Floor Sweepings: Doctor’s Orders

Photo credit: Pipedia user Sethile

Happy Monday! I hope we all had a good weekend and didn’t get too crazy with the Cuisinart. I know I did, but today’s the start of a new feature called Floor Sweepings.

Dr. Grabow is sort of the tourist trap of pipe brands, offering pieces that sucker you in for your first briar from a sea of cobs and clays but later prove underwhelming for the price. It makes total sense, then, that Dr. Grabow’s “Pre-Smoked Pipes (America’s only)” were featured in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, today the proprietor of some of the United States’ most crass commercial diversions. 

Linkman & Company -the owner of the Dr. Grabow brand until 1955- began marketing their pipes as “pre-smoked” after the company started breaking them in on what appears to be the smoker’s equivalent of an agricultural sprayer in 1937. I guess that’s better than the first image that came to my mind, which was of an old robot, bleary-eyed and tumor-ridden, endlessly forced to smoke pipe after pipe.

I’m not sure who the fellow in the ad -which seems to date from the 1940s- is. It can’t be Robert Ripley, who was the unfortunate recipient of a very prominent pair of buck teeth not featured here, nor can it be Dr. Grabow himself since he doesn’t have one of those head mirrors required of those in the medical field. Perhaps it’s factory owner Louis Linkman. 

I think it’s hilarious that the ad calls out the “New” Tru-Grain series of pipes which feature “a grain created by nature” at double the price of a typical Grabow! What grain did the cheaper pipes have? 

One thought on “Floor Sweepings: Doctor’s Orders

  1. I enjoy these references to the good doctor of pipes, who was the source of much of my pipe smoking wisdom (the quality of which we’ll not go into).


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