Todd Johnson: Smooth Tomato with Ivorite and Leather (Hoplite) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-194-0160

Todd Johnson has garnered an international reputation for his highly original, sculpture-inspired pipes. While he has a degree in Aesthetics from Yale, it wasn't until he studied under Tom Eltang and Lars Ivarsson that Johnson began to truly hone his skills in pipe making. Long before it was the norm, Johnson traveled to Denmark and learned not only what makes a pipe beautiful, but also functional. The Danish influence is evident in most of Johnson's work, which tends to favor stylized interpretations of shape-chart standards, but he renders them through his own creative lens to fashion pipes that are singularly his own. This Tomato deftly showcases Johnson's distinctive style, and illustrates why Johnson is considered a titan in the world of pipe making.

One of the most intriguing parts of this composition is the shank, which is wrapped in pale blue leather. Leather was most prominently used in pipe making during World War II, when briar was in short supply, and carvers were forced to use any block of briar they could find, regardless of the quality of the grain. Sometimes these carvers would wrap their pipes in leather to hide any blemishes in the briar. While that's not the case in today's pipe making, the leather-wrapped aesthetic has become an iconic, vintage one, and Johnson has chosen the leather here as an aesthetic choice and a nod to leather-wrapped pipes of old.

Shape-wise, this is a rather lengthy design, in part thanks to the shank's protracted build, which is accentuated visually by the aforementioned leather wrapping. The shank tapers from its face into the low-set transition, leading the eye to the bowl, which rests atop a lifted heel. The bowl is quite supple and curvaceous, boasting softly rounded insulating walls that conform naturally to the hand. A tasteful kiss of plateau dots the top of the rim, offering a hint of organic flair to the composition. An Ivorite mouthpiece tops everything off, adding a splash of vibrancy to pipe's silhouette. A warm, traditional smooth finish dresses the stummel and highlights an impressive showing of flame grain and birdseye around the bowl. A bold, expressive design, this piece is more than deserving of Johnson's Hoplite designation.

--Davin Hylton
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 7.10 in./180.34 mm.
  • Weight: 1.80 oz./51.03 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.41 in./35.81 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.00 in./25.40 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.76 in./19.30 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.87 in./47.50 mm.
  • Stem Material: Other
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Tomato
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States
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