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The Moretti Pipes: A Unique Italian Brand ©

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The Moretti Pipes: A Unique Italian Brand

Where the Morettis worked (1890)

Where the Morettis worked (1890)

Moretti History

The tradition of making pipes by hand in Recanati, Italy, dates back to the 1850s. Later, in the 1900s, there was already a flourishing pipe making establishment called Hully Briars, which at that time employed about 40 workers. Later still, Mr. Igino Moretti and his wife joined Hully Briars, when the business was at its peak of prosperity, employing 50 people. While half of the overall pipe production of Hully Briar was destined to a third party, the other half was sold under the name BEP-SON, which is a combination of the first syllables of the ownersŪ names: Beppe and Sonia.

Soon after that, Mr. Moretti became the principal Hully Briars pipe maker, but, unfortunately, the company had to close down. After having passed a railway job contest, Mr. Moretti had to choose between driving trains and making pipes! The latter was the final choice, and consequently, Mr. Moretti founded the brand "Moretti Recanati" in April 1968.

During his first years, and while continuing to make pipes for others, Mr. Moretti started producing the first hand made pipes carrying the name žMorettiÓ. These pipes gradually became the integral part of Mr. Moretti's overall production.

Today, Marco Biagini, Mr. Moretti's son-in-law, continues to produce the Moretti pipes based on the teachings and tradition of the founder. Mr. Biagini produces approximately 1,000 carefully hand made Moretti pipes a year. These pipes are not sold to importers or tobacconists but directly to pipe smokers. Marco spends most of the summer season promoting and selling the pipes he has produced during the other three seasons of the year.

For the pipe smoking world traveler, the Moretti pipes are still made in the small town of Recanati, in the Marche region of Italy. In fact, the Moretti pipes are produced in a workshop located across the street from the house where the famous Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi was born.

Moretti Today

Very few pipe smokers outside Italy have heard of the Moretti pipes. That is not because they are not first quality pipes; it is simply because the second-generation maker of the Moretti pipe, Mr. Marco Biagini, has always preferred to deal directly with pipe smokers (by mail order or at pipe Italian shows), a great advantage according to him. This way he can obtain invaluable feedback from his faithful clients who are scattered around the world and come from all walks of life.

A Modern Moretti Pipe

A Modern Moretti Pipe

Each Moretti pipe is meticulously made by hand using Calabrian briar, seasoned for 10-15 years. Unlike most of the hand made pipes available these days, a Moretti pipe is made completely by hand, with almost no elaborate machine work. For example, Marco holds the piece of briar in his hand while boring the tobacco chamber (and, of course, the same with the shank bore)! The process is rewarding as much as it is demanding. One of the most important features that distinguishes the Moretti pipes is the fact that they are almost all of a smooth natural finish (it's estimated that the rusticated pipes form only about 2% of total production, and they are usually rusticated to meet a cutomer's request). So, what does Marco do with pipes with too many visible sandpits and defects? He simply discards them! Any piece of briar which demonstrates too many sandpits or cracks are simply thrown away. Normally such pieces would be sandblasted or rusticated (carved) by other pipe makers. This does not mean that the Moretti pipes are sold for high prices. Surprisingly, an entry price for a smooth natural finish Moretti pipe would be less than most sandblasted/rusticated pipes available from other pipe makers nowadays. However, Mr. Biagini also produces unique straight-grain pipes that would be a great source of pride for both the maker and the lucky pipe smoker and collector who owns it. Marco seems to be happy with his pipe making philosophy, which is unlikely to change after 30 years of pipe making history and of professional, artistic and financial satisfaction.

Written by Tarek Manadily in 1997; updated October 1999