Floor Sweepings: The Eastman Scientific Pipe- A Solution in Search of a Problem

I’d bet you half a tin of slightly-dried-out Presbyterian Mixture English blend that you’ve been micromanaged at work before. In my experience, a superior who pays disproportionate attention to trivial details while missing the forest for the trees is usually trying to hide the fact that they’re marking time at a level of respective incompetence per the Peter principle. Put simply, micromanagers do so to try and hide the fact that they’ve got no idea what they’re doing. I ran into that when I managed a Subway restaurant during a weird event called the 2010 United States tomato shortage.

I’m fine with being micromanaged so long as it involves receiving a paycheck for my trouble. But the last thing I want after I clock out is to continue that process. That’s why I smoke a pipe! It’s a simple ritual.

Simple, unless you believe the fine people who staffed the Eastman Sales Company of Chicago sixty or seventy years ago, that is. The abomination pictured in this ad is the Eastman Scientific Pipe, complete with “Patent Draft Regulator.” I can’t exactly put my finger on what the Eastman Scientific Pipe reminds me of: A harder version of that bounce back paddle ball game kids batted around in the late 1940s, maybe? Let’s take a closer look at it: It seems that the major innovation of this…this…this THING… was a shut-off valve to control the draft of the pipe in order to, ostensibly, eliminate tongue bite. 

In addition to the shut-off valve, the pipe featured an “airplane aluminum” shank, to cool the smoke, which is something I can get actually behind because standing in front of it would not allow me to actually smoke it. 

Aluminum shanks are not common on briar pipes, but they’ve been used in Falcon pipes since Kenly Bugg of Fort Wayne, Indiana first invented them in 1936. They do seem to work to keep the smoke from overheating, which is a thing that can cause tongue bite. Draft regulators and shut-off valves, though? I think whoever needs them to smoke a pipe needs to step back and re-examine themselves. I smoke to get away from micromanagement. Not to actively seek out more!

If your tongue feels like it got pricked by an errant scorpion for a day or two after you smoked, a couple of minor process alterations will probably help before you go crazy trying to dial in a bizarre contraption like the Eastman Scientific Pipe. First and foremost, try packing your tobacco a little bit looser so it’s not getting to Sloss Furnace levels of heat while you sip on it. That’s another key, too: sip on the pipe like it’s hot coffee. Don’t chug it like a 44 oz. from the gas station! If it goes out, it goes out- eventually you’ll get a rhythm. Another thing- if your favorite tobacco is super sugary or moist, let it dry out for twenty minutes or so before you pack it. That slightly-dried-out tin of Presbyterian Mixture I bet you earlier is that way on purpose.

If none of those remedies work for you, your choice of pipe might be partially to blame. Straight pipes like the Eastman Scientific are just flat-out more likely to cause tongue bite and noxious tastes from the burning tobacco’s moisture than their bent brethren as a basic matter of geometry. Any time you take a drag, you’re sucking all the moisture and condensation from your burning tobacco closer and closer towards you. If you haven’t tried it, let me tell you to not accidentally drink it. It’s the worst taste ever: peppery, sour, and just unholy. Try a pipe with a bent shank instead- at least then the moisture inside won’t be able to flow uphill. 

Now, with regards to the gentleman in the picture: I like smoking pipes and I like going fishing. Doing both at the same time is great! But if you want to go full two-handed Mark Trail on some fish’s ass in the middle of the rapids, perhaps it’s time to set the pipe down. Better yet- as long as you’ve got a striped fanny pack like our Eastman Outdoorsman has, get yourself a $124 Savinelli Tortuga for your fishing trips in the 173, 305, 614, or 606 KS shapes. They’re called Tortugas for a reason; each pipe has a little tortoise-shelled hat that matches its stem so you can save your smoke for later. 

I’d rather make little tweaks to my smoking process than buy and futz around with some weird doohickey designed to do the same thing. Heck, I think I’d rather bash my own head into the wall instead of buying one of these things! After months of endless shifts in a scorching-hot factory, the last thing I want to do when I light up my pipe is work at it.

So thanks, but no thanks, Eastman Sales Company. I’ll leave the micromanagement at the door next to the time clock.

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