METALandMIRRORS: The "Bing Crosby" Of Pipes - Mastercraft

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The "Bing Crosby" Of Pipes - Mastercraft

We were at a trade show recently. I guess you could call it a traveling antique show or flea market of the sorts. It comes around here about twice a year and we mean to go and it slips our mind or something comes up. Finally, we were free and were able to go. It was cold and raining. Of course, it's Winter still. Dang, it was so cold and wet, but it was inside the building and not outside. One just had to walk 600 feet to the building in the weather, but nevertheless, we made it!

It was quite the crowd. We had no idea the lines for this show. I, personally, feel like now that I have attended, I'm good. No need to go back. I can say I went and can look forward to something else that may arise to go see.

We found some nice items and a couple gifts. Most vendors were willing to haggle. Some were not. The ones who were not, had the "retail prices" going in a flea market atmosphere. We stumbled on this celebrity of today. I call it the Bing Crosby of pipes as he smoked Mastercraft pipes and can be seen in their magazine ads back in the day.

bing crosby mc aluminum stamp

M/C was included in all the major Christmas catalogs such as Sears, Spiegel, and Penney. This was from about 1970 till 1980. They usually would have a 2 pc. Massa (pressed) Meerschaum set from Robert Strambach, a water pipe from Brebbia, some type of huge Well pipe, and various odds and ends to fill about 6 - 8 spaces.

I did not own a Mastercraft and felt, that with our collection, we must have one to join it. It is iconic in its own way. To most pipe smokers Mastercraft Pipes are small cheap pipes, signified by the oval aluminum "MC" on the shank. Categorically nothing special. However, please don't discount the importance of Mastercraft in this wondrous hobby we enjoy. Mastercraft, like Grabow, made many of our fathers into pipe smokers. We all carry on the tradition. This is why when I saw a Mastercraft sitting there in good condition, I had to snag it. 

bing crosby mc aluminum stamp

Mastercraft was so much more. As an importer of finished pipes M/C worked with many of the worlds foremost pipe makers and had in inventory finished product from the likes of England, Hardcastle, and Orlik. The list of suppliers is enormous including Ropp, Jeantet, Lorenzo, Gasparini, Federico Rovera, GIGI Pipe, Brebbia, Santambrogio, and Fratelli Rossi. Plus all the tools, pouches and lighters from Hong Kong and Japan. Very few of these great pipes were ever stamped Mastercraft.

I feel that having this pipe is having a different celebrated part of history to cherish and carry on to future generations.

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