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Pipes and tobacco of the rich and famous


My elbows leak
Staff member
I am aware that Lee Van Cleef smoked a Wellington bent and a WDC Meer and that he reportedly was fond of a Tinder Box blend named The Philosopher (which was very similar to modern day London Blend).

I have read that C.S. Lewis was fond of Three Nuns, though I don't know what pipe he smoked most often.

Einsteins favorite pipe (with a hole worn in the bit) is on display in a museum and he was apparently fond of Revelation tobacco.

Do you know any famous pipe smokers, and what was their favorite pipe and/or tobacco?
The philosopher, Bertrand Russell smoked Fribourg & Treyer Golden Mixture, which is still available, I believe. His pipe was usually a straight billiard, group 3 size, but the make isn’t known.

Russell maintained that pipe smoking once saved his life. He was booked in first class for a flight but he chose to sit in the smoking section at the back of the plane instead so he could smoke his pipe on the journey. The plane in fact crashed and those seated at the rear of the cabin were the only survivors.

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We're told that historian Shelby Foote smoked a mix of Edward G. Robinson and Prince Albert. Though I've read also that the mix was with EGR and Half & Half, so I dunno. (I've tried that, and EGR w/ Sir Walter Raleigh. The latter is better.)

J.R.R. Tolkien apparently was fond of Capstan Blue, which even in the 1950s was fairly pricey compared to more pedestrian blends.

The Kramer blends named after big-time actors, Cary Grant's Blend and Danny Kaye's: Did they really smoke those? Neither smoked on screen or in publicity shots very often that I recall, so I was surprised to hear they were pipe smokers.

The "Ellery Queen" writer cousins, Fred Dannay and Manfred B. Lee, were big pipers. When they got word that their first novel had won a prestigious magazine contest, the story goes, they trooped into the Dunhill store in Manhattan (ca. 1928) and purchased pipes. They had the initials "EQ" incised on each. I wonder whatever happened to those pipes . . .?
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My elbows leak
Staff member
Mark Twain smoked at least one Peterson and cobs. There’s a lot of speculation about the tobacco he would have smoked.
Well, we know he was not fond of Latakia. He wrote in a journal
"I gave away all of my Durham and kept the worst brand in America — and still it was of course better than any in Europe — Latakie is almost as good (as European tobacco)."
Sir James M. Barrie, who wrote Peter Pan, smoked Carreras Craven Mixture, which he fictionalised as “Arcadia” in his wonderful book, My Lady Nicotine: A Study In Smoke. No idea about his pipe(s). If you are even slightly interested in pipe smoking and humour then you absolutely must read My Lady Nicotine. It can be downloaded for free.

Peter Pan, incidentally, is uniquely distinguished as the only work of literature for which a UK act of parliament was passed to prevent the copyright expiring.

On the subject of tobacco being brought to the UK, Barrie wrote:
“The glory of existence became a thing to speak of. Men who had hitherto concerned themselves with the narrow things of home put a pipe in their mouths and became philosophers. Poets and dramatists smoked until all ignoble ideas were driven from them, and into their place rushed such high thoughts as the world had not known before.”


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Bing Crosby wasn't shy about his pipe smoking and he routinely smoked his pipe in his films. I read about a picture of him in his dressing room with a tin of "Haywood Mixture" in the background. There is much conjecture and little evidence of what he actually smoked.
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