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From Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, by José Manuel Lopes

1933 Filter Patent
Vintage Medico Filters, courtesy Doug Valitchka
1962 Ad, courtesy Doug Valitchka

Medico was created in 1933, and is still produced by S.M. Frank. The brand is famous for its pipe filters, which were lanched in the same year. Since 1966, some models have been made in Brylon, a synthetic material, and others in briar. The brand was also sold by the English company Cadogan and Oppenheimer Pipe

Medico Crest Ad, courtesy Doug Valitchka

Symbol: M inside a shield, although early pipes, like the example bellow, had a + sign, like a Medic would have on their sleeve.

When you trace the Medico tobacco pipes history, you have to trace it back to the origins of the company that created it. The company that originated the Medico brand is the S.M. Frank & Co. This company dates back to the year 1900. In that year, a man named Sam Frank began selling pipes and related tobacco products. Eventually, the company began making its own line of pipes. With the help of an experienced pipe manufacturer, Ferdinand Feuerbach, the company produced the popular Royal DeMuth and Hesson Guard Milano tobacco pipes. The company continued to grow well into the early part of the 1930s.

By the early 1930s, there were some concerns about the tars and nicotine found in tobacco smoke. In order to mellow out the flavor of hot tobacco smoke as well as to capture the tars and nicotine, the S.M. Frank & Co. introduced the Medico pipe filter. This is an absorbent paper filter that many people still use to this day. In order to accommodate the new filter, the company developed an accompanying brand of pipes known as Medico. That line of pipes continues in production today.

The company ended up buying some of their main competition in 1955. That year the Kaywoodie brands came under the S.M. Frank Company. The Medico brand continued production through this transition without many changes. The next big change for the brand came in the late 1960s. In 1966, the company developed a synthetic material that combined the traditional briar wood with resins. It is known as Brylon. At that time, all Medico pipes were made from imported briar wood. In order to keep production costs down, the company began offering some lines with Brylon. Today, that is still true.

Today, the Medico brand of pipes is still a top selling one for the S.M Frank & Co. This line of pipes comes in thirteen different finishes with five made of briar wood and the rest from Brylon. All come with the push bit with a filter inside. The filter is easily changed out when the smoker desires. In the briar wood finishes, this line includes the Silver Crest, Premier, Bold Rebel, Kensington, and Windsor. In the Brylon, the line includes the Lancer, Apollo, Standard, Varsity, Conqueror, Medalist, Cavalier, and V.F.Q. As far as price, the briar wood pipes tend to be higher in cost that the Brylon ones. Courtesy