We spoke with associate editor of Tobacconist Magazine, William “Cliff” Nelson this week who was doing some research into clay pipes and he asked us if we could talk about what kind of interest we’ve seen in clay pipes. Of course, Ken was at his incoherent best during the phone call. He was able to mention that interest has seemed to grow in the last few years, then quickly replaced his foot in his mouth and was unable to utter another intelligible sound.
But the call got me wondering about clay pipes and what’s going on. There has definitely been an uptick in clay pipe popularity, at least here at Pipeshoppe.com over the past decade. Some of that stems, of course from the ability to find clay pipes on the Internet even as it is becoming more and more difficult to locate actual pipe stores in the real world. I purchased my first clay pipes in pipes shops in or around Philadelphia back in the 1970s. Clay pipes have always been a part of my collection ever since. Early on they were used mostly to mark a special occasion, but eventually, they have become part of my normal rotation.
Another reason that clays are being added to the pipe smokers’ collections is the expanded choices now available. We started out with a few pipes from a handful of manufacturers who were still producing traditional pipes. Many of our more popular pipes in the late 1990s to early 2000s were the Pollack clay pipes made by Wilson’s in the UK, unfortunately, they have stopped making the clay pipes and unless the company that acquired the Pollack molds decides to ramp up production, those little gems will remain in the dust bin of fond memories. But as one door slams shut on the shards of broken pipes, another door swings wide open on the ever expanding production of German clay pipes from Markus Fohr. This new source is presenting a very large and unique assortment of pipes that has traditional briar and Meerschaum buyers becoming clay pipe curious, if not full fledged enthusiasts.
The variety of Markus Fohr pipes on our site can be a bit daunting for someone interested in trying a clay pipe for the first time. Where does one start? How to choose? We hope that by introducing the Markus Fohr clay pipe of the week you can treat yourself to a truly great clay pipe at a truly affordable price.