METAL OUTER BOWL
Bowers, out of Kalamazoo, Michigan USA. A pipe that can truly been referred to on ebay as "rare"
Not known how many were made of this complicated pipe/lighter, but few examples are currently known. Few have even seen this pipe at all. I have several but they do appear a bit more often lately (2012) but they are still not common.
Strange this one, carries its own lighter. Pull out the front piece and strike it along the flint on the side of the stem and lo, you have fire. Still cannot fathom how long the lighter fuel would last in proximity to a heat source. No one seems to have an example still with the flint striker plate intact.
It appears that the smoke is diverted to travel at least twice the length of the pipe. The flint holder is stamped Kalamazoo Mich USA pats pending on one edge and on the other Bowers Mfg Co
The Bowers came in a range of brilliant metallised colours as well as the brass and silver effect shown here, then this lower example with a different shaped outer bowl which just changed hands for over £100 on ebay
There is a version marked Bowers MFG Co. St Thomas Ontario Smoking Pipe which appears to have a different mouthiece, but until I get one, have no idea if that is original or a repair
US Patent 2,529,278 filed June 28 1945, issued Nov 7 1950 Inventor Frederick H Bowers, Kalamazoo, Mich. for a combined tobacco smoking pipe and pyrophoric lighter.
Bowers seemed to think strange when it came to pipes, hence they had a corn cob pipe with a metal screw in plate at the base for cleaning?
From the company's current website (no longer into lighters it seems)
<< Founded in 1928 by Ernest Bowers the Bowers Tool And Die Company began operations and has always focused on metal processing. Ernests passion for the smoking encouraged him to improve the design of his favorite lighter. The "Kalamazoo Slide Sleeve Lighter" became a local hit. Ernests son, Frederick started working for the company and took the lighter to national markets. Sales grew dramatically. The company introduced several new models in the decade around 1930. "Storm Master" in both the round and flat design were a huge success. Producing 4000 lighters a day, the company struggled to keep up with demand.
In the 1940's, the "Army-Navy" lighter was introduced, supplying some 55% of all the lighters purchased by the government during World War II. The tool and die division expanded to meet the demands.
By the 1950s, Bowers Lighter Company had 150+ employees manufacturing some 6 million lighters a year and still was unable to keep up with demand. The "Pelican" table lighter or "Lamp Lighter" was introduced during this period. The "No. 10" pocket model was also introduced. Early in 1952, Bowers was approached by an advertising firm who ordered 500,000 lighters. A large investment in the company enabled the Bowers Plant to produce over 4000 pieces per hour with one operator. This improved their competitive edge. In 1954, they started with aluminum in their lighters.
In 1962, Frederick added an acid etch, photo silk screened finished enabling them to make great advertising lighters that were bright-dipped anodized.
On September 16, 1966 Frederick passed away. Behind him was an era of dreams made into realities and adventure that he obviously loved despite the hurdles and pit falls.
In 1995, a fire destroyed all records of Bowers Lighters and Bowers Lighter Company.
If you wish to sell or purchase old lighters, we suggest using E-Bay as a medium. There still is a very active market for these high quality dependable lighters. >>