Danish Estates: Former Smooth Acorn with Bamboo (Unsmoked) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 004-001-20961

If the pipe world had household names, those that, when uttered, are instantly recognizable through the quality of work they represent, then Former would undoubtedly be among them. Danish-born Hans "Former" Nielsen has been involved in pipes and pipe making since he was 15 years old, beginning his 60-year long career by repairing pipes in Poul Rasmussen's Copenhagen pipe shop. During his time at the shop Former was able to gain a deep understanding of the inner workings of pipes, learning how they work, the failings of lesser pipes, and the importance of performance. He later moved on to assisting Sven Knudsen in establishing his own factory before going into the military as part of his compulsory service, after which time, at the age of 21, he joined the W.Ø. Larsen factory. In the 10 years he stayed with Larsen, Former made his way through the ranks to become the production supervisor of the factory, overseeing the work of legendary artisans such as Teddy Knudsen and Tonni Nielsen. Over the course of these years Former learned shaping, developed an eye for balance and composition, as well as a degree of perfectionism from his time as a supervisor. After these years with Larsen, Nielsen decided to break out on his own and begin crafting pipes under his own name and the rest, they say, is legend.

This Acorn from the mythical figure is unlike any we have ever seen from him before, being significantly more svelte and lithe than many of his other renderings, not to mention that it is the only example we've received of this shape that has been extended by bamboo. As such, the shank and stem combination are lengthy and organic, a motif that the rest of this piece continues, with the base of the trim saddle stem accentuating the dual knuckles of bamboo by continuing its rhythm, tapering into a slim band of vulcanite that features an indentation which continues one of the divots in the bamboo itself. The knuckles are encircled by by nodules that add a textural element to the pipe, and the slender shank is adorned with a band of black vulcanite, just as the stem base, that, too, continues a divot in the natural material. The transition is cheeked, and the bowl it feeds into is a truly fantastic imagining of the Acorn-style, with a flare to the high-set waistline followed by a brief taper as well as a softly rounded heel spur. The overall shaping of this pipe is unflinchingly naturalistic, and the organicism with which it has been imbued works to enhance the overall composition, as each individual component acts to support the whole. The rim is crowned with craggy plateau, and its shape, higher in the fore than the aft, acts to magnify the organic elements of this piece, while the more forward-center chamber drilling provides a kind of upward momentum, as if the pipe itself is growing. The stummel is dressed in a deep walnut stain, bringing out curving flame grain around the bowl, the fore speckled with dense, hypnotic birdseye, matching that present on the heel spur.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details


  • Length: 6.32 in./160.53 mm.
  • Weight: 1.73 oz./48.99 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.05 in./52.07 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.76 in./44.70 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.72 in./18.29 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.79 in./45.47 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Acorn/Pear
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Denmark
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