As a pipesmoker Wolfgang Becker from Duisburg was mainly attracted by Danish pipe design. Having read an article about Lars Ivarsson in the Pipe Club magazine, he fell in love with the pipes of this great Dane. He admired Ivarsson's pipes at Peter Heinrichs' in Cologne, but considering the prices he couldn't even think of buying one.
So, if I can not afford a Lars Ivarsson, why not try to make one in his style? This idea propelled by desire made Wolfgang Becker start to make handmades in 1987 as a complete autodidact. Being a very modest and serious man he really took his time approaching the art of pipemaking. Later on Klaus Hahn, an elder pipemaker from Duisburg as well, provided a lot of assistance and support. But not earlier than by the middle of the 1990's he began to sell his pipes professionally.
Becker's annual production has always been low and amounts to between 60 to 80 pipes per year. He only uses the finest plateau briar personally selected at the saw mills. The surfaces are either sandblasted or smooth. He strictly refuses any rustication. Smooth pipes get a brown, reddish, orange or also a golden contrast staining. For applications he uses now and then horn, box wood, bamboo or fossile mammouth ivory, however never silver or any acrylics. The mouthpieces are entirely handcut of German ebonite. 90% of his pipes display a normal drilling. The few mouthpieces for use with filters are not fitted with a nylon tenon but worked out from the full material.
The shapes of Becker's pipes frequently remind one of his big idol Lars Ivarsson. The most famous for sure is the "Wespe" (wasp).
The grading runs in ascending sequence from 1 to 9. Absolute top pieces ranking above "9" are given letters ascending from A to G. He stamps his pipes on the lower surface of the sten with Wolfgang Becker in a circle, the respective degree placed in the center of this circle.
The prices for a Wolfgang Becker pipe start at appr. 200 Euro for a "1". Considering the precision of carving, the pefection of engineering and the superb smoking characteristics this might be called a theft. For sure he's to be listed among the five best pipemakers in Germany who enjoys increasing popularity with American and Japanese high grade collectors.
Becker's top grade pipes are stamped with a Wolf's Paw, and the second stamping of it (Double Wolf's Paw) denotes the best of the best. The doubling up of the stamp is a relatively recent phenomenon, which he apparently started 4 or five years ago (sometime around 2009 or 2010).
Wolfgang Becker Greifswalder Str. 4 D-47269 Duisburg Germany Tel. 0049 (0)203 760550 Fax 0049 (0)203 7127313 E-Mail: mailto:Dupree-Becker@t-online.de Website: http://www.wolfgang-becker-pfeifen.de/ (dead link)