Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday Vintage Pipe Ad, 1932: Kaywoodie Drinkless

The Kaywoodie Drinkless was the bottom of the ladder in the Kaywoodie hierarchy. It was the cheapest, and therefore billed as "the everyman pipe," because it was cheap enough that every man could afford one. If it wasn't good enough to become a Drinkless, it became a Yello-Bole. I have some Kaywoodies, and they are good pipes, but I must say that this ad is playing somewhat fast and loose with the "facts."

To begin with, the "secret alloy" is aluminum. It may have been slightly alloyed with something to harden it up just a little, but basically it's aluminum. As for the "460 degrees centigrade at the bowl," this is a little misleading. The only place where the temperature is going to approach that high is at the exact point of the char: a very thin line where the tobacco would be glowing red if it were not covered by the already spent ash higher in the pipe. Even only a matter of millimeters lower at the bottom of the bowl where the air hole comes in, it's much cooler than that already. The fitment does not have any magical temperature reduction properties, except that it does trap some moisture.

"Rock Ambera" is Bakelite that was colored to vaguely resemble amber.

The best thing about these old pipes is that they had a screw-in stem so it's safe to remove the stem while the pipe is still hot and run a pipe cleaner into the shank to sop up any excess moisture.

And if you get hold of an old Kaywoodie, don't take a hacksaw to the fitment. Leave everything intact. Some people complain that it's impossible to run a pipe cleaner down the stem during a smoke, but like I said, it's perfectly safe to unscrew the stem while the pipe is still hot. Cutting off the fitment is just mutilation.


  1. Thanks for pointing out how good Kaywoodies are ruined. I've run across far too many otherwise great old Kaywoodies with their insides butchered.

  2. I may have one or two of those sitting around somewhere; I know my dad had a couple.

  3. If you remove the stem while the pipe is still hot and then put the stem back in forcefully, it is possible to over tighten and force the aluminum stinger farther in to the stem throwing off the clover leaf from the proper position.

    Rock Ambera, aka bakelite, comes in several colors. Butterscotch is the color for the stems. The color can be removed, leaving white. The color can be re-attained by re-oxidation.