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Many thanks to Jesse Silver for extensive work editing and contributing to this article. We are still hoping for additional information and documentation on the fascinating history of Barling. --sethile 19:35, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Cased Pair, Pre-trans, Derek Green Collection[1]

The Company

Pre-Barling by Crown of Vienna, silver work by the Barling family of London, and stamped with E.B. and W.B. stamps, albatross wing bone extensions. From the Johnny Long Collection
Stamped "BARLING'S MAKE", London 1906, Rd. No. 458002, from the Johnny Long Collection
From Left: 1927-Tetley's; 1916 w/Military bit; 1956-Tetley's; Pre-Trans EXEL T.V.F, Derek Green Collection[2]
Pair of uncased 1884s with E.B. W.B stamped Barling silverwork
1884, upper pipe from above pair. It has screw mounts and also has the wing bone extension. From the Johnny Long Collection
1884 screw mount detail. From the Johnny Long Collection

“We have much pleasure in presenting our New Catalogue illustrating some of the principal shapes and specialities in our celebrated EB WB Briar Pipes.

Our pipes being so well known and universally known (without the artificial aid of advertisements), we will not here dwell on their perfection, but would ask you to kindly peruse this book, which will no doubt introduce to you some new patterns.
If you are not already a smoker of our pipes, we hope that it will lead to your giving them a trial and thus testing their quality and workmanship, we ourselves being confident of your ultimate judgment and satisfaction. Every department of our factory being under our own practical and personal supervision, ensures every pipe turned out by us coming under our direct notice. This fact, coupled with the excellence of the materials used in their manufacture, has given our pipes a reputation second to none in the smoking world, a reputation we firmly intend to maintain and strengthen.



- Preface to the first edition of B. Barling & Sons catalogue of pipes - Printed by Unwin Brothers - The Gresham Press - date unknown but typography suggests the mid ‘teens to early 1920’s.

Among collectors of high-grade British pipes, family era Barling pipes are rated at the pinnacle. No other maker enjoys a finer reputation for the legendary quality of their materials, engineering and craftsmanship.
The Barlings were silversmiths in England during the latter part of the 1700's, with their silver mountings first appearing on meerschaum pipes in 1812. The company received recognition of their work at the Great Exhibition of 1851 for their display of a set of “Silver-mounted meerschaum smoking pipes.” - Official Catalogue of the Great Exhibition of 1851 - page 147
Over the ensuing years the company gained and maintained an enviable reputation for the excellent smoking characteristics of their pipes, in addition to their unique interpretation of classic shapes, and the development of some "new" classics. Though not the first English company to carve pipes from Briar, (that distinction being given to Loewe’s who first introduced briar pipes to English smokers in 1856 - “Loewe of the Haymarket -1926) the Barling Company supplied exquisite silver fitments to briar bowls turned by others.
Among authorities on the Barling pipes, none is more respected, nor better known, than Tad Gage. His article, Mysterious Barlings, written for the Spring 2000 issue of Pipes and Tobacco Magazine, has become the touchstone for collectors worldwide.
Gage believes that the Barling Company did not exclusively turn their own bowls until some time around 1909.
In their single-minded pursuit of perfection, B. Barling and Sons used only the very choicest of old growth air seasoned Algerian briar. “Legendary” is the term most often applied to the smoking properties of these pipes.

Richard Carleton Hacker is the author of numerous books on collectible and historic pipes including Rare Smoke - The Ultimate Guide To Pipe Collecting. According to Hacker, the Barling family sold the company to the Imperial Tobacco Company in 1960. However, Tad Gage states that the year was 1962. It has recently come to light that letters exist, which were written by Montague Barling from the period of April thru June of 1962, when the Barling Company presented pipes to celebrity pipe smokers to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the company. We have included a sample of that correspondence in the form of an exchange of letters between Mr. Barling and Bing Crosby. Montague Barling’s stationery clearly bears the imprint of “President”. On the basis of this evidence we can set aside the 1960 sale date in favor of either late 1961 or 1962. In any event, the family still led the business in 1962.

