain.  The pretty can get away
with anything.                                   Evelyn Waugh

He marries best who puts it off until it is too late.  H.L. Mencken

All tragedies are finished by death.  All comedies are ended by a
marriage.                                               Lord Byron

When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most
insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are
required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal and
exhausting condition until death do them part.   George Bernard Shaw

A ceremony in which rings are put on the finger of the lady and through
the nose of the gentleman.                Herbert Spencer

A friendship recognized by the police.    Robert Louis Stevenson

The dread of loneliness is greater than the fear of bondage, so we get
married.       Cyril Connolly

I got married the second time in the way that, when a murder is
committed, crackpots turn up at the police station to confess the
crime.                                 Delmore Schwartz

It is often pleasant to stone a martyr, no matter how mch we admire
him.                                     John Barth

There is a certain impertinence in allowing oneself to be burned for an
opinion.                               Anatole France

Women want mediocre men, and men are working hard to become as
mediocre as possible.                           Margaret Mead

The main difference between men and women is that men are lunatics
and women are idiots.                          Rebecca West

When an opera star sings her head off, she usually improves her
appearance.                                            Victor Borge

If you leave the smallest corner of your head vacant for a moment,
other people's opinions will rush in from all quarters.
George Bernard Shaw

The amount of noise which anyone can bear undisturbed stands in
inverse proportion to his mental capacity.
Arthur Schopenhauer

I can forgive Alfred Nobel for having invented dynamite, but only a fiend
in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize.   G.B. Shaw

Assassins!      Arturo Toscanini to his orchestra.  

Many a man in love with a dimple makes the mistake of marrying the
whole girl.                                                                       Stephen Leacock

Many a man has fallen love with a girl in a light so dim he would not
have chosen a suit by it.                                         Maurice Chevalier

Nature is a hanging judge.                            Anonymous

The murals in restaurants are on a par with the food in museums.
Peter DeVries

A mother-in-law dies only when another devil is needed in hell.
Francois Rabelais

Getting out of bed in the morning is an act of false confidence.
Jules Feiffer

On Marilyn Monroe: She was good at playing abstract confusion in the
same way a midget is good at being short.    Clive James

Morality is a disease which progresses in three stages:
virtue--boredom--syphilis.                                    Karl Kraus
This photo was taken only days before my beloved San Francisco
store, Sherlock's Haven,  was closed for good in June of '06, thereby
diminishing the quality of life on this planet no little and quite some.  
The man to my right was my trusty pipe tobacco and cigar taste-tester,
Johnson, of the sensitive palate.  He is now  plying his trade in
Phoenix.  The tall gent behind him is Jimmy Walker, hand picked to be
my successor until lease negotiations broke down.  The hoodlum
looking character to my left is my good friend and Consigliere, Steve
Brunner.  Among the regulars are a number who are still friends and
with whom I have regular intercourse.  There has never been a more
congenial spot than Sherlock's Haven, the Camelot of tobacco stores.  
As its proprietor is how I'd like to be remembered.
I wanted to caption this photo, "I knew more about pipes when I was
seven than you know now," but my P.R. firm nixed that idea.  So, let's
try, "With the pristine palate that accompanies youth, Marty smokes a
blend without a full complement of Latakia for the first time in his life."
I don't actually know what was going through my mind at the time, but
the photo was taken circa 1950, and probably in Williamsburg, Virginia.
(And no, I did not actually smoke a pipe until I was 18 years old, really.)
Shortly after my mother met my wife, she told Joy that all it took to
keep me happy in the back seat of our 1938 LaSalle during our annual
one week vacations was a pipe in my mouth and a cap on my head.  
Joy responded with the fact that nothing has changed except that now
I'm in the front seat.  
Above is my sister, with whom I contentiously shared that large back
seat, and my father.  The sweater was knitted by my Aunt Rae.  The
site was most probably Niagara Falls and the year 1949.  I'm guessing.
Welcome to Pulvers Briar
This website is devoted to pipes and my enjoyment of talking
about and showing them.  For your part, I hope you derive some
pleasure in seeing and reading about briar and meerschaum
There are plenty of pipe websites and lots of good pipes other
than mine.  What will distinguish my site from most of the others
is the willingness to voice my  opinion in the relatively rare
occurrence when a pipe is not superior, or has a noticeable flaw.
Mostly, I'm pleased with the pipes I choose to offer for sale, both
in pipe quality and price.  But please, look and decide for
You will see new and used pipes for sale, the new often having
been hand picked and the used always having been cleaned
and reconditioned and ready for you to smoke upon arrival.  
Please enjoy your time spent here today, and please come back
I'm almost always happy to hear from you and to field your
questions, concerns, ideas or other input.
Feel free to write.
Marty Pulvers
Pulvers' Prior Briar
P.O. Box 61146
Palo Alto, CA  94306

(650) 965-7403