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1920s BBB Glokar Zulu w/University Engraving

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Product Description

1920s Silvermount BBB Dublin w/Glokar Bit and University Engraving 


Description, Markings, Measurements:

BBB (Blumfeld's Best Briars, and later, Best British Briar) has a long and distinguished history in English pipes. Created in 1847, they are one of the oldest pipe companies from England.  Though never gaining the "status" of Dunhill in the 20th century, BBB did what they did best, making affordable quality pipes at a fair price. It is rumored that Dunhill actually purchased bowls from BBB in the early years, which wouldn't surprise me, as BBB utilized from some of the finest Algerian briar to be had at the time.  But it is really from the "golden age" of pipe making that BBB really shines; from the 1880s through about 1920, there really wasn't a manufacturer that could touch BBB when it came to just sheer volume, exceptional beauty, and top-quality craftsmanship.  Loewe came close and in some ways did meet or beat BBB, but just the massive numbers of shapes, finishes, innovations, and options available at the time puts BBB squarely in the drivers seat.  You could order a particular pipe shape with a vulcanite stem (round button) with screw mount or push mount, a vulcanite "Glokar" bit (think of a Peterson "P" lip, only refined and elegant) or could get it fitted with a horn stem, black amber (actually "jet"), pressed amber, block amber, bone, or ivory.  You could get it mounted with or without sterling silver band or silver spigot or army "push" mount.  You could get it without a case, or have it fitted to a case.  The case options were just as staggering, with your choice of hides from a whole zoo-full of animals including gazelle, antelope, and alligator.  The interiors could be lined with your choice of velvets in red, blue, purple... or you could get it fitted with suede chamois.  You could get the pipe in standard quality or in the top "Own Make" quality, or one of the lower qualities.  The bowl could be made out of briar, or meerschaum. You could get your chosen shape in small, medium, or large.  Now take all those options and multiply it by probably close to a thousand different shapes.  I cannot even begin to imagine what it must have been like to walk into a well-stocked tobacconist in 1910 and see the dizzying array of pipes just from BBB alone.

Here we have a very interesting BBB with a Glokar bit, silver-plate "BBB" band and inlaid "W" on the front of the bowl, in addition to engraving on the sides.  This pipe is in very good to excellent condition with a few conditional issues but nothing serious.  The finish is exquisite, shining like glass, with no handling marks or scratches on the bowl.  The rim is clean with only very minor darkening and rounding.  The stem is the original "Glokar" with the unique button and airway, and there are no toothmarks (although there is the tiniest little 'nick' out of the airway opening).  Nomenclature on the pipe is good, buffed but readable, and that includes the BBB logo on the stem.  There are no fills (of course), and only a few tiny sandspots here and there.  The graining is a gorgeous mixed-graincrosscut, loaded with swirling birdseye and crossgrain.  One interesting thing to note - besides the fact it is sporting what must be some University carving and an inset "W" on the front of the bowl - is that the silver band is likely plated; there are no hallmarks, but the band is stamped "BBB" in a diamond as normal.  Instead of hallmarks, there are the Olde English letters "AIC" (or AIG, they are hard to make out).  Since there are no hallmarks, and there is no inlaid date on the bowl, it is hard to know for certain when the pipe was made, but my best guess is sometime between 1910 and 1925.  It's a beautiful example and overall ranks a 9.5 out of 10; it's sure to be a lovely addition to your early English silver pipe collection.

Markings read: BBB (in diamond). Silverwork is marked: BBB (in diamond), and three Olde English letters "AIC" (or AIG, they are hard to make out). These are a bit weak and did not photograph well. 


Length: 5.03"
Bowl width: 1.22"
Bowl Height: 1.66"
Chamber dimensions: .83" across, 1.30" deep
Weight: 25 grams


9.25 out of 10.  Issues:  Not much to complain about; the finish is great, there are no toothmarks.  There is a small, tiny nick out of the airway opening on the stem.  The biggest issue is that the nomenclature - while fully readable - has been buffed and is nowhere near crisp.  This includes the BBB logo on the stem as well as the silver markings.  The silverwork has some slight rippling and teeny, tiny dings here and there, but nothing serious.  Finally, there is just a whisper of slight darkening and very slight rounding around the chamber opening.  That's it; all cleaned up and ready to pack and light.  A lovely piece overall and sure to be a fine addition to your early silvermount collection.


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1920s  BBB  Birdseye  Crosscut  Dublin  Pre-War  Silver  Smooth  Zulu  

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