In addition we have included photos of a military bit billiard that has all of the correct “family era” stampings and a 1961 date hallmark. According to a retired Director of B. Barling and Sons, who supplied the correspondence between Montague Barling and Bing Crosby, the year of sale was 1962. So for the purpose of this article the latter date will be applied.

After 150 years of ownership the family sold the business to Finlays, their biggest customer. Finlays operated a large chain of tobacconists known as the House of Bewlay. A director of Bewlay's, Ron Harden, was transferred to Barling to act as its General Manager. When the Imperial Tobacco Company bought Finlays they inherited the Barling Company as part of its holdings.

The periods

Pre-trans Dublin,

According to current scholarship, the Barling has gone through three distinct periods, which dramatically effect collectability of the pipes. These are referred to as the PreTransition, Transition, and Post Transition periods. The "Pre-Transition" pipes are highly sought after by collectors and have excellent smoking and aesthetic qualities. These pipes are famous for the "old wood" from which they were made.

Many of the early "Transition" pipes were made from Pre-Transition bowls, and by the same craftsman. Therefore, many of the early Transition pieces possess the same excellent qualities as the Pre-Transition pieces, yet, with the exceptions noted below, they are not easily identified from later Transition and Post Transition pieces, which wereplagued by inferior materials and craftsmanship. While collectors do not prize the Transition pieces, some consider the early Transition pieces an excellent value.

As will become clear in the section devoted to Barling catalogs, one subset of currently defined “Early Transition” pieces - those pipes stamped with an arched block “Barling’s” over “Make”, but also stamped with a four digit model number that begins with either a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 - can be easily distinguished from later Transition and Post Transition pipes. These pipes were made while Montague Barling was still president from the same stock and by the same craftsmen, as the currently defined “Pre-Transition” pipes. The later pipes all bear a script “Barling” logo with no apostrophe and no “s”.

The late transition, and Post Transition pipes have had a rocky road at best, though recent Barlings have shown a return to quality just not at the same level as the family era.

The current third party literature is inconclusive on the exact dates of these periods. But the following is an attempt at reconciling some the data. Much of the published material is anecdotal in nature. We will provide evidence in the form of hard copy and company materials whenever possible to support the suggestions that follow. Most of the company’s archives were destroyed during WWII.


B. Barling & Sons catalogue of pipes - Printed by Unwin Brothers - The Gresham Press - likely dated 1922, Courtesy Jesse Silver

R. C. Hacker states, incorrectly, that B. Barling and Sons issued no catalog prior to 1962. At least two earlier catalogs are known to exist. The preface for the B. Barling and Sons catalog is now included on this page as is a scan of the cover. In addition, Barling issued a brochure illustrating their various lines of pipes in 1957. -
NOTE: This site is Japanese and we suggest that it be accessed using Google’s translator. There is a wealth of information therein contained. In addition, the unintentional howlers created by the translator will provide a great deal of amusement.

Several pages from the 1957 Sales Brochure:

The Pre-Transition catalogue includes model numbers for all illustrated pipes. The model numbers are 1 digit, 2 digits, 2 digits plus a letter, 3 digits, and 3 digits plus a letter. Cased sets are given the appellation “Special” and are assigned a 4 digit model number, beginning with a 1. Different sizes of the same shape are given unique model numbers that are not related. Also of interest, all of the models have a name. For example, model 6, which is a small ¼ bent billiard, is entitled “The Nymph” and the model 303, which is a larger ¼ bent silver spigot billiard is entitled “The Corinthian”. All illustrated pipes have either a military bit, spigot, or sterling band.
The author here must confess to being amused at the idea of a dashing mustachioed officer of the Queen’s Regiment ordering a “Nymph”.

