Countless devices have become obsolete since the advent of the digital age, but one of the most overlooked casualties has to be the pneumatic tube.
It went the way of the telegram decades ago (you’ll still find a few intact tube systems here or there—in a Midwestern packing plant or an old airport terminal—but even those are rarely used nowadays). This was the instant messenger that predated AOL by a century, thanks to some Industrial Age ingenuity and a giant air compressor. And we think it needs to make a comeback.
All signs are pointing to an unseasonably mild winter this year—there hasn’t been much snow on the ground anywhere to speak of.
Which means, when some fresh powder finally does make landfall, you’re going to have to make the best of it. Especially when it comes to building a snowman. And in our grand new tradition of winning the holidays, we’re going to ensure the Frosty in your yard is cooler than cool (see what we did there?). We’re talking about throwing caution to the wind and building the most luxurious, stately, money-is-no-object snowman that your holidays deserve.
Allow us for a moment to set aside the horrors of drug addiction and bask in the illusory splendor of 19th-century opium pipes. We were first turned on to the nice side of heroin by Alessandro, Principe Ruspoli, Ninth Prince of Cerveteri, last summer while researching our series on the 12 original playboys of the jetset sixties. If you missed Dado the first time around, you’ll want to take a few minutes to watch his delightfully infectious endorsement of the practice.
Today, though, we’re only concerning ourselves with the pipes. As historian Stephen Martin explains, “In no other addictive substance did man’s quest for mood-enhancement reach such artistic heights.” The pipe pictured here is of the ceramic/red-copper variety, made in Southern China in the early 1800s. While it is technically a water pipe, it is decidedly not the bong you bought from your friend’s older brother in 10th grade. In fact, it’s technically not even an opium pipe.
It's a time-honored rule: If you take a sufficiently refined approach to your vices, they stop being vices. (See also: scotch and dueling gloves.) So naturally, we're always game for a well-made pipe.
Blackbird has put together a pretty good set, including this one carved from a soapstone-y mineral called meerschaum. Even with the carrying case, it's pretty darn country. But if you've already taken the leap into pipe tobacco, we have to assume you're ready for it.