The Eastman Scientific Pipe: a solution in search of a problem

I’d bet you half a tin of slightly-dried-out Presbyterian Mixture English blend that you’ve been micromanaged at work before. I’ve been fine with being micromanaged in the past so long as it involves receiving a paycheck for my trouble, but the last thing I want after I clock out is to continue that process. That’s why I smoke a pipe! It’s a simple ritual- simple, unless you believe the fine people who staffed the Eastman Sales Company of Chicago sixty or seventy years ago.

The Eastman Scientific Pipe, as it appeared in an Eastman Sales Company advertisement.

The abomination pictured in this ad is the Eastman Scientific Pipe, complete with a “Patent Draft Regulator.” I can’t exactly put my finger on what the Eastman Scientific Pipe reminds me of. Maybe it’s a tougher version of that bounce-back paddle ball game kids batted around in the 1940s? A closer look at it reveals the big innovation to have been a shut-off valve that controlled the pipe’s airflow to ostensibly eliminate tongue bite.

In addition to the shut-off valve, the pipe featured an “airplane aluminum” shank to cool the smoke, which is something I can actually get behind, since standing in front of it would not allow me to actually smoke the thing.

Aluminum shanks aren’t frequent companions to briar pipes, but they’ve been used in Falcon pipes since Kenly Bugg of Fort Wayne, Indiana, first invented them in 1936. They do seem to work to keep the smoke from overheating, which is something that causes tongue bite. As far as draft regulators and shut-off valves, go, though? I think whomever needs that kind of apparatus to smoke a pipe needs to step back and re-examine themselves. I smoke to get away from micromanagement. Not to actively seek out more!

One of my dad’s -now my brother’s- Falcon pipes.

If your tongue feels like it got pricked by an errant scorpion for a day or two after you smoked, changing a couple things about the way you smoke will help before you invest in a vintage Eastman. There’s no need to go crazy dialing in some bizarre contraption! First and foremost, try packing your tobacco a little bit looser so the bowl doesn’t get up to Sloss Furnace levels while you sip on it. That’s another key, too: sip on the pipe like it’s full of hot coffee. Don’t chug it like a 44 oz. from the gas station! If the pipe goes out, it goes out- you’ll find a rhythm eventually, and you can easily relight it. Here’s another thing: if your favorite tobacco is sugary or moist, let it dry out for twenty minutes or so before you pack it. The tin of Presbyterian Mixture I bet you earlier was slightly dried out for that reason.

If none of those remedies work, your choice of pipe might be partially to blame. Straight pipes like the Eastman Scientific are more likely to cause tongue bite and bad tastes due than their bent brethren. It’s a matter of geometry: any time you take a drag, you’re sucking all the moisture and condensation from your burning tobacco closer and closer towards you. If you haven’t tried it, let me reiterate that drinking that moisture is unadvisable. One accidental taste is the worst thing ever- peppery, sour, and, frankly, unholy. Try a pipe with a bent shank instead- at least then the moisture inside won’t be able to flow upwards unless you live in a tourist-trap mystery hill somewhere..

Our Eastman outdoorsman from the advertisement.

I like smoking pipes and I like going fishing. Doing both at the same time is great! But, with regards to the gentlemen in the picture, if you want to go full two-handed Mark Trail on some fish in the middle of the rapids, perhaps it’s time to set the pipe down. Better yet- as long as you’ve got a striped fanny pack like our Eastman outdoorsman does, get yourself a $124 Savinelli Tortuga for your fishing trips in the 173, 305, 614, or 606 KS shapes. They’re called Tortugas for a reason; each pipe has a little tortoise-shelled hat that matches its stem so you can save your smoke for later.

Here’s my bottom line as far as the Eastman Scientific Pipe is concerned: I’d much rather make little tweaks to my smoking process than buy and futz around with some weird instrument designed to do those same things for me after an hour of dialing it in. Actually, I think I’d rather bash my own head into the wall instead of buying one of these Eastman Scientific Pipes! After a long day of work, the last thing I’m looking forward to is more work.

No one really reads these pipe posts, but I’m going to keep writing about them anyway since someone will one day. To that person, I offer my thanks in advance! To the Eastman Sales Company, I offer a solid millennial “thanks, but no thanks.” I’ll leave the micromanagement at the door next to the time clock.

5 thoughts on “The Eastman Scientific Pipe: a solution in search of a problem

  1. Ted, the “fanny pack” is supposed to be a wicker fishing creel that you put your catch into. It might make you tobacco taste a little “fishy” 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wonder if any of these still exists? I will admit that I’m a sucker for a mechanical doodad, but I can imagine that the adjustable bowl created a big fat failure point if anyone actually used it much. I presume there was no Zippo-style lifetime guarantee.


    1. I looked on eBay and a general search and, no, I didn’t find any. Obsolete mechanical contraptions provide a lot of joy for me (I’ll tell you about the laserdisc player I had in college another time), but this one was probably a no-go for me. Although John still has a selection of Dad’s old Falcon pipes that still perform great with interchangeable bowls!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Same here. I know there were easier ways to bulk migrate WordPress sites, but I decided to do it manually, aka, the stupid way, and schedule those posts out. Seeing how much I wanted to change and edit those posts I scheduled made me peel them back from scheduled to drafts in increments of a month. Now, I’m actively scheduling a week in advance from my pool of drafts.

      Liked by 1 person

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