Hello and welcome to The Pipe-Smoking Breadwinner, a new blog about pipes and tobacco. My name’s Ted Shideler and I’ll be your guide.
I’m thirty-one, and in many ways I’m a new pipe-smoker. My dad turned me onto the hobby thirteen years ago and supplied me with much of my collection, but I mostly stopped smoking after he died in 2011. Now I’m back, so let’s smoke some old pipes, some new pipes, and some curveballs!
There are no trench coats to be found here, there are no excessive commas or wordplay, there are no fedoras, and there will be no stupid, esoteric bullshit. There’s also no cost of entry- you needn’t be an expert here, and in fact, I discourage you from being one! I’m not going to cloud your understanding of tobacco pipes with needless malarkey: I’ll always bias my posts towards a new smoker. We were all one once, and as I said, I still am, pretty much. The ultimate goal of this blog is to provide the resource I wish I had back when I was a greenhorn taking dad’s word on everything. I want this to be different than most pipe communities that can be found online, and I think it will be.
It’s not been that far in the past, but thirteen years ago YouTube was barely a thing and Myspace ruled the day. The internet didn’t exist then in the same manner it does today! As I come back into smoking a pipe, I’ve found that my research is absolutely littered with a variety of videos featuring weirdos dressed in British cosplay outfits and newsboy caps calling themselves “pipemen” while they take long, perfunctory draws on a shitty Dr. Grabow and expect me to wait for them to finish so they can get back to their review.
I hate it!
I’ve never wanted to join some stupid club with all of their byzantine rules or asinine terminology. Nope! Cut it out, I say- we’re here to smoke pipes, and we’re here to enjoy the companionship of a quality pipe over the course of many years, I hope. I will never let jargon or terminology get in the way of disseminating information without first providing a definition. I’ll keep saying it, but we were all new smokers once, and we could all stand to learn something new.
As you’ll find yours to be, my pipe journey has been intensely personal, and it started with my dad, just as his started with his dad the best I can tell.
“I don’t ask much of a pipe,” dad wrote in the 2011 edition of Guns Illustrated. “It should stay cool all the way through the smoke; it should break in quickly; it should draw smoothly even if I’ve packed it too tightly.”
Those guys weren’t messing around with aromatics or notes, and they wouldn’t be caught dead smoking art pieces never designed to be used in the first place. But Dad and Grandpa also didn’t put up with cheap, basket pipes- they preferred workhorses; the type that an old-school pipe-smoking breadwinner might like: Petersons. Savinellis. Lorenzos. Boswells.
We’ll welcome those pipes, along with some other favorite brands. We’ll welcome a variety of tobaccos, and -most importantly- This blog will welcome you, a new pipe-smoker, to this hobby and habit. It’s first rate, and I think you’ll find a lot of enjoyment from it.
I hope this little blog contributes something new to the informal coterie of pipe-smokers around the world. Welcome, again, to The Pipe-Smoking Breadwinner. I hope you find this irregular corner of the internet enriching.