In 1962 the B. Barling and Sons Company issued not one, but TWO complete catalogs. The differences between these two catalogs are striking enough to warrant comment here because the contents address some of the varied myths that surround the brand. They may also provide a basis for altering the definition for what constitutes a Pre-Transition Barling and may also suggest a timeframe for the beginning of the “Transition” era that differs from what is currently accepted.
The earlier of these two Catalogs was published while Montague Barling was still president. It is mentioned in Hacker’s book, incorrectly, as the first Catalog published by the Barling Company and was published to mark their 150th anniversary. The copy that we have, and from which we have pulled pages for your examination, includes a price list dated June 1962. Thus we can fix a reliable timeframe for this catalog.
The 150th Anniversary catalog also includes a frontispiece that extols the accomplishments of the family over the reigns of 9 different British Monarchs.

The 1st notable point is that the new model numbering system first appears in this catalog. The old SS thru EXEXEL size stamps are discarded and 4 digit numbers beginning with a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 are used to define the size instead. It has been assumed that the successor company made this change. This change came about while the company was still led by Montague Barling.
The catalog contains a listing of grades. From bottom to top these grades are: standard, sandblast (referred to as “fossil” in the stampings), Guinea Grain, Ye Olde Wood Special, Straight Grain, and Presentation Straight Grain. None of the previously published material from third party sources mentions that there were TWO grades of straight grain!

The 2nd notable point of the 150th Anniversary Catalog is that all of the pipes on display in its pages carry the traditional block arched “BARLING’S” over “MAKE”. The only exception to this is the Guinea Grain grade, which carries the script “Barling’s” logo.

The catalog displays all of the available shapes with the new numbering system applied to the different sizes. But the actual stampings on the pipes pictured on the page don’t correspond to the new numbering system. The stampings reflect the old system, which used entirely unrelated numbers for pipes of the same pattern, but of different size. The company didn’t commission new photographs of all of their pipes with the new numbering system for this catalog.
And now we come to the 3rd notable point. Interspersed with these older photos are new ones, which contain pictures of pipes that have the block “Barling’s” over “Make” and a 4 digit number beginning with a 2,3,4,5, or 6, which corresponds to the new numbering system. For those who own a copy of this catalog, please look at the bottom of page 21, and page 45 for readable examples. Clearly these are all family era pipes, made with the famous old growth air cured Algerian briar stock selected years before by the experienced craftsmen of B. Barling and Sons. Model numbers consisting of 2 digit, 3 digit, 4 digit beginning with a 1 and four digit beginning with a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, are all pictured in the same catalog.
We suggest that all pipes should all be classified as Pre-Transition pipes provided that they have the Block Arched “Barling’s” over “Make” logo stamp. Based on the company’s own published material rather than anecdote, the style of logo stamp, rather than the numbering system, should be the basis for assigning the Period. Mel Feldman, the highly regarded expert on Barling, holds this view.

In November of 1962 B. Barling and Sons publishes another full catalog and the differences between the two are instructive.
This catalog can be viewed at:

  • The 1st notable point is that there is a new company logo. The block “Barling’s Make” logo is gone and has been replaced by the script “Barling” logo.
  • The 2nd notable point is that the frontispiece has been edited to remove any mention of the Barling family as manufacturers. It is now simply Barling. June 1962 - 150th Anniversary Catalog - “During nine Reigns the Barling family have developed and perfected their craft of making the finest quality briar pipes in the world.” November 1962 - Retailers’ Catalog - “During nine Reigns Barling have developed and perfected the finest quality briar pipes in the world.”
  • The 3rd notable point is that a new line is introduced - the Garnet Grain
  • The 4th notable point is that the model numbering system introduced earlier in the year is retained though it now includes 4 digit model numbers that begin with a “1”.
  • The 5th notable point is that new photography has been commissioned, unlike the earlier catalog published just a few months earlier, in order to display the new logo on all pipes.

Based on the fact that the Barling Company felt compelled to produce two markedly different full catalogs months apart in 1962, especially in light of a prior dearth of such publications during 150 years of activity, we have to conclude that a remarkable sea change took place. The change in language on the frontispiece between the two catalogs underlines the nature of that change as the Barling family ceased to lead the company and ceased to be mentioned.
We would suggest that the 150th Anniversary Catalog represents the apotheosis of the family era. And, based on that publication and its contents, we suggest that all pipes which bear the block “Barling’s over “Make” logo are pre-transition pipes regardless of model number.
As illustrated in the later 1962 Retailers’ Catalog it is the change of logo to a script “Barling” that begins the post family era and which signifies the era of production to be “Transition” or “Post-Transition” not model numbers.


