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Spadefan

Lets see your Grabow Dukes

Intending this for Grabow DUKE line of pipes with only the word DUKE as the line or model name, rather than the other Duke lines such as "Golden Duke" or "Royal Duke" previously shown in the "Lets see your" series.

Notes on DUKE:  ’64 – ’84 Duke and Lark were mostly, ~10 of 12  imported from Italy.  Abt 2 of each 12 were packed from Sparta made Duke and Lark.  From at least 64' till the mid 80's most Duke were made in Italy by a company called So. La. Res. Spa. They shipped pipes to Grabow in an assortment of 8 smooth and 4 rustic per dozen...Grabow sold Duke as half smooth, so Grabow did make a few rustic to suppliment the Italian production. After about 85' all Dukes were made in the USA. Yours will either be stamped "ITALY", "USA", or no country of origin stamp which means USA. Grabow did a really good business in Australia from about 79' till 89'. Had a "broker" in Melbourn. – TED

...... I'm going to do a bit of an epistle on Lark and Duke. I may remember stuff in this one that had been forgotten.

I'm sitting on my deck (a few of RJ's last pictures show the view) in a recliner, with the dog on the end (RJ, he's calm...musta' liked Texas legs), with a Grabow 07 sandblast freehand full of baccer', so here goes.

Most of the pipe makers pre 1964 made small pipes. Some even called them "southern assortment" because there was a perception that southerners liked small pipes. Grabow compensated for this by including 2 to 4 small pipes per dozen. These small pipes were the 70 shape series..72, 73, 74, 75, etc.

But Grabow went a step further by having an even smaller pipe called the "bantam". Lark and Duke were these bantam shapes. The 50 series..52-billiard, 53 dublin, 54-pear, 57-bent, etc.

Duke and Lark were these bantam shapes/sizes. The Duke was always the #1 seller and the Lark was always top 5.

In 1964 the first Surgeon General's report on smoking was published and Grabow could barely keep up with the demand for pipes. We had 444 employees (compared to 25 today). Grabow had to find a supplier outside the country for part of their production.

Otto Braun was a German POW, captured early in the war and sent to the Winston Salem POW camp. He made Camels for our soldiers. He also met the Lavietes clan who made pipes in Sparta.

Otto had gone home to Italy and had made connections with the briarwood suppliers in Italy and Greece, and became a "broker/partner". Grabow needed someone to make pipes and Otto found, bought, or created, a pipe making operation in Livorno, Italy called So. La. R.E.S. Solares was the answer to the problem Grabow had and so Solares started making Duke and Lark. They also made a few Riviera (the cheapest non-filtered pipe). The quality was so bad that the Riviera production was discontinued pretty quickly.

So, from about 1965 the Duke and Lark were made in Italy. Otto's factory "took some liberties" with the traditional Grabow shapes and made a few "strange" things. They despised to throw anything away, so if it could be made into a pipe it became a Duke or Lark.

In the late 70's , as the Grabow production began to decline, we took back the production of the Lark. In the mid 80's as production declined further, we took back the Duke production. If yours Lark are stamped "Italy" they were made in a 10 year period from 65' till 75'. Otherwise they were probably pre-65', or post 75'.

We had trouble with the dock workers in the ports we used. They would steal a bunch of pipes destined for Sparta Pipes. We started stamping "Sparta Snake Company" on the cartons and pilferage was almost cut out.

Wood for these small pipes was almost free. Up until the time we started making Duke and Lark, the suppliers had no place to sell these small blocks. They burned it in their furnaces to heat the buildings. When Greek Extra wood was $600 a bag for 5 gross/bag, we bought the CM (small wood) for $100/ bag for 7 gross/bag. Because we took the small wood (their trash) they sold the bigger sizes to us at a reduced price.

Otto's son Ulriki Ermanno Braun(named after the last German soldier killed in WWII) took over at his fathers death and is a great friend. He took my daughter when she was 12 for a summer on Elba Island with his sons Christian and Alexander and several of their friends. He was also our contact for briarwood in the region.

