Marty Pulvers Interview from the West Coast Pipe Show
- Industry Spotlight
- Marty Pulvers Interview from the West Coast Pipe Show
- Kevin Godbee
- Nov 24, 2010
- 0 min read
On the last day of the West Coast Pipe Show, as things were starting to wind down, we were finally able to corner Marty Pulvers, one of the show’s organizers. Marty has a long history in the pipe business. For nearly 20 years, he owned and operated the retail shop Sherlock’s Haven, in San Francisco’s financial district. His store was given the honor of being named one of the ’10 Best Tobacco Shops In The World’ by Forbes Magazine online. He closed his store in June of 2006 and now operates an online store selling both new & estate pipes. Here is Cynthia Sargent’s 7-minute interview with Marty talking about what the West Coast Pipe Show offers to the world of pipe smokers and collectors.
Marty’s online store is Pulvers’ Briar
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Written by Kevin Godbee
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I do not like hot weather. When the mercury pushes close to body temperature, my icy heart begins to melt, and when it reaches the point where I break out in a sweat as a result of the strenuous act of sitting upright, I consider calling around to see if I can book time in one of the refrigerated drawers at a local morgue. Heat and I just don’t get along well. We never have. Indulge my rambling, if you will; this really is about pipes and tobaccos. During the cooler months, I’m most often drawn towards fuller mixtures, rich with latakia, redolent of those wonderful aromas of campfires and leather and the smells of classic British sport cars and motorbikes that occupied so much of my youth. Seriously. It’s not the spice of orientals alone that brings comfort, but the warm blanket of latakia itself. These fuller mixtures recall some of my fondest smoking memories. 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But when a friend offered a fill of this hell-spawned leaf, his regular smoke, I graciously accepted, rubbed out a flake, tamped it into the smallest pipe I had with me, and was astonished by the experience of a cool and enjoyable smoke. What? Figuring there must be some difference between the “home trade” tobacco sold in Denmark, and what was exported to the US, I bought a couple tins for further exploration. During my visit, I smoked through most of the first tin, enjoying every bowl, but when I returned to California, that very same tobacco, in the very same pipes, reignited my fear and loathing of the stuff. The temperatures at home and in Copenhagen at the time were not much different, so clearly something else was at play. If I were to throw a dart at the guess board, it would be that humidity was a factor. Another, albeit somewhat embarrassing anecdote might put a bit of meat to the bones of this hypothesis. 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All suggestions toward a possible solution to this nagging problem will be greatly appreciated. No need to mention sales talk. It won’t compute. And now for a notable major cigar smoker and pipe personality from the past—Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. And commander of the “Birds” and other scary movies such as “Psycho,” both of which should not be viewed alone in the dark. Sir Alfred was born in Leytonstone, England, near London, on Aug. 13, 1899, and died in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 29, 1980. His legendary films collected 46 Academy Award nominations, including six wins, although he never achieved the award for Best Director despite five nominations. But he did earn two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! He was once referred to as a “young man with a mastermind.” And Sir Alfred was indeed the master of melodrama, suspense, and thrillers. Just the memory of “Psycho” gives Pundit the heebie-jeebies after all these years. A quote or two from the master of suspense: There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it A glimpse into the world proves that horror is nothing other than reality. And yes, boys and girls, Sir Alfred did indeed smoke pipes, despite his fearsome film noir. No less authority than guru tobacco reviewer Jiminks says the wizard of the thriller smoked Dunhill pipe blends. Amen to that. And one more notable consummate pipe smoker, former President Gerald R. Ford, who served our great nation from August 1974 to January 1977. The 38th President stepped up his vice presidential duties and guided the nation through its “long nightmare,” after Watergate took down his predecessor, President Richard M. Nixon. Again, Jiminks, says Ford reportedly smoked Field & Stream, Walnut, and also noted in a book publication he also puffed Edgeworth Ready Rubbed. 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I think Marty has a nice sense of perspective in that he sees the pipe show as more than a venue for selling and trading pipes. He emphasizes the camaraderie and learning one experiences by such get togethers; and I think his dedication to the hobby is laudable. Thanks for giving us a chance to meet him.
Marty was a pleasure to meet and be around for the entire show! He is a very energetic man who has a passion for our hobby!
I first met Marty years ago when I bought pipe tobacco from him in his San Francisco store Sherlock’s Haven. I came in with an idea about trying Virginia, but I was rather confused as to what would be a good choice. He gently steered me away from some junk I was planning on buying and put a tin of Dunhill’s Light Flake into my hand. I have been a confirmed Virginia smoker every since! I still miss his store very much. He is a very nice man and very knowledgable.
I hope to be able to make the next West Coast pipe show to belatedly thank him, and enjoy the camraderie and fun!
I think I was one one of Marty’s first customers back in the day when he first took over Sherlock’s Haven. He was a great mentor and heck of a nice guy. I remember he told me he used to go open markets – sit on a mat and put his refurbished pipes to sell. Man, he has come a long way since then. It just goes to show that when you follow your passion or bliss – amazing things can happen. Couldn’t happen to a nicer man. Now the scary thig – while I have gotten older and fatter – Marty still looks and sounds the same – maybe a little whiter in the beard. Marty keep on truckin amigo.