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Old George

October 15, 2011

Ever had one of those pipes you take for granted? You know the one. It’s always in the rack, generally un-noticed and not the prettiest piece of briar in the collection that is your pipe rotation. And yet it still remains there because it’s the one you go to when you have to do stuff. Stuff like gardening, walking the dogs, cleaning the car or stacking next years firewood. I have one. It’s an old billiard from Georg Jensen. I know it is twenty four years old. The pipe is clearly stamped “SSM 87”, which means that it was produced for the South Sealland championships in 1987. This pipe then, has a history. I picked it up many years ago in a local auction. I remember it being in relatively good condition and it was fairly easy to clean it up and refurbish. It hadn’t been smoked much. Things have changed since then and “Old George”, as I call it, became one of my regulars for outdoor use. Rain or shine, this fellow comes with me and takes a hammering, time after time, and still keeps going strong.

IMG_4306The Georg Jensen I know of was not a pipemaker. He was a designer. Designing everything from chinaware to decorative gold and silverware, furniture and lord only knows what else. It might be an idea, to try to find out who made this pipe. As it was made for a championship, there must have been quite a few made, which would probably involve some kind of industrial production. That limits the field slightly but still leaves a dearth of options. I may have to research this. I just piqued my own interest.

But I digress. The old pipe is a very good smoker. It delivers every time I light it and it does not appear to be fussy about what I offer it. It smokes both Virginas and latakia blends with equally good results, doesn’t ghost easily and has always been a sweet pipe. It has never soured, despite my abuse of it. As I said, it isn’t the prettiest piece of briar I own but it is surprisingly dependable. There is a smidgeon of cross grain on the front of the bowl but nothing to get excited about. It does have a general pleasant appearance though, being from a bygone era where billiards were stylishly longer than high. The stem is exactly half the length of the pipe. Easy draw, lightweight and comfortable, I suppose that’s why I hang to this old warrior. In fact. I wouldn’t be without him.

Markings: “Georg Jensen Pipes”. “Made in Denmark”. “SSM 87”. And here’s the one I wonder about, “Goodwill”. Which has me thinking of Kriswill as a possible maker.

Dimensions: Length: 157 mm. Height: 50 mm. Bowl Ø: 36 mm at the maximum. Chamber: Ø 19 mm x 41 mm deep.

So how about you, dear readers. Do you have a pipe that that can take it the way Old George does? Let me know.

…and the mystery is solved. Thanks to some hard work by one of my readers..
The pipe maker is a Per Georg Jensen. Now working for MacBaren tobacco. I clipped this from the MacBaren website and I hope they will forgive me for this:

Throughout my adult life I have been among pipe smokers – the first 23 years as a pipe maker with Georg Jensen Pipes and the last 4 years as ”Tobacco Professor” at Mac Baren.

So, there he is.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. David permalink
    October 16, 2011 09:46

    Yep, by golly, I do have a pipe like that! The Savenilli Roma #305 has been a real “War Horse”. I can smoke it all day and it never sours. It’s very comfortable between the teeth or held in the hand. It’s not one bit fussy as to the type of tobacco I feed it. It has been with me on many a fishing trip and has been a faithful friend throughout.
    My only “con” about the pipe is, I wish the bowl was a bit larger.

    Hi David. I have a few Savinellis too. A punto oro among them, and old champagne full bent thats been round the block a few times! If you keep the chamber on that Roma clean and well reamed, I’m sure it will continue to be a faithful friend despite it being slightly smaller than you wish.

  2. Kari Johansson permalink
    October 16, 2011 09:58

    Hi Exile!

    These Georg Jensen pipes are really nice pipes. I have a lot of these pipes in my collection,
    and they are very nice to look and smoke, a real treat!
    In a link below you can find some of these.

    Best regs, Kari / Finland

    Hi Kari, many thanks for the pictures. I see you have a Stanwell no. 88 too. A classic pipe if ever there was one. Nice collection of billiards.

  3. Eric Boehm permalink
    October 17, 2011 13:14

    What a great little story. Read over my black coffee and first pipefull of the day. I too used to have some ugly ducklings in the rack, having smoked a pipe for going on 20 yrs. now. These no name pipes did however, like yours, deliver a good smoke. A couple of years ago I decided to sell them, to thin the herd. And yes, I now regret having done this. What I got for them was not worth getting rid of them. Oh well, I did replace them with Ashtons and Dunhills. Some of which smoke almost as good as they did. Haha.



    Hi and thanks for the comment. Yep, gotta be careful when thinning the herd.. but some nice replacements! I speak from bitter experience!

  4. Arko permalink
    October 17, 2011 20:15

    Yup, I know what you mean. You actually know one of mine – an old BBB that you sold me last year. Not exactly a pretty pipe, but man, it does what it is supposed to do and always provides a perfect smoke. Especially when I pack it with a Virginia. And even though I have far more fancy puffers in my collection today it won’t ever leave it. It’s a trusty friend and I take good care of it.

