METAL STEM & Screw thro bowl
Kirsten pipes made in Seattle, USA are precision machined aluminium pipes with changeable bowls and a unique tar trap system. The valve at the front of the pipe can be rotated to close off the pipe. Older models have no sealing ring, relying on machining to close tolerances, as with the mouthpieces.
There were 4 sizes Aristocrat, Large, Medium and Standard.
During part WWII the alloy ramrod was missing, replaced by a short stinger and a glass rod was supplied for the actual cleaning. This was helping Uncle Sam by economising in use of aluminium. I have yet to acquire any copies of the relevant paperwork detailing this, although one did pass thro ebay early 2006
The 1st generation pipes were phased out around 1958,when the company became incorporated, at which time several 'oddities' appeared, using up parts from stock, these we tend to group as generation 1.5 )Some have O rings to the valve, but not the bit, others have an O ring on the bit but not the valve
The company then produced the 2nd generation of Kirsten, all with the O ring on the valve and the mouthpiece. The metal cup under the bowl makes its appearance, enabling the bowls to be removed by hand complete with the cup, therefore obviating the use of a screwdriver to change bowls. Finishes introduced were Black (stamped B after the model letter) and brass, antiqued brass, brushed alloy and coppered finish, all designated by an X after the model letter. The Companion, Collegiate,Sportsman and Thrifty were budget models for the drugstore market. The Lady Kirsten appears to be a variation of the S in brass and carries the model letter X and a completely re worked valve which is much easier to turn
Aladin, (1/4 bent) Gem (straight) and Beau Geste (full bent) were replaced in the mid 1980ís by the Horizon, Gem and Esquire models.
These 2nd generation models were replaced by the current range around 1985 Currently the pipes can be Large (Lancer) Medium (Mariner) or Short (Jewel)-straight stem, Large (Regent), Medium (Cavalier) or Short (Horizon)quarter bent or Large (Designer) or Medium (Esquire) full bent and all models come in silver, black or brass tone.
Bowl shapes are Billiard, Brandy, Bulldog, Columbus, Dynasty or Mandarin and are in Light ( a warm, typical English finish) . Walnut - a classic, tan finish. Walnut Matte - a warm tan color in an oiled finish. Sandblast - a shell finish that raises the woodgrain, available in Walnut, and Walnut Matte. Rustic - handtooled to emphasize grain. There are also meerschaum bowls smooth or etched. Lucite mouthpieces come in Grey, Black or Bronze.
Current models can all be found on www.kirstenpipe.com
I never cease to be amazed when folk buy current models on ebay for more than the price direct from Kirsten, lack of awareness I suppose
I am indebted to Lynne Kirsten and latterly Stacy Thrasher at Kirsten for their advice and Dave Whitney for his wealth of information about Kirstens and assistance in adding to my collection
Such is the strength of this make of pipe I needed to compile several pages to do justice to them, in the meantime, there is the link to the current models
US patent Office records an application 30 Aug 1938, patent 2200237 issued May 7 1940 to Kurt Kirsten
27 Dec 1938 US design patent # D112.701 Inventor Kurt F Kirsten, Seattle, Washington