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Cornelius Mänz is entirely self-trained, having been acutely interested in pipe making since youth and a pipe smoker himself since the age of 18. He channeled that creative interest into textile design and the graphic arts until, on his 30th birthday, while on holiday in a small village in Denmark, he chanced upon a pipe-making workshop. There, he excitedly watched briar shaped on a wheel for the first time, and sought to obtain a pre-drilled block for himself. More pre-drilled blocks followed, and soon, Mänz was scouring the web in search of better briar, ebonite rod, and basic pipe-making tools. After a few years, he sold his first pipes, and soon enough, collectors began taking notice.

The German carver developed a devoted following as word circulated of his visionary aesthetic and eye for design, not to mention his relentless pursuit of perfection. His rigorous standards are especially reflected in his stem work, which is heralded as among the most comfortable and consistent anywhere. Mänz's shaping style demonstrates a clear nod to the Danish school, with often softer shaping elements and a sense of guided lift in profile, along with subtle organic elements, calling to mind the work of the Japanese masters. And despite maintaining a very low overall production, as a result of his exacting standards, Cornelius Mänz has still managed to influence pipe makers the world over.

Talents like Cornelius Mänz are rare indeed. Only a special few can stand on the precipice overlooking the expansive ocean that is pipe making, and without the steady hand of a seasoned guide, have the courage to make the dive. Not only did Mänz take his leap, but once breaching the surface, he swam with such prowess and veracity that his wake broke on shores around the world.