    That aside, I’m not sure you’re correct regarding Georg Jensen. It’s not THE Georg Jensen, you know, the guy famous for jewellery etc. (if that’s the guy you’re thinking of here). I thought so too for a long time, and so does a whole lot of people who wants to buy a pipe of this brand in the Danish Pipeshop on Strøget (where I work these days). It is in fact a different Georg Jensen. I can’t remember how or where I found out, but if you look at the years it sort of shows. The jewel guy lived from 1866 to 1935, and the pipe company was first established in 1954.

    But with that said, it’s an understandable mistake. There’s not much info on these pipes available. These days there isn’t even too many of the actual pipes available anymore. Right now they’re not in production and the ones that can be found (new) in shops are almost only the Granat series, which is the only ones left in stock. It’s STG (Scandinavien Tobacco Group) that owns the name today, and they focus hard on the Stanwells. What the future will bring for the Georg Jensen name is uncertain.

    Well, I hope you’re good! It would be interesting to hear how the homegrown leaf turned out. Feel free to drop by Strøget some day and smoke a pipe. Drop me a line if you want to know when I’m working.

    OK Arko, thanks for the supplementary information. I said it needed researching! I also believe the family concern carried the name forward after The Georg Jensen, which is where the confusion arises. So, you’re working at The Pipe Shop. I’ve been a customer for years and knew Steff quite well. I haven’t been there since he died so suddenly. I must drop in some time soon.

  5. Arko permalink
    October 17, 2011 21:00

    No problem, my friend. I’m sorry I couldn’t throw in a informative link.

    Steff was a nice guy, it was sad to hear about his death. But it’s nice that the family decided to keep the shop (and even give it a good upgrade, also on the web). It’s his son Nikolaj that runs it today (along with his other job), and the grandson Daniel is also there. So is Niels who has been there for years. And then me.

    A lot has actually happened since Steff left this world — we are working hard on getting both new and old names in the catalogue. Winsløw and Nørding has been represented for decades (as you know), but lately we’ve been adding people like Tao, Manduela, and Neerup, and soon we’ll have Eltang too. We’ve got so many pipes on the walls and in the drawers that we’re almost out of space! Oh, and another thing: today we got a shipment of Astleys tobaccos! We thought it was long gone and out of production, but Nikolaj and Niels met the guys from K&K down in Germany a little while ago and now it’s back in DK. Pretty cool if you ask me. I tried no. 44 today — wow, that’s a powerful Virginia flake! Yes, come and check it all out, it would be great.

    OK, didn’t want to hijack the thread here on your fine blog. But hey, you know how it is — it’s been a while since our last chat.

    Best wishes to you and the family.

    Comment and added content is what this place is all about. It helps people to learn, allows me to learn more and is here to perpetuate the wonderful way of life that is pipe smoking at its quintessential. Thanks for the update on the Pipe Shop. I knew the family was continuing but I’m also very glad to hear that it is flourishing. Anything I can do to help one of the last surviving tobacconists is of utmost importance. Maybe I should blog a potted history of the place? Or is that something for you?… My thanks for your input here.

  6. November 2, 2011 21:51

    Used to love watching and the smell of my Dad smoking and relighting his pipe. That big cloud and bellow of fresh pipe smoke WOW.

    The strange thing was the glory of smoking the pipe was ruined by giving him the hiccups!

    Ah. The dreaded hiccups! Usually a sign of tobacco being smoked too quickly or the nicotine content being a bit too high… Happens to us all at some point!
    Nice memories though..

  7. vinnie799 permalink
    February 3, 2012 04:09

    Yessir! I have a few like that. A friend of mine passed away and his wife left me all his pipes and supplies. The really cool part is that he stopped smoking in 1973! I recieved the pipes six months ago in June/July 2011. There were aboutr 40 all totaled. I’m not going to go into all of them but there are a couple of Everyman’s, Comoy seconds, that are not real pretty but have delightful lines and they smoke rather well. Everytime, anywhere.

    Sorry about your friend but congratulations on getting the pipes. What a great memento. Comoys were great. An underrated British line. Unfortunately. I don’t own any!

  8. August 24, 2012 18:39

    Such a pity that MacBaren tobacco is no longer sold in Mexico! I used to love it. Congratulations on such a cool blog!

    Thank you Sir. If I ever get to Mexico, I’ll bring you some!

  9. JimC permalink
    March 21, 2013 18:47

    Sure do – my long stemmed Handcrafted McKie Pipe. It’s light, smokes well, and is nicely handcrafted but can sometimes get taken for granted in my collection of 30+!

  10. June 1, 2014 20:06

    O yes, I have 3 GJ, one I bought in 1980; till today my favourite. Wish I dotted down the markings way back because now, I can barely make out any markings on it other than XCELLENT. But it keeps on producing an excellent smoke!

    Marvellous. They are truly ‘magic’ when they just keep going. I hope it holds out for many years to come.


  1. Georg Jensen Pipe Brochure – Jacek A. Rochacki | reborn pipes

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