This poster, circulated c. 1973, signals the end of the pipe as an artifact of interest to us. With the end of the Sixties, the pipe became kitsch.* What’s more, the forces of Middlebrow ruined the pipe’s physical nature: the pipe blog Briar Files notes that the product advertised by this New Agey poster was
made from phenolic resin, with an inner bowl liner of pyrolytic graphite. It was available in every color imaginable, and many more hues unlike any known colors of the normal spectrum (avocado green?–hoark!). THE PIPE could be cleaned with soap and water. Or you could just remove the stem and blast it clean with a blow torch, since it could survive temperatures at 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Moment of silence, please.
* Note the timing. In 1975, George W.S. Trow made an entry in his diary lamenting the kitschification of the fedora. During the years 1973-74 all changed, changed utterly.
Twelfth in a series of twelve items analyzing and celebrating the pipe’s role in hilobrow culture.