The Pre-Transition period extends to 1960 (Hacker) or 1962 (Gage and others). The Barling family controlled production up till this point. Quality was excellent, however some sources indicate a marked inconsistency in quality starting as early as 1954. These pipes were made from old growth Algerian briar of a quality no longer available. While many find the grain to be beautiful, this was not the aim of the Barling Company, and many of their pipes have rather unremarkable grain. The Barling Company’s intent was simple, to create the finest smoking instruments in the history of the world. Many connoisseurs believe that they achieved that goal admirably.

A pre-transition Barling bent exhibiting better than average grain. Pre-Transition Barling bent pipes are rare. - Courtesy of Mike Ahmadi

In addition to the smoking qualities of their wood, the Barling Company outfitted their bowls with hand made stems that many consider to be the most comfortable ever created. Their engineering is beyond reproach. Their silver work remains unsurpassed.

Pre- Trans Nomenclature

Pre-trans Lovat,

Before discussing the nomenclature of the Pre-Transition or “family era” pipes it is important to note that there are no absolutes. Barling pipes from this period show a remarkable degree of variation when it comes to nomenclature. The following information can be applied in general.

Barling 1909 Silver Spigot Billiard, Courtesy
Barling c. 1930 EXEXEL-Sized Classic Bent Billiard, courtesy,

According to Tad Gage, Pre-1946 stampings are minimal. No size, shape numbers, or even grading appears on most pipes before World War II. Some shape numbers appear on certain pipes, but these markings are difficult to interpret. Most Barlings from this period were distributed to pipe shops and department stores in the British Isles, and often carried the shop's name. It is common to find only a small "BARLINGS MAKE" stamped in block capital letters, with BARLINGS over MAKE. Many of the older pipes feature sterling silver fitments, which make dating a simple mater of looking up London hallmarks, and the "EB WB" makers’ mark.

Also according to Tad Gage, the only four-digit number that denotes a Pre-Transition piece begins with "1," which was used for pipes sold in England. Any other four-digit Barling pipe is a Transitional piece-- (Tad Gage in P & T magazine). However, Gage also cites a possible exception to this rule, which will be pointed out in the section concerning Transition nomenclature. We should add that based on the examination of the two 1962 catalogs we believe that the definition of a Pre-Transition piece should be based on the use of the block “Barling’s Make” logo and not the model numbers.

The earliest Barling pipes, those from the 19th century and the earliest part of the 20th century, lack a “Barling’s Make” stamp. They are identified by the “EB” over “WB” sterling makers’ mark. In addition these pipes will have the name of the tobacconist or dealer stamped into the shank. According to Gage, Barling did not make bowls, but provided silver fitments for bowls made by others.
At some point during the first decade of the 20th century a “Barling’s Make” logo begins to be stamped on the pipes in addition to the Dealer stamp. Again according to Gage, this represents the period when Barling began to manufacture its own bowls. This logo consists of an arched “BARLING’S” over the word “MAKE”, in block letters, and will continue to appear on all Barling pipes, with the notable exception of the Guinea Grain grade, until the sale of the company.
An interesting briar calabash shape from 1908 features the dealer’s name on the LH side with the “BARLING’S MAKE” stamp on the verso in a secondary placement. Since Gage suggests that the Barling Company didn’t begin turning its own bowls until some time around 1909, this may represent one of the earliest pipes made entirely by the Barling Company. The famous “MADE IN ENGLAND.” stamp does not yet exist. The word “ENGLND” is placed below the “BARLING’S MAKE” stamp. There is no crossed Barlings logo on the stem.

