I have always wanted to offer an affordable option in very high quality, completely handmade pipes. The 2010’s were bringing a surge in new pipe enthusiasts, and new, inexperienced makers as well. These eager new pipe collectors wanted handmade works of art, but weren’t quite financially ready to enter the high-grade market for their shopping needs. The new makers and new buyers were finding each other, and a great divide in quality was forming. To be frank, the overwhelming majority of handmade pipes being made available to this influx of new patrons were poorly shaped, poorly engineered, and poorly finished. The market was severely lacking high quality, expertly made artisan pipes in the price range of this budding market.
In 2014, I came up with the Cardinal House brand to introduce a limited quantity of inexpensive pipes through my local B&M. At the time, Cardinal House pipes were Cannoy seconds with pre-molded stems, but offered anonymously. Although they were received well in the market, I myself was not satisfied with the quality, especially of the stems, or with the idea of producing seconds. They needed to be a better product, a better built pipe for a better value. They needed to make a statement about quality and price.
Throughout most of 2015, I was determined to teach myself to make great pipes faster, and tailor my workflow to that end as well. I started with high quality raw briar ebauchons, and solid rods of German Ebonite and resins, and concentrated on mostly classical shapes and their variations. I played around with different proportions, color combinations, and adornments, but always focused on precision drilling and internal engineering, stem and shank fit, and high grade quality lines, curves, and finishes. This lead to the re-creation, and public introduction of Cardinal House Pipes. I announced the line publicly on September 30th, 2015, and offered the first pieces for sale at the New Orleans Pipe Show that weekend!
The new Cardinal House pipes are not Cannoy seconds. The workflow is completely different from the creation of a high-grade Cannoy Signature Series pipe. Cardinal House pipes are not machine made stummels, nor pre-molded stems. They are completely, and expertly handmade from raw, high grade Italian briar, with hand-cut stems from German Ebonite or Acrylic. These pipes represent a best value in handmade pipes in today’s market!
Cardinal House Pipes are a high grade artisan pipe experience, but at the price of a big name factory made pipe.
The “Cardinal House” name was derived from the location of our home on Cardinal Pl. in Lakeland, behind which was situated my small, one man workshop where these pipes were once crafted. We have since moved from that place, but I have decided to keep the name.
To pay homage to Lakeland, the city in which I grew up and have very close ties, I have named the pipes’ various series after some of my favorite Lakeland locations: Munn Park in the center of historic downtown, Frances Langford Promenade on Lake Mirror, Lake Morton and its historic district on the south side of downtown, and the scenic and popular Lake Hollingsworth.