Makers of Fine Briars


A bit of history…

Among the joys of pipe smoking and collecting is understanding and appreciating the traditions of the craft.

Perhaps the greatest traditions are associated with the British. For decades they produced some of the most sought after brands by creating the most beautifully refined classic shapes. Interestingly, a brand surfaced in the late 1930s that was not very well known. A small English company produced a unique variation on the billiard shape that caught the eye of a noted American crooner and famous pipe smoker.

That shape ultimately took on iconic proportions.

When one looks at this shape, the smoker is taken back to a time when pipe smoking was commonplace. It reflects a certain quiet elegance that the British were noted for in men’s fashion – a style that is just as important today as it was when Frederick Sholte first designed the “drape” suit for the then Duke of Windsor.


The company that produced this pipe called it the Merchant Service. Their billiard was an elegant elongated version of the shape. It had a chamfered top, a very thin shank and a long stem. At approximately seven or more inches in length it was a very handsome pipe indeed. It provided light weight and a cool, pleasurable smoking experience. What is equally significant is that the pipe was popularly priced. Over the years, the manufacture of the pipe ceased and those that still can be found command high prices due to their rarity. Today, the smoker can commission an artisanal version of the pipe or can occasionally find one from a high-end name brand. However, until now in our view, there has been no popularly priced version that truly captures the essence of the original.


From its first incarnation until the present, the classic aesthetic of the original Merchant Service pipe has been preserved.


The Reintroduction of Merchant Service

And so we welcome the release of the new Merchant Service billiard pipe. It is offered in smooth, sandblasted and rusticated models at prices that will appeal to a broad spectrum of today’s smokers. We offer two versions of the billiard. The “Special” is made with a larger bowl than the original British version. The ” Standard” is very close to the smaller original bowl specifications. Otherwise both versions have essentially the same proportions and length. Therefore, the smoker has the option of a longer or shorter smoke as the mood strikes.

Our briar has been carefully sourced to produce bowls that are well aged and dry. Special attention has been paid to produce an open draw and to minimize turbulence . These details will produce satisfactory performance and at a reasonable price.

Please examine our pipes. We at Merchant Service sincerely believe you will enjoy our pipes as much as previous generations enjoyed the originals.


Special thanks:

  • Beekman Arms-Delemeter Inn, Rhinebeck, NY 
  • Media Stream Inc., Albany, NY