1908 Briar Calabash, courtesy Jesse Silver Collection

Sometime prior to 1913, the “Ye Olde Wood” stamp makes its appearance on selected pipes. An example exists stamped on a 1913 date hallmarked pipe. This logo will continue to be used in the decades to come. Eventually, “Ye Olde Wood” will be stamped on nearly every pipe made and will come to represent the company to the world. It is not known when the crossed Barling stem logo first appeared, but an example exists on a pipe with a 1923 date hallmark.
During the 1930’s the “Barling’s Make” logo undergoes a style change, smaller in size with simpler block lettering. Model numbers will occasionally be stamped below the logo. These model numbers may be 4 digits beginning with a 1 for the English and European market. For the “overseas” market 3 digits, 2 digits and a letter, or 2 digits will be used. The “MADE IN ENGLAND.” stamp is also in use. As with all things related to the Barling nomenclature there are variations. Sometimes there is no “MADE IN ENGLAND.” stamp. Examples exist with a “MADE IN LONDON” over “ENGLAND” stamp. And, there are examples with “MADE IN ENGLAND” with no period after the word “ENGLAND”. These variations appear to be few and far between. The 2 digit and letter variety also have an extra collar on the tenon which may have originally held an aluminum tube. In the ‘30’s the Barling Company experimented with a aluminum tube pipe called a “trotube”. Later the Pre-Transition company made a line of filtered pipes called the “CYG-Smoker”.

An example of unusual Barling nomenclature from the 1930's, which blows another Barling myth, that of the "MADE IN ENGLAND." stamp being proof of a pre-transition origin. This is one of many examples of Pre-Transition pipes that don't have a period after the word "ENGLAND". It also reads "MADE IN LONDON" over "England". The model number is also interesting in that it consists of 2 numbers and 1 letter.

A script “Barling’s” logo is used for the Pre-Transition Guinea Grain grade. In addition to the script “Barling’s” logo the pipes hare an “EB” and “Regd” stampings. And, horror of horrors, there are a few Pre-Transition pipes that have a script “Barling” logo.

A "Barling's Guinea Grain" bent pipe. Note the wonderful straight grain - Courtesy of Mike Ahmadi

It is not known precisely when Barling began to stamp the size onto their pipes but after the War, the practice becomes increasingly common. There are some variations cited in the range of size stampings, but the following are given with the understanding that this may be revised based on input from knowledgeable collectors. The sizes, going from the smallest to the largest are as follows: S ,S-M, M, L, EL, EXEL, EXEXEL, and G. Following the War, the small “BARLING’S MAKE” logo is discontinued and a larger logo is used. Model numbers, the so-called “Monte” numbers - named for Montague Barling - also called the Nichols system - come into common use. The TVF stamp, which stands for “The Very Finest” is applied to pipes with better grain figure. Sand blasts are stamped with the appellation “FOSSIL”. Late Pre-Transition pipes may have a plethora of stampings: the company logo, a “Ye Olde Wood” stamp, a grade or finish stamp like TVF, Special, or FOSSIL, a model number, and a “MADE IN ENGLAND.” stamp.

Pre-Transition Barling Bent Fossil (sandblast). Bent Fossils are very rare. Note the wonderful sandblast - Courtesy of Mike Ahmadi

'Note the beautiful deep blast on this Pre-War custom shaped sandblast, courtesy Jesse Silver Collection:

Pre-Trans Grades

1913 Ye Olde Wood, courtesy Jesse Silver Collection
1913 Ye Olde Wood, courtesy Jesse Silver Collection

Pre-Transition pipes come in a number of grades:

  • Standard Ye Olde Wood - sometimes referred to by collectors as YOW, which may have a dark or plum stain - TVF may be a slightly higher grade of YOW
  • 'Ye Olde Wood Special - pipes with a nicer grain figure and which are left natural rather than stained dark
  • Birdseye - pipes with particularly nice Birdseye grain - one of the rarest of Barling stampings
  • Guinea Grain - something between a flame grain and a straight grain - these pipes are the only Pre-Transition Barling pipes that have a script “Barling’s” logo. They were also oil treated to bring out the contrast in the grain.
  • Straight Grain - Barling’s highest grade - these don’t have model numbers.
  • Presentation Straight Grain - the rarest of the rare - an EXEXEL size would have sold for $7500.00 in today’s dollars!
Pre-Transition Barling Special - Courtesy of Mike Ahmadi

