Yello-Bole

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History

In 1932 Kaufman Brothers & Bondy (KB&B), est. 1851, expanded their programm consisting of KB&B pipes, Reiss-Premier and Kaywoodie as the mainstay brand by introducing the Yello-Bole line. Yello- Bole was designed as an outlet for lower grade briar not used in Kaywoodie production.

Penacook pipe factory; later a discount store and a residence for elders today

At that time KB&B produced their brands in Union City and in West New York, both New Jersey. Deviating from that, Yello-Boles were manufactured by The New England Briar Pipe Company in Penacook, New Hampshire to use this KB&B subsidiary to capacity.

Vintage Yello-Bole Pipe Cleaners, courtesy Doug Valitchka
Back of Pipe Cleaners, courtesy Doug Valitchka
Ad, courtesy Doug Valitchka
1947 Ad featuring the "Honey-Girl", courtesy Doug Valitchka

As briar was hardly had during World War II, the KB&B Company embarked on a project of domestically grown briar wood, called Mission Briar or manzanita early in 1941. The Pacific Briarwood Company, a subsidiary founded for this purpose, began harvesting the burls growing on the slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. Though this wood is botanically the same as briar form the Mediterranean countries, the smoking characteristics were not quite as good and the project was abandoned after the war.

Was it for that reason? Advertising from the 1940's pictures the Yello-Bole "Honey Girl", who gently urges the pipe smoker to smoke the pipe with "a little honey in every bowl." In fact, honey was an ingredient of the material used to coat the inside of the bowl. It was said to provide a faster, sweeter break-in of the pipe.

In 1952, 101 years after the Kaufman brothers had opened a small pipe shop in the Bowery section of New York City, Kaufman Brothers & Bondy Company with all subsidiaries was purchased by an unknown company strange to pipe industry. (At least, the new owner was economical because the KB&B managers had to leave their luxurious bureaus on 630 Fifth Avenue, New York - the Rockefeller Center - for new rooms in the factory on 6400 Broadway, West New York.) This interlude ended after only 3 years in March of 1955, when S.M. Frank & Co. Inc. bought Kaufman Brothers & Bondy, The Kaywoodie Company, Reiss-Premier Corp., The New England Briar Pipe Co. and - of course - Yello-Bole.

From the time of S.M. Frank's purchase in 1955 until 1972 Yello-Bole was run as a separate company, as division of the parent. Through this period, Yello-Bole, same as Kaywoodie, had it's own officers, sales force and maintained the production facilities in West New York. These 17 years were probably the most glorious years in Yello-Bole's history.

Brylon

In 1966 S.M. Frank had developed a synthetic material called Brylon as a cheaper alternative to briar. This material was immediatly used for Yello-Bole pipes, and millions of these pipes have been sold in the decades since then. They continue to be part of the Yello-Bole and Medico brands. At the moment Yello- Bole offers

  • 4 lines of Brylon pipes: Ebony, Nova, Burley and Standard (Prices $15.95 - $18.95) and
  • 4 lines of Briar pipes: Spartan, Pug, Checker and Imperial (Prices $19.95 - $24.95).
Brylon pipe, Ebony Line

Brylon pipe Ebony line

All Yello-Bole pipes feature push bits with scoop.

In 1972, S.M. Frank constructed a new building to serve as production facility and corporate offices on Horse Block Road, Yapank, Long Island, and around the same time S.M. Frank's pipe brands started appearing in catalogs together.

Yello-Bole's more recent history was subjected to the same processes as S.M. Frank's other brands. For a detailed description see the S.M. Frank article, please. All briar Kaywoodie, Yello-Bole, and Medico pipes, as well as private label pipes, are produced at the manufacturing facility in Tampa, Florida today. All Brylon pipes are manufactured in Peekskill, NY.

Metal Pipes

The Yello Bole Aristocrat Airograte: An Aluminum and wood pipe with a twist. This pipe doesn't have a bowl per say, but more a briar cylinder that screws into the base of the body. At the bottom of the bowl is a metal grate, thus allowing air to be pulled through all the tobacco and reducing any chance of clogging. The lower bowl catches all moisture and tar reducing bite. These pipes can be had in a silver/chrome finish as well as a soft gold finish. The stem of these pipes has cooling fins up each side, and can be found in a straight or bent form.

Bamboo Pipes

Yello Bole also had a line of Bamboo pipes at one point.

Tips for Dating Yello-Bole Pipes

  • KBB stamped in the clover leaf indicates it was made in 1955 or earlier as they stopped this stamping after being acquired by S.M. Frank.
  • Pipes from 1933-1936 they were stamped "Honey Cured Briar"
  • Post 1936 pipes were stamped "Cured with Real Honey"
  • Pipe stems stamped with the propeller logo were made in the 1930's or 1940's - no propellers were used after the 1940's.
  • Yello Bole used a 4 digit code stamped on the pipe in the 1930's.
  • Pipes with the Yello-Bole circle stamped on the shank it were made in the 1930's, this stopped after 1939.
  • Pipes stamped BRUYERE rather than BRIAR it was made in the 1930's.

Need to track down

  • There are stampings not mentioned here like REAL BRUYERE, or ALGERIAN BRUYERE, VIRGIN BRUYERE early on.
  • There is a Patent listed: REG. U.S. PAT. OFF. which might be tracked down.

Gallery

  • You may also enjoying listening to Brian Levine's interview of S. M. Frank president, Bill Feuerbach, on the Pipes Magazine Radio Show
Yello-Bole
S. M. Frank & Co. Inc.
1000 N. Division Street
Peekskill, NY 10566

E-mail: smfrankco@aol.com