Poul Hansen was a very skilled toolmaker and builder of machine tools. Around 1960 he got in contact with the workshops of Dan-Pipe, W.Ø. Larsen and others. So he began to make a lot of special tools and machines for a large number of the Danish pipemakers in the early 60's. He was inspired by the many beautiful pipes he saw when he visited the pipemakers and soon he decided to try out the art himself.
Poul Hansen was basically "self taught" and his early attempts suffered from kinda awkward shapes and finishing. Things turned for the better significantly when Sixten Ivarsson, appreciating the talent, began to tutor Hansen for a while and taught him the vital "tricks" of pipemaking. Soon after Hansen was in business fine. Right from the start he avoided the competition at home and concentrated on the American, Japanese and German markets.
Iwan Ries in Chicago was one of his first American dealers and in catalogs form the late 60's and early 70's you can find Poul Hansen pipes ranging from 125 - 500 $US. In Japan, his pipes were prized even higher at the same time. For the German market, Hansen made some very elegant 9mm filter pipes which rank among the best ever made in this tier.
Hansen carved the bulk of his pipes during the 1960's and 1970's. Around the midst of the 1970's he took over a small Copenhagen tobacconist's shop from it's retiring owner. Now, operating the shop took a lot of his time but vice versa secured a steady income, and Hansen reduced his output considerably. BTW In Denmark he only sold a very limited amount of pipes - but some of his very best.
He stamped most of his pipes "HANSEN" + "BRIAR" + "HANDMADE" + "DENMARK" (the latter sometimes vertically). Few pipes are grouped "MEMORIAL" instead of "BRIAR". If these are grading names, Memorial is considered to be the higher.
When Poul Hansen in 1998, at a very old age, decided to stop making pipes (due to his poor eyesight), the remains of his workshop, including a fairly large number of pipes, were bought by one of the leading Danish suppliers of briar and rods. Some of the tools are still there, but all the pipes - many not stamped yet - were obtained by Lars Kiel in early 2002. Some of these pipes are now up for sale.
Poul Hansen is little known in today's circles, those collectors (especially in the States) who have his pipes, tend not to sell them. <gallery> File:Hansen Briar 02.jpg <gallery>/ Based on an article courtesy of Lars Kiel.