Becker pipes were started by Fritz Becker, but are now exclusively made by his son, Paolo, who has been carving pipes since the late 1970s in Rome, Italy. The brand launched with their names stamped on the shank in 1979, as prior pieces were unmarked. Fritz was a very talented artisan and Paolo absorbed knowledge when they began carving pipes together. Prior to Fritz's death in 1991, each Becker pipe was worked by both men.
Stylistically, Becker pipes are unique in the world. Absorbing some aspects of Italian design and natural-born artistry, many pipes from this maker can be easily recognized from a silhouette. While the pipes are either smooth or sandblasted, their features remain rather constant. Bowls are often standard and set against a very delicate, pencil shank or have the stem turned to a very small diameter around the airway like a Victorian lady's dress. The separation of mass adds delicacy that is often a defining characteristic of Paolo. Unusual for many Italian artisans, Paolo works with both acrylic and vulcanite rod for the stems and refrains from heavy accent materials. Instead; he may grace a shank with a delicate wafer of boxwood or silver. While briar is the most common material for him to use, he also sandblasts morta and strawberry wood, each with very unique and desirable characteristics. Paolo grades his pipes similar to playing cards and the better the hand (and stamped to match), the more rare and expensive the pipe.
1 Becker pipe in this category.