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Is a stinger *necessary*?

My pipe this morning was one that I bought on eBay this summer, a Hexagon bulldog with straight horn stem, which the buyer said was from Germany (1920s?) and was new. The interior of the bowl certainly looked unsmoked. I loaded it with some Amphora English and had a pleasant 20-minute smoke. Then, as I cleaned the pipe, I noticed a metal spear in the draft hole. The pipe cleaner helped me fish it out.

Apparently this pipe has a stinger, and the "spear" portion either came loose from the metal extension or is designed to do that. I did think that the pipe was a little hard to draw on, but thought it was my leaf packing. The spear fits neatly back into the metal extension, but for the moment I took it out and am letting the pipe air. Is a stinger, if it's present, *necessary*, or is it like a filter, in that the pipe will smoke fine without it? If it is needed, should the spear come loose from the metal extension like that?

And Pipedia says that stingers came on many pipes for the majority of the 20th Century, but are no longer seen. Roughly when did this practice cease? It might give me some idea how old this bulldog is.
 
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My pipe this morning was one that I bought on eBay this summer, a Hexagon bulldog with straight horn stem, which the buyer said was from Germany (1920s?) and was new. The interior of the bowl certainly looked unsmoked. I loaded it with some Amphora English and had a pleasant 20-minute smoke. Then, as I cleaned the pipe, I noticed a metal spear in the draft hole. The pipe cleaner helped me fish it out.

Apparently this pipe has a stinger, and the "spear" portion either came loose from the metal extension or is designed to do that. I did think that the pipe was a little hard to draw on, but thought it was my leaf packing. The spear fits neatly back into the metal extension, but for the moment I took it out and am letting the pipe air. Is a stinger, if it's present, *necessary*, or is it like a filter? If it is needed, should the spear come loose from the metal extension like that?

A stinger is a condensing element of metal placed in the airway. Hot tobacco smoke passes through it, and the cooler condenser is supposed to draw (condense) the moisture on to it, and filter some heavier floating particulates from, the air stream.

A stinger is a mid-20th Century pipe feature, and was most popular at that time. A lot of engineering went into them in some cases. Some are designed to be removed for cleaning, as they do get covered in resin and tars after a while.

In many cases they are not absolutely necessary. And in lesser and cheaper pipes, they are often permanently removed.

That does not mean they should be removed in all cases. They do serve a function, and do function if maintained. And in a vintage collectable, they are part of the allure, and IMO should be left as Kaywoodie or another premium vintage pipe maker intended.

If your pipe is a nice pipe, or one that you think is collectable or particularly valuable, I would try smoking it as designed for a while before deciding to modify the pipe.
 
A stinger is a condensing element of metal placed in the airway. Hot tobacco smoke passes through it, and the cooler condenser is supposed to draw (condense) the moisture on to it, and filter some heavier floating particulates from, the air stream.

A stinger is a mid-20th Century pipe feature, and was most popular at that time. A lot of engineering went into them in some cases. Some are designed to be removed for cleaning, as they do get covered in resin and tars after a while.

In many cases they are not absolutely necessary. And in lesser and cheaper pipes, they are often permanently removed.

That does not mean they should be removed in all cases. They do serve a function, and do function if maintained. And in a vintage collectable, they are part of the allure, and IMO should be left as Kaywoodie or another premium vintage pipe maker intended.

If your pipe is a nice pipe, or one that you think is collectable or particularly valuable, I would try smoking it as designed for a while before deciding to modify the pipe.
Oh, I wasn't going to throw the spear part away! It's in the former Peterson box with my pipe sweeteners and other items. The bulldog does seem quite nice -- I'd been waiting until cooler weather to try it out, and the Amphora smoked well in it. Now that you mention it, though I was puffing harder than I intended at times, the smoke was quite cool.

Okay, then, I'll give the entire package another try this weekend.
 
Throw out. It is a thing that gets nasty and is only harder to clean and maintain.
There is a reason they just dissapeared out of the new pipes
 
Throw out. It is a thing that gets nasty and is only harder to clean and maintain.
There is a reason they just dissapeared out of the new pipes

There are several reasons they disappeared. But performance, cleaning and maintenance were not the biggest reasons.

Stingers were part of the "filtered smoke" school of pipe smoking. Filtered pipes have always had a bigger and earlier following in Continental Europe than the US. But unlike the European filter approach, the stinger was a durable, reusable filtering element.

Unfortunately, any reusable filter requires cleaning and maintenance. That was a factor.