In addition, in a category all by themselves, are the Quaints.
The Barling family prided themselves on producing flawless pipes with no fills or sand pits. In some cases, pipes with flaws would get a sandblast. Occasionally a pipe with exceptional grain, usually a straight grain, but flawed with a pit, would be hand carved into a wonderful and unique work of art. The bowl would be carved into panels, and/or fluted, and the offending areas would be covered with delicate traceries of a pleasing symmetrical design. No two are exactly alike. Each Quaint is a unique hand carved pipe. The Barling Company did not designate these pipes as “Quaints”. They were simply hand carved pipes. But, reflecting the work involved in their carving, these were priced at the same level as the straight grains.

A beautiful Quaint, courtesy Jesse Silver Collection:

As if this isn’t enough variety to keep the collector entertained, the Barling Company crafted numerous custom pipes on special order for their clientele. Special orders lack model numbers because they are not standard models.

Transition Period and Nomenclature

The early transitional Phase is considered to be 1962-1964; the first two years after the Barling family sold the company (Hacker indicates the transition started in 1960 as he dates the sale to 1960). The following pictures of a Barling apple with a sterling military bit also points to a later dating for the change of ownership and nomenclature than Hacker's 1960 date. It clearly shows hallmarks for the year 1961 and yet has all of the other accepted "Pre-Trans" stampings - 3 digit number, arched logo, etc... You can find the hallmark chart at this URL. Look at the entry for 1961 - slightly diagonal lowercase "f" in a beveled rectangular shield. It's a perfect match!

The changes in nomenclature during the Transition period are difficult to follow. Regardless, while perhaps excellent smokers, early transition pipes are far less valuable to collectors than pre-transition.

Note: A catalog from 1962 has surfaced, which sheds some light on the transition period. All of the pipes feature a new script “Barling” logo. The arched block letter logo is gone. The catalog can be viewed at:

Initially, the transition company used the remaining stock of bowls that were turned by the original family run company, and then proceeded to turn more bowls with old wood remaining in inventory, and at least initially, this work was performed by many of the same craftsman. Some consider the early transition pipes to be an excellent value, while later transition pieces are nearly valueless, making it an exciting gamble for those so inclined! As stated earlier in this article, based on a comparison of the two 1962 catalogs and the timeframe in which they were published, we would define any Barling pipe with a script Barling logo be belong to the period following family control of the company.

Currently the earliest pipes defined as transition feature the arched block BARLING’S MAKE stamp, “YE OLDE WOOD” stamp, and the “MADE IN ENGLAND.” stamp, but have four-digit model numbers that begin with a 2 thru 6. We believe that they should be re-classed as Pre-Transition pipes based on the Barling Company’s published catalogs. Besides discarding old size nomenclature, the TVF stamp was largely discarded by the transition company. Some examples show an old 3-digit model number stamp with an extra digit added at one end or the other. Some of these pipes have a TVF stamp, and this is where Gage makes an exception to his model number rule. Since the TVF stamp was added prior to the finishing of the bowls, Gage identifies these pipes as Pre-Transition pieces. Other Barling experts believe that all of the pipes that have the old arched block logo were made before the sale of the company and as such are Pre-Transition pieces regardless of the model number stamping. The 2 1962 catalogs would seem to support this interpretation.

So one’s definition as to whether these particular pipes should be classified as PreTransition versus early Transition pieces relates directly to whether to classify by the company’s own published materials or not.

However one chooses to define them, these pipes will have the same smoking characteristics as the accepted Pre-Transition pipes for a fraction of the price.

As previously stated, the later 1962 Retailers Catalog clearly shows that a new logo is in place, a script “Barling”. So by late 1962 no more pipes are being stamped with the old arched block logo.

