Courtesy of Smokingpipes.com (Please do not edit)
When pipe smokers talk about pipes that are consistently great smokers, exhibit the creative and beautiful designs that exemplify Danish pipemaking and offer the best value in factory produced pipes, they are talking about Stanwell. We hear time and time again, from customers and top pipe makers from around the world, that Stanwell is the best factory produced pipe in the world. Stanwell maintains the most modern pipe making facility in the world and for many years has enjoyed some unique relationships with many legendary Danish pipe makers. In fact, Stanwell occupies a pivotal place in the history of the world-wide popularity of Danish-made pipes. During WWII, Danish pipe smokers could no longer buy the English made briar pipes they preferred to smoke. In 1942, because of the unavailability of English pipes and raw briar, Poul Nielsen began making pipes from beech wood for Danish customers. At the time, Poul was managing a company called Kyringe, which made various wood products.
At the end of the war, briar became available again, so Nielsen began importing his own briar and started making briar pipes to compete with the English manufacturers. It must be remembered that in 1948, England was the single great center for pipe making. Therefore, Nielsen changed the name of his pipes to "Stanwell", which sounded much more like a proper English name than "Nielsen". He also created the horse drawn carriage logo for its English connotations. He later changed his own last name from Nielsen to Stanwell, a testament to his devotion to the pipes he made. Stanwell's relationships with Danish pipe makers goes back to Sixten Ivarsson, who is considered the originator of modern Danish pipe making. Ivarsson was commissioned to design Stanwell shapes. In 1969, the factory was moved a town called Borup, just outside of Copenhagen to be closer to Ivarsson.
Stanwell revolutionized the pipe world with his new factory; until its debut, very few pipes were exported from Denmark. It was the Stanwell factory that first began mass exportation of Danish pipes and first whetted the appetites of Americans and Germans for the Danish pipe. Today Stanwell produces around 300,000 pipes annually. Stanwell relies on designs from the great Danish pipe makers, from Sixten Ivarsson to Jess Chonowitsch from which they create their hundreds of shapes. Since most sandblasting for Danish pipemakers is done at the Stanwell factory (Stanwell has a reputation for excellence in sandblasting that is used by many, many Danish carvers from Poul Winslow to Jess Chonowitsch), many of the pipes that they sandblast are then observed and used as starting points for Stanwell shapes with the consent of the original carvers. This interesting and unusual symbiotic relationship gives Stanwell the opportunity to offer hundreds of unusual and interesting shapes at an affordable price.
Once a new shape is established and hand carved, it is then reproduced using a lathe. Following the initial carving of the pipe which is done by machine, all other processes are done by hand, from the final sanding and staining to the application of the wax finish. There are approximately 120 manual steps to Stanwell's pipe making process. The Stanwell factory is arguably the most efficient pipe operation in the world. It is this efficiency that has made Stanwell so remarkably price competitive and able to offer pieces of superior quality to those created by other large factories.
Essentially the goal of Stanwell is, and always has been, to produce high quality pipes at a price that is truly within the reach of the common man. In this they have succeeded admirably, offering perhaps more pipe for the money than any other pipe manufacturer in their price range. Stanwell pipe offers exceptional quality at a remarkably affordable price. Today it often seems that there are few options in between low cost, very low quality pipes and the handmade pipes that fetch hundreds of dollars. Stanwell manages to fill this void commendably by offering pipes close to the quality of the handmade with prices that are only slightly higher than drug store pipes.
Stanwell pipes are a must for any pipe collection. The Stanwell name is a cornerstone of Danish pipe making. In owning a Stanwell, you will not only enjoy beautifully styled, great smoking pipe at a great price, you will own a piece of pipe making history.