Most Aldo Velani pipes were made in Livorno, Italy, for the USA market by Cesare Barontini. They were previously imported by Lane Limited. Lane spokesman Frank Blews once described Velani's stylish, intrinsically Italian designs as "Billiards with more ball, bulldogs with more jaw." The name "Aldo Velani" is actually fictional.
The Aldo Velani brand was re-introduced to the U.S. market in 2008 under the new ownership of Mitchell Thomas Trading Co. Jeff Abel, president of Mitchell Thomas, offers the following research he has done about the brand.
In order to talk about the ALDO VELANI brand we must first go back to the Mastercraft pipe company in New York.
Mastercraft, which began in the early 1940's was a large pipe importer. Almost all of the Mastercraft pipes came from France & England. In the early 1970's Mastercraft decided they needed a new brand of Italian made pipes. The principles of Mastercraft contacted Cesare Barontini of Barontini Pipes & then flew to Italy to meet with him. During this meeting, as I was told by Cesare in 2008, Judy Weinberger (VP of Mastercraft) was looking through the phonebook in his office & found the names Aldo and Velani and put them together to create the new brand.
Dr. Grabow also plays a role in this history. The brand Dr Grabow began around 1932 and over the years saw several owners. In 1969 Grabow was purchased by the United States Tobacco Co. (UST) and in 1974 UST bought Mastercraft and merged the companies together under the same roof in Sparta North Carolina. Sparta Industries was created in the 1980's and around 1997 Lane Ltd acquired Sparta Industries. All Dr. Grabow & Mastercraft pipes were made in Sparta and Aldo Velani continued to be imported from Italy. In 1999 Lane, Ltd. merged with RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. Over the next few years many changes would occur as Lane Ltd was torn apart and many brands were sold off or discontinued. During this time Aldo Velani was one of the casualties. In 2008 Mitchell Thomas Trading Co. acquired the Aldo Velani brand & set out to revive it by going back to the first pipe maker in Italy that made it, Cesare Barontini. In July 2008 at the IPCPR trade show Aldo Velani made its return & has been going strong ever since.
Jeff Abel, President Mitchell Thomas Trading Co. E-mail: email@example.com Website: http://aldovelani.com/ (currently under construtction)