The late Transitional Phase is considered to be 1964-1967. Speculation is that very little if any older wood remained in the factory after 1964. Most, if not all of the craftsman working under the Barling family had also have left by this time.

Later Transition Nomenclature

In November of 1962 B.Barling and Sons Ltd released the catalogue of its revamped line of pipes. In addition to a new script “Barling” logo, the company announced four grades of pipes, Standard, Sandblast, Garnet Grain, and Guinea Grain.
Model numbers are 4-digits with the first number indicating the size. Size numbers range from 1-6. Occasionally one sees a “7” size number, but it doesn’t appear in the catalog. Specials continue to be produced.

The Transition version of the Guinea Grain is easily distinguished from the Pre-Transition pipe by the change to the logo. A Pre-Transition Guinea Grain has a script “Barling’s” logo. A Transition (and later) Guinea Grain has a script “Barling” logo. No apostrophe and no “s”. Transition Guinea Grain pipes, while often showing better than average grain, seemed to have abandoned the practice of applying the grading to straighter grain and flame grain pipes.

A "Barling Guinea Grain" (transition) pipe. Note the rather unremarkable grain - Courtesy of Mike Ahmadi

The Barling Company also introduced its first lines of “seconds”, something that would not have happened under the family regime.
These lines of 2nd’s include:
Portland, London Brand, and BB&S (Bill Barling and Sons)
Handcut stems are transition.

Quaints continued to be made during this period. The initial Quaints continue the tradition. But at some point a decision was made to institute a line of Quaints, a half dozen or so repeated designs that are not unattractive but represent a faint ghost of the originals.

Post Transition Period and Nomenclature

The Post Transition period is commonly defined as beginning in 1968.
The company is moved to the Isle of Mann. Pipes are outsourced to Denmark to be made by several companies. Any Barling pipe that has a “Made In Denmark” stamp is a Post Transition piece.

  • Post Transition pipes will have a “TVF” stamp.
  • Post Transition pipes will also have both a 4 digit model number and the old size nomenclature - a form of quaint redundancy.

Whereas the Transition Era pipes attempted to establish a separate identity by discarding old nomenclature and replacing it with new, the Post Transition Era pipes seek to capitalize on their heritage by restoring many of the old stampings.

New lines are introduced:

  • "Regency", "Vintage", "Londoner", etc. are Post Transition.
  • Molded stems are Post Transition.
  • Poor grain and fills are Post Transition.


1891 EB WB marked Silver Band, Courtesy of Mark Davison who found it while metal detecting at Beggarshouse Lane, Charlwood, Surrey

Excellent pipes were made in all periods. But the fine old growth Algerian briar that was used by the family during the Pre-Transition offer a smoking experience that is not duplicated during the later periods. Moreover, it is not duplicated by any other maker. Legends cannot be copied. Legends are unique.

The original Barlings were silversmiths in England during the latter part of the 1700's, with their silver mountings first appearing on pipes in 1812. The following Gallery photos are of a "Kalmasch" (German style) meerschaum carved in Vienna with silverwork done by Benjamin Barling (marked BB) in London, hallmarked 1850. From the Johnny Long Collection. Hallmark was authenticated by silver expert Giorgio Busetto, secretary of the ASCAS (silver association [[3]]). This 1850 meer was featured in the ASCAS newsletter in May 2010.


  1. Rare Smoke, Volume 1, by Richard Carleton Hacker
  2. discussion
  3. Several A.S.P posts by Michael Lindner, Mel Feldman, and others.
  4. Tad Gage article, Mysterious Barlings, pg.40, Spring 2000 edition of Pipes & Tobacco Magazine.
  5. Mel Feldman's former site:, which is no longer on-line generally had a lot of Barlings, with good indications of the nomenclature as it relates to period of manufacture.

Sources to check

  • o 1962 Barling Retailer Catalog
  • "A smoker's guide to Barling" by Tad Gage in "Pipe Friendly" vol. 1, # 3 pp. 7, 1995.