BRIARCRAFT Sterling Hall 11

BRIARCRAFT Sterling Hall 11

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USA, 1930s

While gentlemen in Chicago invented Dr. Grabow pipes (as far as the evening inaction and fishers talks allowed that), gentlemen in the State of New York developed business no less interesting, inventive and – as we’ll see later – very close to the legend of the most famous American doctor. There’s not too much information about this company in open sources but we did find something…

The story starts at the beginning of XX century in the State of New York (the initial address was Pipetown Hill Rd, Spring Valley, NY), then the company moved to 66 Central Ave., Spring Valley, NY). At that time location of production capacities was dictated by existence of the power supply. In this case the proximity to a dam on the Lake Hayenga forced to stick to “the area”. Richard Kliethermes Sr was the founder of the Reiss-Premier Co company (that’s how Briarcraft was called officially).

A bit later he was replaced by Richard Kliethermes Jr., and Briarcraft took essential acceleration. In 1920-40 the company is the second on volumes after Frank Medico’s manufacture, briar is supplied exclusively from North Africa, only high quality perfect and sustained (aged). The whole series of brands and seconds includes: Airo, Arcadian, Briarmeer, Cavalcade, Hallmark, L.L. Bean, Smokemaster, Sterling Hall, Wimbledon. Invention of a patented Smokemaster design is also on Richard Jr.’s account:  he offers in 1939 a pipe with two additional channels in a mouthpiece where a smoker can place the bent cleaner to select condensate literally “on a way”. Moreover Richard Jr. is personally the carver of hundreds of pipes, many of them are of a very high grade.

The situation was significantly spoiled with the beginning of World War II. The channel of briar import from Africa was blocked, briar from South Carolina didn’t acquit itself, the business was going down. Kliethermes Jr. died in 1943, and even the end of war didn’t rescue the company: it officially closed the door in 1950. Moral: the projects based on one source or one person are the most short-lived, but very frequently – the brightest and the most attractive.

What does it have to do with Doctor Grabow? So far nothing, but in 1967 the patent and all rights for Smokemaster were bought by “Grabow”, and production continued until the middle of the 1990s.

And here is the pre-war Briarcraft. Aged briar without any visible defects, hand made pipe, sterling silver ring (a little bit fixed but the original inscription is saved). Extraordinary pipe!

The pipe markings are “Sterling Hall \ HAND MADE”, “Aged Imported Briar”,
“11” and “STERLING” on the collar. The length is 13.0 cm, bowl’s hight is 4.2 cm. External and internal diameters of the bowl are 2.2 cm and 1.8 cm. The depth is 3.4 cm and this pipe weights 41 gr. Briar, vulcanite stem, metallic stinger.

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