I was fortunate. I got to make one buying trip to Europe with Otto and Uli, and then got to make one with Uli alone.

Otto (and Uli) spoke English, German, Greek, Italian, Spanish, Swiss, Albanian, and enough Arabic to get by. Nice company in Europe.

Our price for the Duke and Lark from Solares was $9.60/dozen. For ages our retail was $1.95. At $1.95 we got $10.80/dozen. Not much profit, considering we still had to inspect all of them. Rejects were sold to S & M sales company in Chattanooga TN. I still see a few of them around.

OK, I've gone through two bowls, and need a third. Gonna' quit now. This may bring up a bunch more questions. If so, just ask.....ted

DUKE (c1964?) -- From 1964 to 1984 the "Little Duke" and the Lark were imported from Italy. Later made at Sparta to increase production at the facility.  Bantam shapes were made from about the mid 50's till today. They are the shapes for Lark and little Duke and were also used in Sparta made Willard and Willard Military.....   RJM's history

Medico had been using a paper absorbent cartridge that was patented by P. H. Minton in 1934 (US Pat. #1967585). About two decades later DG introduced a similar cartridge they initially called a Duke Filter.

HL&T began replacing the older Dr. Grabow model names after 1955 with new models. These included the "Ajustomatic" ELDORADO, REGAL, SAVOY, STARFIRE, VISCOUNT, and the "Duke Filter" DUKE, GRAND DUKE, and ROYAL DUKE. The early "Ajustomatic" pipes displayed a white spade emblem. The early "Duke Filter" pipes diplayed a blue spade. The early push stem pipes displayed a yellow spade.  Additional models were introduced during the 1960s and 70s, and all later Dr. Grabow pipes displayed a white spade emblem.  (DRBridges Forum member)

The "Duke" came from Continental's Duke of Dundee line that Sparta acquired about the same time they moved the DG line into the Sparta plant ... give or take a few years ... don't think anyone was able to pin it down to an exact date ...(Dave Whitney)

Anyone know if there are any Senior / Large size Dukes - 10, 45, 69, 70 ?

Any Collector series Dukes - 78, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86 ?


Lets see your Dukes:  I'll go first


This Duke is a shape 77 "Shroom" and has an embossed spade pointing at the bowl.  The spade has raised dots inside the spade although partly worn.

JoeMan

Wow, nice; I've never seen a Duke with that kind of spade.
Spadefan

JoeMan wrote:
Wow, nice; I've never seen a Duke with that kind of spade.


I had no idea they existed either until I saw a post by RJM on the forum about this type spade.  Then I was lucky enough to see this one on Ebay.
Spadefan

Slim Bulldog #76
Yohanan

That's pretty neat, Thanks for sharing.
Spadefan

#60 Duke embossed spade
Thelonious Monkfish

JoeMan wrote:
Wow, nice; I've never seen a Duke with that kind of spade.

Another one? Some nice pipes.
Spadefan

Anyone know if there are any Senior / Large size Dukes - 10, 45, 69, 70 ?

Any Collector series Dukes - 78, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86 ?
ted

Spadefan wrote:
Anyone know if there are any Senior / Large size Dukes - 10, 45, 69, 70 ?

Any Collector series Dukes - 78, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86 ?


Not little Duke. Only bantam sizes.... Of course, Never say never..  td
Spadefan

ted wrote:
Spadefan wrote:
Anyone know if there are any Senior / Large size Dukes - 10, 45, 69, 70 ?

Any Collector series Dukes - 78, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86 ?


Not little Duke. Only bantam sizes.... Of course, Never say never..  td


Since I have a large size pot 45 Lark, I thought Id ask about Dukes.  Didnt expect to find any but as you say never say never.  If any were made, maybe a forum member has one.
larsej4

Very nice!  I just ordered my first "Duke."  I'll be sure to post pictures once it arrives!
Spadefan

Small Apple shape Duke
Embossed spade points at bowl

JoeMan

Late entry, my only 2 'Dukes'.


ozark southpaw

larsej4

My first "Duke"

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