Purdue: Class of 1941 Pipe
It's that time of year again, when students begin returning to college for the fall semester; it was always my favorite time as a student. Growing in up Indiana and living just thirty miles north of Purdue University, I only applied to one college; the university founded by John Purdue in 1869. Nicknamed "Boilermakers" by a reporter in 1891 who was describing the football team, the name stuck. Part of the Big Ten, and having nearly 40,000 students, I'll try to refrain from gushing about my Alma Mater, but I sure did love the place when I was a student from 1999-2003, studying Industrial Design and being part of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. Fall has always been my favorite time of year because there is so much hope, excitement, and pride oozing from everyone on campus. It helps that it was football season too! Drew Brees was slinging the football while most students had been participating in "Breakfast Club" before the game, everyone was hitting up local hangouts, and there was always the chance of getting a very cool and eccentric teacher for the first time.
There is no doubt that there is a certain level of energy on a college campus. It's the first place many of us spend living away from under our parents' roof, meet new friends from outside or hometowns, and of course discover some very weird people, protests, and huge parties. If I think back to my first day of orientation, I remember the speaker telling all of us to look to our left, and then to our right; one of these people wouldn't graduate. College is fun, but it's tough. I had my first "all-nighter" working on a design project when I was a freshman, and by senior year was used to not going to bed on any Tuesday nights. My final week of college in 2003 had me finishing projects and studying philosophy, religion, psychology, sciences, and history, and stretched me well past the point of exhaustion. I went to bed Sunday night and didn't sleep again until Friday afternoon. Needless to say, I haven't done that since. Part of a college education is learning not only various subjects, but trying to balance tasks and put up with a lot of seemingly unnecessary stresses. When you graduate from a college or university, there is a sense of accomplishment that can't be taken away.
And what should happen to come in a batch of estate pipes today but a pipe made as a gift for a 1941 graduate of Purdue University. The pipe is actually English-made, stamped "Middleton Selbur Briar" and tacked on the front of the bowl is "19 P 41". I've seen a pipe like this from Michigan class of 1918 before. I would imagine these were a common gift for graduates long ago. 1941 must have been a very interesting year to graduate college, to put it mildly. When I see an estate pipe like this, I wonder what sort of history and stories it has. Did the graduate go off to war? Did he pursue his chosen career? One thing is certain, though, he sure must have been proud of his school. Hail Purdue!
Adam Davidson: Quality Control & Pipe Inspector