Stingers were also a significant production cost, and required more specialized machining than traditional pipe making operations. And the first blow to that was during WWII, and the diversion of all metals to essential production.

The second, and biggest reason, was the advancement of the disposable filter pipe in the US, just before or at about the very same time. The disposable paper filter could accomplish much of what the stinger did, without the added materials and machining costs. And a filter was not only removable and disposable, but replaceable.

A new market was created, for filters. The disposable, easy to produce filter became a separate, continuing, profit center for the pipe industry.

So as pipe production began to decline after the War, pipe makers increasingly moved from complex expensive machined stingers, to cheap paper filters ... that the pipe smoker would have to keep paying for. A cheaper pipe to make, and a new source of revenue.

The disposable paper pipe filter killed the stinger. And that's why they disappeared.
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
My pipe this morning was one that I bought on eBay this summer, a Hexagon bulldog with straight horn stem, which the buyer said was from Germany (1920s?) and was new. The interior of the bowl certainly looked unsmoked. I loaded it with some Amphora English and had a pleasant 20-minute smoke. Then, as I cleaned the pipe, I noticed a metal spear in the draft hole. The pipe cleaner helped me fish it out.

Apparently this pipe has a stinger, and the "spear" portion either came loose from the metal extension or is designed to do that. I did think that the pipe was a little hard to draw on, but thought it was my leaf packing. The spear fits neatly back into the metal extension, but for the moment I took it out and am letting the pipe air. Is a stinger, if it's present, *necessary*, or is it like a filter, in that the pipe will smoke fine without it? If it is needed, should the spear come loose from the metal extension like that?

And Pipedia says that stingers came on many pipes for the majority of the 20th Century, but are no longer seen. Roughly when did this practice cease? It might give me some idea how old this bulldog is.
I have a beautiful 1932 Kaywoodie Rhodesian and I wouldn’t think of removing the stinger.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
I sling them out. Unless the pipe has facility for a balsa filter, I like to be able to get a pipe cleaner down to the mortice (down to the bowl is a bonus, but not always possible on bent pipes). A metal "filter" gets in the way of that, so they get evicted as soon as I see it.
 
@colombo thanks for the explanation.
But I always see them as a bad thing. A bit like buying an old house and removing the old pipes and updating the electricity to modern standards.

It works, but it is annoying. Extra cleaning, not be able of putting a pipecleaner thru the stem while it is hot (i do that to get rid of the slurping sounds, i'm not a good shacker, my tabbaco inside the chamber is nicely mixed with the ashes thou :rolleyes1)

But as always ymmv.
 
One thing I like about pipes with condensers - they tend to have metal, screw-in mortises. It's nice to know I can remove the stem from a warm pipe without fear of ruining the mortise.
 
Is it necessary?
No.
Will it bother ya much, yes.
A well intentioned design to add a cooler smoking element that has went the way of the dodo bird.
Of course from a profit angle, it was a new exciting piece of technology to get folks to buy another Dr. Grabow while at the pharmacy.
I have a lovely vintage Savinelli Lollo that has a chipped button on the stem and also a stinger.
When I send it out to get a stem replaced I will not have them install the stinger.
M
 

nortac

"Can't Raise an Eyebrow"
One thing I like about pipes with condensers - they tend to have metal, screw-in mortises. It's nice to know I can remove the stem from a warm pipe without fear of ruining the mortise.
The downside to the screw in mortise, is after a time, they no longer "time" correctly. An easy, no risk way to correct the timing or alignment is to make a shim with aluminum HVAC tape.
 
The downside to the screw in mortise, is after a time, they no longer "time" correctly. An easy, no risk way to correct the timing or alignment is to make a shim with aluminum HVAC tape.
Most of the ones I have are Dr.Grabow Adjustomatic models which allow the stem to overturned back to the original setting. Once in a while I get one off the Bay that has become frozen; a little hot water through the stem will free them up.
 
I've had a few pipes with the condenser, but never had, nor even seen, metal screw in connections. Is that stem to pipe connection, or something else?

Kaywoodies and Dr Grabow Ajustomatics (that's the way they spelled it) had threaded metal tenons that screwed into a fitting in the shank. Google images for "Kaywoodie condenser" and "Grabow Ajustomatic" and you'll see what I mean.
 
I bought my first non drugstore pipe in Austin, Texas from a tobacco shop. It had a stinger. The proprietor removed it, opened the door to his shop, and threw it outside. It was an education.
 
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